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Keep 'Em Happy

The quality of your customer service can make or break your site. Get yours up to snuff--or kiss your profits goodbye.

This story appears in the November 1999 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

A customer orders several items from your Web site, but never receives them. After several failed attempts to contact your company, he finally gets through to you, but you have to tell him his products were never shipped, and, in fact, five of his six orders were lost completely when your online transaction system crashed during the pre-holiday rush. To top it off, no one in your customer service department even notified the customer that there was a problem with his order.

This "nightmare before Christmas" became a reality last year for many e-tailers who didn't implement the proper customer service techniques on their Web sites. In fact, 46 percent of Web consumers left a preferred site due to technical problems and delayed service last holiday season, according to a post-holiday survey conducted by Jupiter Communications Inc., a New York City e-commerce research firm. The study found many of these consumers subsequently picked alternative sites on which to shop.

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