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Service, Service, Service
by Diane St. James

Are you scratching your head wondering why you aren't doing so well with your Internet business?

After all, you've registered a catchy name that you own all by yourself, not a www.mainsite/mysite/ type of URL. You've submitted to all the major search engines and even paid some to get it listed. You've joined a lot of Egroups that you can network with and promote you website to, and you may even have started an Ezine and built up some subscribers. But you just aren't making much in the way of income from it?

Well, take a good hard look at the service you are providing. Are you treating your Internet business like a Business, or a hobby? Are you getting back to people right away? Are you following up, giving prompt service and attention? Are you making sure everything you deliver is of good quality and that packaging is adequate? If not, this may be the demise of your business and now I'm not just talking Internet business.

Here are some examples of some recent Internet Business transactions that I have experienced.

I recently purchased a gift item to have sent to some relatives as well as myself. Everything went smoothly until we all received our packages and they all arrived damaged? The problem? Poor packaging. Not just one but all of the items were damaged. If only the person who made these beautiful things packaged them with the correct and sufficient amount of packing material, it would have been so much better. Nobody likes to get a gift that arrives broken. Luckily this person insured the packages and is more than happy to replace them all. She has been professional in her handling of the broken gifts, but it all could have been avoided and my nice surprise was somewhat spoiled.

Many of us doing business on the Internet pay for advertising either on websites or in Ezines. I recently purchased a 'spot' on someone's website and my payment had cleared the bank. I did get an email from the person 3 days after the initial 'order' asking for clarification as to the placement of my link. We discussed it back and forth via chat room and she said she'd possibly get it listed that evening. Two days later it was still not there. I emailed her a friendly reminder and she emailed me back about it being a hectic day. Two days later it was still not up yet. A week has gone by since I placed my 'order,' which is really what it is, and it has still not been completed yet.

Recently I was asked to write a mortgage related article for someone's Ezine soon to be publishing its next issue. I received two follow up emails requesting the article by a certain date. I obliged and emailed them an article several days before the 'due date' they requested. I had heard nothing since. Not even an acknowledgment that they received my article. For those of you who have ever written an article or even a book report for that matter, you know that it does take some time and thought to produce one. I did finally send an inquiry email and found out they hadn't published that issue yet as there were delays. Will I write another article for them? Probably not.

While I'm up here on my soap box you may ask, well what about you? How is YOUR service? I humbly provide a recent example. You can decide.

The other day I got an email from someone who purchased my E-book at my site but was having trouble downloading the .exe version. In fact she wrote that she had written the day before and had not heard from me. I searched my various inboxes and did not see a previous email from her.
But I did immediately email her back and apologized for her difficulties and wrote that I had not received her first email. I asked her to what email address she wrote? If there was a dead contact link, I wanted to fix it. I also sent her with that email a different version of my E-book in .pdf format so that she could just open that with a reader program that is free. She emailed me later stating she couldn't open it.

I emailed it again and let her know if she still had problems downloading either version I would just print out a paper copy of it (even though it isn't as pretty that way), and snail mail it to her at no extra charge. Even though I could open and read the duplicate copy I sent to myself this time, she still had trouble. So I printed the 36 page copy for her and mailed it First Class the next morning, not a few days later, nor the next week. This is the kind of service I like to provide and what I like in return as a business person.

There are some folks who provide great customer service and these people continue to grow their businesses. One gentleman I want to mention is Mike Smith of He helped create my E-book but never stopped there. He has helped me out numerous times with Internet or computer related questions or problems and has given me much of his time and knowledge for Free! And you know what? I have referred people to him and will continue to do so, because of the excellent customer service. All this great service he has provided, will result in more customers for him. Smart man!

Before I step down from my soap box, I want to say I know we are all human and things can come up. It only takes a few minutes to follow up and explain a delay. There are even autoresponders that you can set up to at least acknowledge someone's email or order. If you are real busy, you can even insert wording to the effect that you received their email/order and will get back to them within a week due to your current workload/obligations. If you do this though, make sure you do get back to them ASAP. At least you are providing some sort of customer service. Act on the Golden Rule and you will see your business flourish.

Copyright by Diane St. James 2002.

Diane St. James is a mortgage professional with 21 years experience. Her website exists to help educate people about the Maze of mortgages. She is the author of "How to Get a Mortgage," an E-book filled with vital tips and secrets, and publishes a biweekly Ezine called Diane's Mortgage Tips + Other Tidbits.
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