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Subject: UKNM: Re: UKNM Digest V1 #226
From: thepartnership
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 1999 15:07:41 +0100

One UKNM digest and two separate mentions of fulfilment issues! I know it's
not the interesting bit of ecommerce, but we all probably agree it's vital
to get it right. (If you don't agree, you won't be in business much longer.)

Firstly, Lee Kimber writes about companies not answering emails. We've been
marketing an outsourced email management response service for about two
years and had very few takers. I think Lee's point about this being the
remit of systems/admin people rather than marketing is very valid and these
guys aren't famous for being up on customer care/ marketing issues (fair
enough, I can't write code). Once the right people become aware of the
issue, I would hope they'll do something about it (or *they* won't be in
business much longer!).

However, it will be an increasingly high profile issue. As Aidan Cook so
rightly pointed out:

>...contrasted online &
>offline complaints from customers: its unlikely that an offline customer
>can ruin your trade, unless they are prepared to stand outside with a
>sandwaich board saying "Don't shop here". The online customer can email
>their friends, ridicule and cuss you on Newsgroups, set up a hate site
>(remember www.britishtelecommunications.co.uk?), and moan about you on
>prominent emailing lists...especially as there is a slightly more
>obsessive tendancy amongst web-users.

I'd just add the 'sucks.com' phenomenon which seems to be gaining in
popularity as a short hand URL suffix for the hate sites. The days of
client companies just worrying about a starring role on Watchdog will seem
like golden idylls in comparison to what's coming - or perhaps has already

The winners online (IMHO) are going to be those who understand that
fulfilment and customer care are key parts of the product offering, not
necessarily those who have the coolest, best marketed websites. But I
suppose I would say that...

>Date: Thu, 22 Jul 1999 12:18:08 +0100
>From: lkimberatcmp [dot] com
>Subject: UKNM: Worst Web-site sins
>We did a survey on web-site email responses (or lack of them) for Network Week
>magazine in January. We found 8/10 web-site owners did not reply to emails
>within 14 days. I just did the same thing with several mortgage-related sites
>and received a response from Direct Line three weeks after the initial
>I think that part of the problem is that most companies don't bring much
>imagination to their use of email. Automated acknowledgement of
>web-site-generated emails is a must (IMHO), but you rarely see it. I
>assume this
>is because most of the emphasis is on web development and web training, while
>email management remains the preserve of the sysadmin.
>I think you'll see growth in demand for tools that monitor web-site generated
>email, reroute it to the appropriate person who can give it the attention it
>deserves and produce reports on it for review.
>I've been developing stuff to test how easily one could do this (in Perl on
>Linux) and was surprised at how quickly it took inefficiences out of my
>Technical Editor
>Network Week

>Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 11:30:51 +0100 (BST)
>From: Aidan Cook <aidanatsensei [dot] co [dot] uk>
>Subject: UKNM: I'm sorry sir, this is a cheese shop.
>> Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 12:49:07 +0000
>> From: Cosmo [dot] Roeatcliffordchance [dot] com
>> Subject: UKNM: Yalplay - good follow up
>> Following the message I posted last week in which I criticised the standard
>> of service provided by iMVS, I should let you know that I was contacted by
>> Emma Jones, Sales and Marketing Manager of Yalplay. Hers was an excellent
>> email and has gone some way to reassuring me that iMVS does take its
>> customer support network seriously. Credit where it is due....
>Or not. If I go into a shop (you remember, a shop: big room, shelves,
>stuff, people) and ask for an item, then I either get it in my hand there
>and then, or I get told that "We don't have it currently in stock, but we
>can order it for you".
>iMVS took over two weeks to tell me they were unable to fulfil my order.
>Two weeks of excitement as I waited for the postman's tread each morning;
>two weeks in which I could have got the bloody thing from many other
>sources. Online shopping has many benefits, but it would be nice to
>minimise the drawbacks...
>I'm guessing that I'll get a response to THIS complaint, but it would have
>been nice to get one to my moan to iMVS. This whole thread has been
>interesting for another reason that was raised by a cigar-selling
>lad up in Yorkshire (very successful online). He
>Anyway, I still haven't got my bloody record - anybody know any good
>online record shops? (apart from www.vinyltap.co.uk).

Kind regards

Russell Buckley
The Handling Partnership
Tel: 0171 350 1113 Fax: 0171 228 4340

russellatfulfilment [dot] net

ecommerce fulfilment * mail order * telebusiness * email response handling
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