Getting It Right on the Web

By Heather Baldwin

Almost everyone has experienced the frustration of a poorly designed Website. You can’t find what you need. Then when you finally stumble across it and have a question, you can’t find any contact information to get that question answered. Or the only contact information is an email link and you never hear back from the company with an answer. Most likely you either didn’t do business with that organization or you did it with such negative feelings that you never went back. That’s not the kind of customer relationships you want to build!

“On the Web, consumers are less forgiving,” says Sheri Greenhaus, managing partner of Cyber M@rketing Services, which operates, an online resource for CRM, sales, call center and telemarketing issues. “You can get it 90% correct and they’ll still be annoyed that it’s not 100%.” If you want to get to 100%, start by making it very obvious how customers can contact you. And don’t just give them a phone number, give them multiple ways to get a hold of you, such as phone and fax numbers, email addresses, live chats and a Call Me button that customers can use to indicate when and where they’d like to be called by a customer service rep.

With the email option, indicate how long it will be before they can expect to hear back from someone. For example, you might assure customers they’ll receive a reply within 24 hours. Finally, it’s not enough just to give customers easy access to your CSRs. Your reps should have visibility into where customers have been on the site so information doesn’t need to be repeated. Your reps also should know customers’ ordering history so they can see at once when a top-tier customer is calling with a Website concern.

It’s not just good relationship building, says Greenhaus. Such initiatives have had measurable impact on sales at companies that employed these tactics. Cambridgsoft, a chemists’ portal, improved its Website by employing teleprofessionals to serve as LiveHelp agents for its site. It subsequently saw up-selling instances increase from 4% to 60% while closing 20% more sales monthly. In addition, the size of the average sale increased significantly because the agents were able to introduce add-on products at the point of sale that met additional customer needs. And with direct and easy access to answers, you can bet their customers were completing their purchases with a feeling of satisfaction.

“If you click on a live chat button and no one answers, what good is it? If you order something and it doesn’t come until after you need it, you get upset. It’s not the Web that’s the issue – it’s the other end of the Web,” says Greenhaus. “What are companies doing on the other end to make customers happy?”