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Background Making online customers happy
‘Repeat customers – that’s what makes us the money!’ says Ryan Polinder, an Internet entrepreneur. ‘New customers are great but they don’t mean anything if they don’t 5 come back,’ he continues. ‘So we have to make sure we provide them with what they want and make them feel like they are the most important people in the world. There are plenty of similar providers out there 10 so we have to make sure our customers keep using us; their loyalty is key to our survival.’ Ryan runs a retro sports clothing company that employs fifteen people. 15 They buy in stock from suppliers and sell it over the Internet and telephone. ‘We don’t really have a unique selling point,’ explains Ryan. ‘Our clothing is the same as you can buy on other sites or sports shops, we 20 cannot even have a pricing advantage as we already work on the tightest of margins. That means it is our customer service that makes us stand out from the crowd.’ Ryan obviously knows what he is 25 talking about. His company, Sportswear Nationwide, has recently won a national customer service award and has glowing testimonials on its website. So what is Ryan’s secret? 30 The secret was in the research Ryan did before setting up the company. He found that many people had been dissatisfied when using online retailers for two reasons. Firstly, people found existing websites 35 difficult to use and secondly, they were not sure how to return the goods if they were not exactly what they wanted. ‘The fact they couldn’t pick them up, hold them and try them on put people off buying clothes 40 online. We realized our after-sales service needed to be as thorough and as helpful as our presales service, if not more so.’ Ryan worked hard with his web designers to come up with an attractive, high-quality 45 website that was user-friendly. After launch he found that pre-service looked after itself. People could click through the website with efficient ease. So Ryan turned his attention to after-sales care. 50 ‘There is nothing worse than the feeling that once a company has got your money they are no longer interested in satisfying you,’ claims Morgan Andrews, a customer service specialist. ‘That uncaring voice at 55 the end of the line when you phone up to ask where a product is or call to ask if you can send something back is the number one factor for people seeking out new suppliers.’ ‘I remind my staff that customers only 60 get in touch when something has gone wrong,’ explains Ryan. ‘That means that every time they answer a call or respond to an email they need to be on their best 65 behaviour because we are already on the path to losing a customer. In my experience customers want to be listened to, they want a courteous, attentive response. They have paid the money and they expect a service.’ Sportwear Nationwide promises its 70 customers that it will pick up unwanted goods within 24 hours of the phone call. ‘It’s ambitious,’ explains Ryan, ‘but it sets us apart from the others. We have a very 75 reliable delivery provider who helps us to keep our promises.’ The customer doesn’t even have to repackage items, they just need to hand them over with the receipt to the delivery driver.’ In a recent survey of 80 customers, Ryan discovered that the returns policy was the main reason people used his website over his competitors’. ‘This is amazing really because only about 3% of orders ever get returned,’ he adds. The same survey told him that 40% of 85 new visitors had been recommended the site by existing customers and 60% had used the website more than once. ‘Keep them happy, keep them coming back’ is 45 Ryan’s motto, and it seems to be working. © Oxford University Press 2008 Business Result Upper-intermediate Reading file 5
1 Work with a partner. Discuss these questions.
1 2 3 4 Have you ever bought anything online? Why / why not? Is online shopping popular in your country? Why / why not? W hat things would you prefer not to buy online? Why? W hat might be problems for a customer using an online clothes shop? 2 Read the text quickly and see if any of your ideas from the discussion
you had in 1 are mentioned. in the text.
15 2 24 3 60 3 Read the text again quickly and find out what these numbers refer to
1 2 3 4 5 4 Read the text again. Answer these questions using your own words.
1 2 3 4 According to Ryan, what is the key to making money? W hat is the unique selling point (USP) of Ryan’s company? W hy did he decide to focus on customer service? Apart from difficulty using websites, why have people been dissatisfied with online clothes shopping? 5 W hat guarantee does Ryan’s company give its customers? 6 W hat reasons does the text give to show that Ryan’s attitude to customer service has been successful? 5 Match 1–8 to a–h to make a collocation from the text. Then look at the
text to check your answers.
to make t he key u nique pricing tightest stand out customer glowing a b c d e f g h 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 to survival of margins money f rom the crowd services selling point testimonials advantage 6 Work with a partner. Using the text to help you, check you know what the collocations mean. Then make sentences about your company using the collocations. could use in your day-to-day work. 7 Now look back at the text again and find some more collocations that you 8 Work in small groups. Discuss these questions.
1 Do you think Ryan’s idea of customer service would work in your country? Why / why not? 2 Ryan says his motto is ‘Keep them happy, keep them coming back’. What is your / your company’s motto? Why? © Oxford University Press 2008 Business Result Upper-intermediate ...
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This note was uploaded on 12/12/2010 for the course RBS BCN taught by Professor Dekoe during the Spring '10 term at Rotterdam Business School.
- Spring '10