Sunday, September 5, 2010

Come In, We're Open

It's an all too familiar scene. You go shopping and the sign outside reads "come in, we're open" but the employees' expressions clearly say "go away, we're closed." Maybe they're tired, upset, having a bad day or simply don't like their job.

But technology is working to eliminate this problem.

Your website works 24 hours a day and never complains. Plus it's super efficient; everyday it multitasks and can handle multiple questions from multiple customers at the same time. Even better, it only tells your customers the stuff that you hope they hear. No it's doubt your shrewdest employee.

Or is it? Although technology has improved many functions of business, it doesn't have the ability to replace any of them. Including good service, despite claims of the wondrous powers of technology.

Consider these common web characteristics.

Does the page lack a tone of voice and read like boilerplate? What might this say about the company? Humans don't work here. Humans don't shop here.

Is the telephone number prominent or buried in a maze of links? Don't see it? Try looking at the tiny font on the bottom of the page. Or you could email them. Who are you sending the email? Is it Mrs. Jones the VP and COO or is it info@badcompany.com.

But none of that really matters if no one responds (which we all know is all too normal of a practice). Perhaps you're lucky and receive a response. Is it automated or personal? How fast does it arrive. Does it actually solve your issue? That would be quite a feat for an automated response email. I find with them that the message is always the same- we strive for the least service that's acceptable.

I'm sure these experiences sound familiar. In such cases, they're no better than a disgruntled employee; they too scream "go away, we're closed."

Good service takes sacrifice and is more about attitude than anything else. Just because the customer is not standing in the store or on the phone doesn't mean the practice is suddenly dead.

Treat your website like the front door of your business. It's an opportunity to create more work, not minimize it.

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