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Online Customer Service... Do it well or die.

By Kenneth Doyle
Posted Thursday, October 14, 2004

There are some fundamentals in marketing anything, ONline or OFFline.

EXCELLENCE in customer service ranks very highly on this "must do" list... and digital marketers ignore this fundamental rule at their own their peril.

Why is it that some digital marketers think that the basic rules of marketing only apply to the OFFline world?

Excellence in customer service has ALWAYS been one of the tenets of a successful business. It has always made the difference between an average business and an extraordinary business.

For example, examine the success of a major, international hamburger chain. Do they sell the best hamburgers in the world?

No, they don't. However, one thing they've got completely right - and this company spends huge amounts of money training its staff to get it right - is customer service.

This company treats the customer service aspect of its business with the respect it deserves...and this is one of the primary reasons its become an international chain.

It has a Customer Service FORMULA.

So, how does this piece of information about an International Hamburger Restaurant chain relate to you and your web based business?

MULTIPLE effects X 10

Very simply it's this. Webmasters need to pay very careful attention to the elements that create business success in an offline world, and recognize that in the digital world the critical aspects of offline business success have just compounded the game tenfold.

So, is there a FORMULA for ONline Customer Service?

Well, yes there is... I've just made one up :-)

T.. R.. U.. T.. H

T=TRUTH creates trust.
Tell the truth at ALL times. Unless you're an e-sociopath you'll forget your lies anyway. So, why bother?

R=RESPONSE, automatic.
Always have an automatic - "Thank you for your query. We will respond in person within 24-48 hours" - type message in place. This is VERY easy and inexpensive to set up.

The most sophisticated value-for-money auto response system on the planet can be found at: (

U=UNDERSTAND that a query means an opportunity. The person emailing you has a problem.

If you treat this person well you have an opportunity to create a life-time customer who will actively promote you and your business.

This type of advertising cannot be bought. It's called Goodwill. Treat it like Gold, because it is.

T= TIMELINESS of a response from a Human Being. Whatever you've said you'll do in your automatic response, do it.

H= HELPFULNESS. If you have a web business, then you're in the HELPFULNESS business. It comes with the territory. .......................................................

REMEMBER THIS - Your sole purpose in business (ONline or OFFline) is to solve people’s problems, excellently.

Solve their problems well and you'll have a vibrant, lucrative business. This is called excellence in customer service.

Remember this - Your customers are only one click away from another web site, and its products.

Do ONline Customer Service well, or die.

Kenneth Doyle - e*Analyst (

"If you haven't worked this out, you soon will. There's a lot of NONsense zapping around in cyber-space.

Find out what works, what doesn't... and what's worth your money." Subscribe to the e*Analyst ezine - ___________________________________________________________

Born with the promotional strategist's gene... followed by twenty successful years in Media, Marketing, PR and copywriting.


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