Monday, February 15, 2010

A Twitter like Application as a Customer Service Tool for Retailer's Web Sites (updated - new link)

Longtail Aperitif - February 19, 2010

After some articles are put to bed at FilterBlogs they get a Posthumous Longtail Aperitif; links to related articles published after my original post - towards a better user experience for you, the reader:

Your Longtail Aperitif: Peter Morville, 'Search works best as a Conversation', discussed in an interview by Mac Slocum at O'Reiily Radar, Feburary 19, 2010.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I was thinking of those bad major retail web sites that are stuck in web 1.0. Stationary un-linked lists of products with no prices. Even the page that posts hours of operation of the store near you is hard to find. You usually end up looking in the phone book and calling the store - and that's a whole other story in bad customer service.

Then it came to me, why not set up a Twitter application on those web pages?

As a customer I come to the site and choose a handle, @myname, and use the product index to copy and paste 4 key elements into a 120 character tweet:

@michaelholloway $Cost of 1 #RedHoolahoop? Does the @LeslievilleToronto store have it in stock?

  • @michaelholloway is the customers handle, an address to send the answer back to in the Twitter application.
  • $Cost is a tag that directs the computer to expect a product description.
  • #RedHoolahoop is the product description, quantity always 1. Because this has to be accurate for the computer program to do it's job, the customer copies and pastes this info into the Tweet-box from the product index that the customer finds through a really good, in house Search Engine.
  • @LeslievilleToronto is a tag that tells the computer program to check availability of #RedHoolahoop at the Leslieville, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Location - and the hours of operation, delivery options, payment options, etc., etc. can be included in the reply.

A Company Twitter Helper is on-line 24/7 to help customers make the automated system work for them. More tags can be added to fit the retail meme.

Tell everyone you heard it here first please.


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