iDIOTS.com – the answer to the question “What went wrong?”
How come the smartest people in the world (new economy dotcom CEO’s) are so stupid when it comes to treating their customers like kings and queens? Or even serfs?
Because their business model leaves out “ease of doing business, human touch, and ease of customer contact.” Or the people building their websites are customer unconscious. Or the people who work in the company have never been their own customer to test the process. Or they’re so busy working on their venture capital and stock deals they forget that at some point real revenue (and repeat revenue) will determine success.
And then they wonder “what’s wrong,” or why people don’t return or create the positive virus they were hoping for. Hello!
Well, wake up and smell the options. And since adding another round of “easy venture capital” is no longer one of them, they may want to look at what remains. Sell something (like lots of your own product) to raise money through profit. Hey now, there’s an option that seems to have been overlooked by a bunch of dotcommies that bit the dust – sell something. And, treat customers nicely so that they return and tell others. Better stated, make it easy and fun to do business with you.
The internet is without question the new commercial frontier. The only question is who will “win the web?” And the answer is: Those whose products are in demand, and who are easy to do business with before, during, and after the transaction.
In my web buying experience here are 7.5 things that most big e-companies don’t do for their customers that they should:
1. Have a “call me” “e-mail me” “I need help” button in your e-commerce area. Technology has taken us to a level where “instant” is the new standard of service. Customers what help and answers. Deliver that or lose to someone who does.
2. Post your address and phone number in several prominent places. Especially on your home page, your lead e-commerce page, and your check-out page. Sometimes I wanna call somebody because I think calling is faster and easier. Give me the option, or I’ll get to the check-out page, have a problem, need a quick answer, look for a phone number, not find one (because you’re gonna educate me to use the internet) and I’m gonna click off and abandon the order.
3. Humanize the auto-response. Have an auto-response that contains the name of a human being, their e-mail address and a phone number. Signing an email, “the customer service department” is as stupid as it is rude.
4. Too many clicks to nothing. Layer pages that lead me to more choices instead of just getting to what I want.
5. Leaving me out in the ozone after I do something. OK, I wanna buy and I click “add to my cart” — now what? Let me give you a clue: TAKE ME BACK TO WHERE I WAS.
6. Leave me alone unless I BENEFIT. Just because I buy something from you, doesn’t give you the right to email me twice a week until I hate you.
7. Make your pages email-able and printable. To be successful at viral (pass along) marketing, you have to put the capability in the hands (at the mouse) of the customer or visitor.
7.5 Unplug the auto-attendant and answer your phone with “hello!” If I ever do find your number and call you, telling me “to serve you better please select from the following 9 options” none of which are why I called, and when I press “0” telling me “that is not a valid option,” is an insult and EVERYONE hates it. Why do you do it?
If all these companies would make the first option “press one if computer phone attendant pisses you off” — and get that information to the desk of the CEO and the board of directors, computer phone answering devices would be ripped out of the walls world wide.
If you use the internet, and have ever tried to call companies like ebay, paypal (x.com), amazon.com, or even your own internet service provider – forget it. THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO CALL. They hide behind email and voice mail, or don’t post their phone number. Amazing.
And of course the biggest response-whine of people who think they have big companies is that it costs too much to answer the phone — well it might increase their burn rate (amount of capital until they die) – but the key to business longevity is “friendly help” not “lowest price” — look at the .com graveyard and I’ll bet you’ll find the only things they have in common are inaccessibility, unfriendly, and the age old Jewish business philosophy of “sell something first, staff up second.”
Free GitBit… The toughest questions are the ones you ask yourself. Want a list of tough ask-yourself web questions? They will help put insight into your website. Go to www.gitomer.com – register if you’re a first time user, and enter the words WEB QUESTIONS in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org