David Hochberg

I was thinking that when I called 1-800-CONTACTS. We must be a pain most of the time, but their customer service people always sound happy to hear from me. That was the case this week when Kristine Taylor was so cheerful about handling the return and getting my new trifocal lenses from England. Very few marketers ever think about the value of actually dealing with existing customers, probably because they’re so focused on new customer acquisition. The “back end” of the business—returns, credits, handling complaints, answering questions, even keeping track of customers—doesn’t interest them much. It should.

At one point or another, everyone is a new mover. Whether it's striking out on your own from the family home and into that first apartment, or moving up to a single-family residence with your spouse and new baby, or trading in that empty nest for a chic condo in a warmer climate—it's not often that you find a life-stage event that touches so many consumers' lives. Every month—in fact every week—there are new movers packing up boxes in one locale, only to put down roots in another, be it two blocks away or on the other coast of the United States.

Why your call center absolutely, positively might need Web chat. By Mitchell Lieber Did you realize that your Web site is considered antiquated if it doesn’t have Web chat? Did you know that customers will desert your business if you don’t offer it? Hold on! That’s not quite true, yet—certainly not for all businesses. Perhaps some day it will be, but today, using Web chat should be carefully considered. See below for a few examples of companies that use Web chat, and others that don’t. All of these companies are icons in their markets. So how do you know if your Web

Mailers are having success with package Inserts, co-ops, Blow-ins and statement stuffers—they'd just rather not talk about it By Alicia Orr The title for this piece came from a conversation I had with Leon Henry during the Annual Catalog Conference in Boston last June. "You know," said Henry, chairman of Leon Henry Inc., "inserts fly below the radar screen. We're quite a large industry if you'd take the time to look. We're a factor and no one knows it." So I accepted Henry's challenge and decided to tackle this story. No easy task. It's difficult, if not impossible, to accurately quantify the size of

By Kelly J. Andrews A very good retail salesperson upsells this handbag to match that dress, the lamp to complement the sofa. To contrast, telephone reps, lacking face-to-face contact, used to function as mere order-takers, not salespeople. Direct marketers relied on persuasive copy to sell, not their inbound reps. This outdated reality has changed. The reasons are several: First, the increased costs of mailing have put pressure on call centers to increase order sizes and become profit centers. Second, upselling and cross-selling efforts not only increase average order size, but also help retain customers by turning single-buyers into multi-buyers and upping their involvement with

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