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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 , but neverreceives them. After several failed attempts to contact yourcompany, he finally gets through to you, but you have to tell himhis products were never shipped, and, in fact, five of his sixorders were lost completely when your online transaction systemcrashed during the pre-holiday rush. To top it off, no one in yourcustomer department even notified the customer that therewas a problem with his order.

This "nightmare before Christmas" became a realitylast year for many e-tailers who didn't implement the propercustomer service techniques on their Web sites. In fact, 46 percentof Web consumers left a preferred site due to technical problemsand delayed service last holiday season, according to apost-holiday survey conducted by Jupiter Communications Inc., a NewYork City research firm. The study found many of theseconsumers subsequently picked alternative sites on which toshop.

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