July 30, 2007, 12:00 AM

Customers raise their voices

(Page 3 of 3)

Abebooks sorts through knowledge gained from its online forums as well as unaffiliated blogs and social networks on a case-by-case basis, interacting with customers when necessary to gain fuller understanding. The e-retailer has a more structured approach, though, to comprehending feedback from the more structured e-mail surveys.

“Answers to questions are aggregated in a standard report on a scale from 1 to 10, so we look at the averages to figure out the big trends,” Wertz says. “And we have one staff member go through the comments entered in the open data field and pick out the most important ones, especially detailed feedback on the positives and negatives of our site. Important detailed feedback gets included in the standard report. This report gets sent to the marketing, customer service and senior management teams every week. Condensing this information in an easy-to-follow standard report allows us to fully understand what is going on.”

And when it comes to ­gaining a deep understanding of what customers are saying, Abebooks operates based on a very old maxim, indeed. “We have a simple principle,” Wertz says. “The customer is always right.”

bill@verticalwebmedia.com

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