Is Your Website Image Up to Par

One major problem you must overcome when selling virtually anything on the internet is that many people still don't quite trust it. You need to help them overcome their fears by creating a professional image. You need to convey trust and make your potential customers feel as though they can safely buy from you.

Everyone knows about scams. No one wants to be taken advantage of by one. Depending on what you're selling, joining the Better Business Bureau is a great idea. If your competitors are members of the BBB, you might really consider it.

Even if they aren't, joining the BBB certainly won't hurt. The Bureau will now recognize internet businesses and provide your website with an Online Better Business icon. Call your local agency to determine if you meet the qualifications. If you've been in business long enough, you probably qualify. Contact Info Be sure you provide adequate contact information on your site.

Consumers want to know that there is an actual person behind the site and they may want to contact you. Otherwise, they really don't know if the site is current. Therefore, you should provide several different contact methods. For one, provide an address.

A street address generally works better than a P.O. Box. Secondly, you definitely need to provide an email address for customers to send their questions to. This email address should end in your domain name.

For example; Never, ever use an or yahoo.

com account for your business email. It won't look professional enough for people to believe that you are a valid company. Alternately, you may also invest in a support desk, or even just put a contact form on a webpage on your site. These alternatives tend to have a more professional appearance than just an email address and they can keep your clients' emails from winding up in your bulk mail folder. Toll free numbers When it comes to entering credit card information over the internet, be prepared to cater to skeptics. Many consumers still do not feel the internet is a safe place to type in their credit card number - no matter what you do.

Providing a toll free number is the best way around this. You can get one for a relatively inexpensive cost from TTI National. A toll free number can be conveniently routed to any phone number you provide. So, you can have your customers ring right to your home phone or your cell phone.

Even better yet, you can hire a phone answering company to take your calls for you. There are many companies willing to answer phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That way, customers have no excuse not to order your product, even if they are afraid to type their credit card number into a web form! In addition to the added convenience of phone ordering, having a toll free number conveys a sense of professionalism.

Many consumers will look for a toll free number before deciding whether or not they want to buy from you. Others will want to contact you before they purchase. No matter how complete your sales description is, there are some people out there who just won't be satisfied until they hear a human voice. This is especially true with higher priced products. Turn-around time When people contact you by email, your contact form, support desk or call your toll free number, make sure you respond within 24-48 hours.

This is of utmost importance. Any longer than two days turn around time is considered unacceptable to most people and will be considered unprofessional. When answering questions, especially by email, be complete and thorough in your response. Add-in whatever information may be helpful.

Be polite and courteous - most of all, listen. It sounds simple, but you'd be surprised how rare proper manners are in business. Remember, think about how you would like to be treated and do just that. By being nice and timely in your response, you will win people over. Most of America is run by giant corporations. Think about the type of run-around you get by calling one of America's giants.

It's either the automated phone system that loops around or the pat email responses with no personalization to them whatsoever. Small businesses are at an advantage in that regard. Be your customers that you actually have time for them! Copyright 2005 by L A Parmley. All rights reserved.

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