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Which Is More Profitable: 'High-Touch' Or 'High-Tech'?

By Paula Morrow
Posted Friday, October 15, 2004

Connecting to your customers in the go-go world of online marketing can be difficult. The online environment has, unfortunately, earned a reputation of being cold, distant and impersonal. As a result, people feel free to click off, delete and ignore your offers with wild abandon. And minimal guilt.

Without a personal connection, you risk losing more than just a sale - your long-term business could be at stake. Everyone speaks of creating a USP - if you can't compete on price, why not make your mark in the 'high touch' arena of customer service?

By taking the time to transform a cold 'high tech' experience to one of 'high touch,' you'll set yourself apart from the crowd and create something rarely seen: customer loyalty.

So, how to proceed?

*Commit To Ensuring That Everything Works

Minimize customer frustration by making sure that everything on your web site is working. There's nothing like a broken link to make customer enthusiasm fizzle.

*Keep In Touch!

Sounds simple, but in the rush to make the next sale, place the next ad, or find the next J/V partner, people forget to keep in touch with their own list. Make them feel you've not forgotten them.

Every so often, send a free report, a special notice, a 'customer only' bonus. Don't make it seem like the only time you contact them is when you want to sell them something.

*Personalize As Much As Possible

There is a wealth of online software available to make this process easier. At a bare minimum, always personalize emails with the recipient's first name!

Also try to collect personal information to give you an added excuse to check in with your customers. Gather birthdays, last product purchased, etc.

*Give Yourself A Time Limit For Responses

If someone contacts you with a question or concern, get back to them within 48 hours (if not sooner).

Give yourself a drop-dead date and then stick to it.

*Give Your Customers Payment Choices

Hard to believe, but not everyone (gasp!) has a credit card. Or is comfortable ordering online, even with a secure order form. Try to be flexible by offering alternatives. Electronic checks, taking orders by telephone or fax, allowing the mailing in of a check or money order are all worth consideration.

For high ticket items, consider offering an installment plan. Breaking up the financial commitment into three payments could make it easier to justify a purchase in your customer's minds.

*Hello, Anyone There?

If a customer wanted to contact you, can they? Do you have your address and phone number posted on your site?

I recognize that some are now hesitant to post an email address, not wanting to fall victim of email harvesting/Spam software, but email is still the preferred method of online contact for many.

Weigh the inconvenience to you versus the inconvenience to your customer.

*Gimme My Stuff, Now!

Online, people have become 'instant' junkies. They want it, and they want it now! While great for those with digital downloadable products, this could cause a problem for those dependent on third-party fulfillment houses.

If using a fulfillment house, you must be up front with your customers concerning shipping/arrival times. If there's going to be a delay, let them know.

Avoid the negative feelings that will result if a product doesn't arrive as expected, and the customer is left to wonder why.

Remember, a customer doesn't need much incentive to leave you for your competition. Don't let them feel that they'd be better treated elsewhere!

There are many other methods you could use to transition a high tech business to one of high touch. Set yourself apart in this way, and your customers will reward you with their loyalty and their dollars.

About the Author
Paula Morrow heads Ideal Marketing Corporation, specializing in information products and training for newbie netpreneurs. Subscribe to IDEALProfits, now read in 12 countries, and receive 5 bonus ebooks! (


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