Most businesses focus on making a sale by getting the brand positioning, ranging, pricing & availability right, although many fail to do this well. For websites, you would hope that they make the user experience intuitive and easy to use. For me this is a given for business success, but what separates the good from the great is the way businesses deal with customer problems.

Last week we returned our rental Capote DVD to Amazon in the pre-paid envelope. However, last night we were surprised to find the Capote disk still in our DVD player! We are not sure if we had returned an empty envelope or included one of the childrens DVDs in error.

This morning I looked on the Amazon site to find out what to do. There wasn’t a specific question in the FAQs that related to our incident so I clicked the Contact Us By Telephone link. I added my telephone number and requested an immediate call.

Calling Amazon in December I anticipated a long wait but 2 seconds later my phone started ringing. Within another 10 seconds I was connected to a Customer Service representative who efficiently dealt with my enquiry. The call was free. The told me how to return the DVD using Freepost. It was our mistake, but Amazon resolved our issue quickly, efficiently and for free.

Now, just suppose another retailer offered a similar product range, pricing, fast delivery & a great web experience. Who do you think I am likely to shop with? However clever we think we are (or not), even the best companies make mistakes sometimes. It’s another example of why Amazon have been so successful integrating the best of the web with high quality service.

Web marketing tips that any business (large or small) could apply to grow customer lifetime value

  • Make it easy for customers to contact you when they have a problem – then you have a chance to fix it and keep their business as well as solve a problem that may be affecting many more customers who can’t be bothered to contact you
  • Make the buying process, simple, fast (& safe). Study your web analytics to find out what’s working and what isn’t.

Remember… web marketing is about solving customers’ problems profitably