Online as in store, put customer service first

It surprises me that major, high- profile brands such as Amazon and Virgin are being so careless with managing their online customer relationships (“It’s goodbye from me, and is it also goodbye to e-tail intimacy?”, MW October 27).

Today, more than 627 million people worldwide shop online and, for many retailers, their online portal brings in more revenue than the flagship store. Yet if staff on the shop floor treated customer queries or complaints in the same way as they do online, they would find themselves being disciplined.

Simply reacting to customer feedback and complaints, while vital, is not enough. Businesses must have a system in place to proactively and consistently evaluate changing customer needs, coupled with a rigid⢠policy for rapid response, to ensure complaints are avoided in the first place. It is a competitive virtual landscape out there and customers are always just two clicks away from spending their money on a competitor’s site.

E-tailers will only achieve brand loyalty when they successfully marry customer expectation with the reality of the online service they provide.

Dan Northover

Executive creative director

Global Beach Group

London SW6

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