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What’s the state of customer service in America? Given all the attention this topic generates in a consumer-driven marketplace, you probably don’t need to read the following statistics—but to make a point, we’re going to tell you anyway. Consider that: • A March 2006 study released by JupiterResearch reported that more than half of online consumers are taking their business to other merchants or service providers because of poor online service. Ouch! • The Customer Care Call Center Survey, research conducted over the course of 2005 by Ernan Roman Direct Marketing and based on the feedback of a few hundred direct marketing

By Alicia Orr Suman Have telemarketers gotten nicer? As a member of the direct marketing community, I have not put my name on the state Do-Not-Call (DNC) list. And I've noticed of late an increased level of politeness from the people who call me on the phone to sell some product or service. Is this my imagination? The answer to that question isn't really important. But it raises a point: With fewer names in their calling pools—as a result of more Americans asking that their names be put on DNC lists—telemarketers should be doing all they can to make sure every call is

Industry experts get serious about privacy, postage, telemarketing and more. Reported by Paul Barbagallo, Brian Howard & Hallie Mummert Privacy. The U.S. Postal Service. Telemarketing. Congress. These four topics dominated the discussion at Target Marketing's Business Outlook 2003 breakfast, held during the Direct Marketing Association conference in San Francisco in October. We gathered a distinguished panel of industry experts to outline the major issues direct marketers will face next year, and found that the more the industry changes, the more it stays the same. When Target Marketing convened a roundtable seven years ago to discuss the future of direct marketing, we gnashed teeth over

By Alicia Orr Suman Spring 1978. The first issue of ZIP magazine hit the mail. And on the cover of that predecessor to this magazine were the faces of men and women—"Some Leaders in the Direct Marketing Field," stated the headline. The features listed in the Table of Contents of that premier issue (right) have an eerie resemblance to the subjects we now cover 25 years later: • What Is the Future of the Postal Service? • Personal Privacy in an Information Society • Facsimile Machines, For the Office of the Future • Computer Networks: The New Information Robots • Alternate Delivery: Post-Mortem for

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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