QUERY: trying to increase website use by our customers

Subject: QUERY: trying to increase website use by our customers
From: Donna Horowitz <horowit -at- en -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2001 11:05:30 -0500

Our company designs and manufactures equipment for the transportation industry with heavy emphasis on the automotive segment. As Hickok has become acquainted with the WWW, our management, driven by the board of directors, wants to use our website as a tool for encouraging customer contact.

One of the recent suggestions is that we eliminate any addresses in our manuals and instead give phone number and website address. When they call or contact us through the website, they will receive an authorization number for service which they need to include with the equipment when they return it. We want to encourage customers to contact us before sending equipment back to us for service with no clue as to what the problem is.

When I listen to the comments and suggestions at the meetings, I'm getting the idea that the main concern is to improve our relationship with our customers. We typically have distributors selling our equipment, so we are often invisible to the end user. The issue here is that often, when customers have any problem, even something minor, they go back to the distributor who doesn't really care about providing service to the customer. They solve the problem by taking back the equipment and sending another one; this leaves the customer with the idea that the equipment was faulty. We are newly eager to cut to the chase in these cases so that customers know we are here and willing to provide service that is both effective and timely.

In terms of my documentation, I'm trying to think of ideas that will address this new eagerness. I have a contact information page that provides all the phone and fax numbers and Web addresses. This page is next to the warranty page at the back of the manual and has references to it in the warranty and a few other places in the manual (for example, any reference in the manual to equipment maintenance or trouble has a reminder that we are here to help . . . see the contact information for numbers . . .

Does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts on ways to improve customer communication while also increasing traffic to the website using the manuals or other items that the customer gets with the product. I'm brainstorming, so I'll be happy for any thoughts however far-fetched or perhaps tried and true but forgotten.


Hectic but free
no other way to be
life is joyous when
you pursue
what you love .

Donna M. Horowitz


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