|Building strong customer loyalty is important for organizations in today's ever-changing Internet economy. Good customer service is just as critical for online services as it is with a personal sales call or in a retail environment. An online customer-care strategy that focuses on consumer needs can ensure high customer satisfaction and retention while also reducing sales, marketing, and service costs.
|Casual clothing and home retailer Lands' End knows this firsthand. Being the first direct merchant to offer a toll-free number to customers and also one of the first to establish an online presence, the company was no stranger to new technologies. While competitors were eliminating live customer service phone calls to reduce costs, Lands' End wanted to make online shopping more personal. In September 1999, it launched Lands' End Live, an interactive site where customers and service representatives can communicate in real time while shopping on line. Shoppers ask questions and get instant answers, via either text-based Internet chat or an instant telephone callback, making the experience more personal. They can also use the "Shop With A Friend" tool to browse the site with anyone, anywhere in the world, or shop along with a service representative.
To implement the solution, Lands' End put together a team with members from all areas of the organization. The team set deadlines, established procedures, and evaluated several solutions. It chose an easy-to-use, reliable system that would integrate into its existing call-center infrastructure. With the help of Cisco, Lands' End also established a customized training program for all online service representatives and conducted usability tests before launching the new site features. All of this was done in just four months.
Since the introduction of Lands' End Live, the company has received several hundred chat and callback requests each week. Today, its Web sales comprise more than 10 percent of its total business—$138 million in fiscal 2000. Customers say they are getting better service and enjoy the human touch provided by Lands' End Live. The bottom line is that Lands' End is paying attention to the most important element of its business—the customer. And it shows.
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