24/7 Customer Service
The Web makes possible a new level of customer service, one that many of your existing clients will appreciate
One day a horrible thing happened in a quaint jewelry store. An innocent customer used the phrase dot-com. The sentence was actually, Im going away next month and I was wondering if you have one of those dot-com thingies where I could show my mother-in-law one of your pieces I think she might be interested in. Unfortunately, the answer was no and a sale was lost.
Customer service used to mean having courteous, well-informed salespeople behind your counter and the right mixes of jewelers and merchandise. Today, even a small jewelry store must go one step further. It must have a Web presence to extend customer service into the virtual world.
Todays consumer is becoming more comfortable every day with the clicks-and-mortar business model. Even if they dont buy on the Web, they know they can get to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We all know business goes to the company thats easiest to reach. Customer service, in our virtual world, means servicing your customers on a 24/7 basis, regardless of their physical location.
Invest in Solutions
Do you have to invest heavily in a Web presence? No. You have to invest enough so online consumers understand who you are, what you sell, where you are and how you can be reached. Remember, the idea of a Web site is not to get a couple of zillion in venture capital and deliver a top-notch initial public offering. The idea is to serve your customer better than the next guy, especially the next jewelry e-tailer.
Think about how a small, even unassuming Web presence might help your store resolve these in-store problems:
- Id like my husband to see this, but hes out of the country for a month.
- Id like to know if my mother will like this before I buy it for her.
- Im working from 10 to 10 every day this week, but I really dont want to miss your sale!
- Can I get a peek at new merchandise before it hits the sales floor?
- My favorite earring broke at two oclock this morning and I didnt sleep a wink worrying if you provide repair services.
Its up to you to let customers know they mean so much to you that you can now serve them 24 hours a day regardless of where they are. Its up to you to train your sales staff to mention your Web site. Stake your claim in cyberspace, but dont forget that, as with most of historys great gold rushes, an untended claim will tend to lead to unrealized expectations. Conversely, its often the established business with experience and infrastructure that wins the race if it adapts to the new rules.
by Susan Hargraves; Executive Administrator/Electronic Commerce
Michael Anthony Jewelers, Mount Vernon, NY