Customer Service, Electronically: How to Use Your Web Site to Put Customers in Control and Increase Customer Satisfaction While Reducing Service Costs

By Allen, Claudia H. | Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management, January 2002 | Go to article overview

Customer Service, Electronically: How to Use Your Web Site to Put Customers in Control and Increase Customer Satisfaction While Reducing Service Costs


Allen, Claudia H., Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management


Who owns your magazine's Web site? Many marketers complain that the editors believe it's their site. But the truth is, everyone wants a piece of the action--editors, marketers and ad sales people. It's important to remember, though, that first and foremost, a magazine's Web site belongs to the customers who use it.

Providing a variety of user-friendly online customer-service features is a hallmark of our customer-centric philosophy at Men's Health.

If you don't have customer-service features on your site, make it a priority to get them. The reason is simple: Customers want control, and online customer service puts them in control and reduces publishers' customer-service costs.

To increase the use of Men's Health's online customer-service, much effort is spent educating our customers. We print our Web address anywhere we can--in renewal and invoice notices, on the magazine folio, and in direct-mail packages.

We send out fliers inviting Men's Health's customers to renew or pay for their subscriptions online. We have a customer-service house ad in every issue, and a spread in our "Welcome" brochure to new and renewing customers.

PROMOTE ONLINE SERVICE

We even have the Web address on our 800 number response message. When you call our customer-service 800 number, it says "Welcome to Men's Health customer service. To manage your account online, go to www.menshealth.com, or choose from one of the following options."

The toll-free number was a revolution in its time; today it's the standard. We can't abandon the 800 number just yet. But in promotions, we make it subservient to customer service online. We believe the Internet has the potential to be as revolutionary as the toll-free number was years ago, and we need to create awareness about this new way to do business.

FUNCTIONALITY IS KEY

The Men's Health online customer-service system has answers to frequently asked questions, and offers the ability to send comments or suggestions to the magazine. But the basis of a good customer-service system lies in its functionality. …

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