Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Are You Accessible to Your Customers?

I learned something new the last few weeks while surfing for a vendor to provide a party room on line. Out of all the vendors I looked at, only one had a phone number. Do they have any idea how many potential customers they are losing on a daily basis? I filled out many contact forms and in some cases never received a reply. In other cases, we played message tag through emails. I, myself, have a toll free number on my website. Since January, I have had over 50 phone calls. At least three quarters of those calls have turned into sales. The other quarter has been people calling to sell me something.

I really needed to talk to a "live" person to ask questions that I felt were important since I had little experience in the online party world. The questions to the vendor may seem trivial, but to you the customer they are important. That reassurance that there really is someone "real" behind the website is worth it. So why don't more websites provide a toll free number? I don't know the answer to that, but I really think they should check into it. It just may be the trick to boosting their online sales.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Early Fall Color

Don't you just love the colors of Fall? I have to be honest with you...this is the first time in a very, very long time that I have even bothered to dig up the Summer pots and plant Fall pots. Usually, by the end of August I am so over Summer. The garden looks rag tag and I just want to pull everything up and wait for Spring bulbs to make an appearance.

But, this year has been so unusual. First, we have had a really cool summer and the perennial garden still looks fairly decent. Second, the pots actually didn't look bad except for the petunias which looked leggy even after trimming them. And, the Fall mums were out so early...I thought...why not? Maybe I'll get 2 more months of color in the yard. And, I've never seen so much ornamental cabbage available at all the nurseries. I do have to tell you it was very hard finding mums that weren't already in full bloom. In this picture, they have only been in a week and look at them. Another hard find was the pansies, as this is really early for them. But I got lucky and found a few.

So, I'm hoping that I have Fall bloom for all of September and October and don't have to worry about early frost and covering them up. That's usually the reason I don't bother to plant for Fall. It's just too much work worrying about frost....whatever!