From the November 2000 issue of Startups

Jezz Holland, 33, co-founderof Della.com, now joined with WeddingChannel.com

The impersonality-when you ask a question and get a form letter back, don't hear back in a timely manner or not at all. We've [devised] good customer service systems so you get a response every time you send an e-mail. We staff enough people so they can read e-mail carefully, do some investigation and respond.

Paula Jagemann, 34, co-founder of Web-based office supply superstore onlineofficesupplies.com

When I purchase something and don't get immediate acknowledgement, [like] tracking information or a number to call if it doesn't show up. If your order [with us] is over $75, you'll get a follow-up phone call thanking you, asking if you're a business and if you'd like to open an account. Then there are follow-up calls ensuring the product's there, that it was top quality and packed right.

Michael Covel, 32, founder of online drugstore HomePharmacy.com

When you [can't] clearly see what you want, get it in a couple clicks and get out. It's about selling product, not about building a community. With that in mind, we've kept HomePharmacy simple but elegant. We give customers the product they want, let them grab it and get out. I think that actually builds loyalty.

Tom Williams, 30, co-founder of action sports e-tailer Fusion.com

When there's no phone number [on the site] or when nobody picks up the phone. I won't shop with those companies because if there's a problem, I know I'll never be able to get in touch with someone. Fusion.com has customer service available from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. PST. People can always get in touch with a human.