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Email, ecommerce & the workplace

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Friday February 24, 2006 )

I was just perusing an article on Internet Retailer about the importance of effective email practices in customer service and ecommerce. Sounds like a bit of a no-brainer topic, but the article made a very good point to underline how critical a rapid email response time is.

It appears that with so many people accessing the web via the workplace, they are increasingly emailing online merchants with pre-sales inquiries rather than calling via phone. Why? Quite simple – the fear of being on hold for too long during their breaks and/or they don’t want their work colleagues, or more importantly, bosses, to hear what they are doing :). So, if you don’t answer an email inquiry quickly, don’t assume that the customer will call instead. Makes perfect sense to me :).

According to the Customer Respect Group (quoted in the Internet Retailer article), 72% of consumers expect an answer to their e-mail within 24 hours. The recommended best practice is to send out an autoresponder message first so the customer knows that their email has been received. An immediate autoresponse also gives you the opportunity to provide further useful information to the client that may allow them to resolve a situation or make their purchase before you get to their inquiry.

Important note – if you state in your autoresponse that the customer will receive a reply in X hours; ensure that you follow through. If there’s going to be a delay, a courtesy note informing them of such can go a long way to preventing frustration.

Read the Internet Retailer report

Learn more about autoresponder software

Learn more about email delivery issues


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