Business Communication and Internet
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While the Internet makes some aspects of business easier for both the customer and the company, the element of communication can sometimes be more challenging. Granted, email provides customers with the ease of typing a message and sending it with the click of the mouse. At the same time, the faceless quality of online communication can create hindrances to companies that do much of their business online. As a result, savvy businesses take the time to consider the different areas of Internet communication to ensure that their customers receive the best service available.
Any company that does business online has an email address for customers to use, and most companies offer several different addresses that enable customers to send the message to the right department within the company. The question is often not one of email, but rather of what type of email to have. While online providers such as Google, Yahoo! and Hotmail offer free email, these types of services often leave the user with spam issues. Additionally, some of these services mistakenly block messages to customers. This means that a company should consider investing in a business email provider that offers stronger filters.
The faceless quality of online business means that customers cannot receive the in-person communication that even a person at the other end of a telephone can provide. Businesses that function largely online should thus provide a more personal touch and make the interaction between the customer and the company easier. Options include instant messaging services for the customers to have online discussions with company employees or even online forums for customers to discuss issues with one another or offer tips and service reviews on the company.
Related Reading: How the Use of Internet in Business Proves Cost Beneficial
Customer support is an essential part of doing business online. Companies should make every effort to show customers that the company takes their concerns seriously. Posting a notice about the turnaround policy for answering customer questions – and then following this policy – helps indicate to customers that the company values their questions and comments. Additionally, companies can provide customers with a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) link from the main page of the website. Over time, companies find that customers tend to ask the same questions repeatedly. An FAQ page can answer these questions and save the customer time and frustration.
The Personal Touch
While form emails are often essential in companies that do a considerable amount of online business, adding a personal touch to emails also shows customers that the company cares about the business that the customers provide. Delegating a few people – or even a department – to provide personal responses to emails can help customers to see the company as a group of people instead of a large and faceless business. Simply personalizing emails with the customers’ names—using a mail merge function—also helps to add a personal touch to the email (even if thousands of people are receiving an identical message).
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