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Provide detailed contacts with names and pictures, not faceless forms

First off, invite personal contact.  Make it easy for people to call, e-mail, or write you a letter. You, personally.

Put up real names and pictures with e-mail addresses, snail mail addresses, and (most daring of all) phone numbers.

Showing your face and real contact info, you can persuade people that they actually have a chance of communicating with a human being, not some robotic autoresponder.

Plus, if your organization can stand it, you can carve up responsibility for answering customer e-mails, and suggest that if the question deals with printers, this person is the one to write to, but if people are having a problem with a scanner, they should try this other person. Avoid the one-size-fits-all INFO at your web site, a dumping ground that most savvy consumers avoid, sensing they will only get a stupid form letter back.

You can filter a lot of questions right on the Web site, rather than depending on expensive software to analyze incoming traffic.

And if you don't dare admit who you are on the site, then spend the money to route the e-mail to the right respondent, within seconds, so e-mails don't end up in the hands of idiots, or, worse, people who could care less about the issue.


E-mail responses to customers, chapter from Hot Text, Web Writing that Works (PDF, 995K, or about 18 minutes at 56K)



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