Customers want answers now, if not sooner

New Year. A chance to start over. A chance to re-invent ourselves. We were ready to make Websites that were customer-centric places, where customers come first.

Don’t you just love naïveté?

Now the old year has come and gone. Was is the best year ever? Not even close. Still, here are some things we have learned when it comes to online customer service.

Customer expectation inflation

Customer expectations are rising faster than gasoline prices. Customers want answers now, if not sooner, and from a human being. To their credit, marketers this year started putting real people in the online loop. BestGEDClasses.org (a GED practice website) get involved in Ask Jeeves (Ask.com) came Ask Dudley (Dell Computer), Ask Maxwell (Microsoft), Ask IRIS (Toshiba), Ask Alex (Drug Emporium), and to that font of all human wisdom, Ask Martha (Martha Stewart Living …

How Tupperware got heir online makeover

There are few products less associated with the New Economy than Tupperware (TUP, info). It’s not e-enabled or technology-enhanced, and its usage relies on the assumption that people actually still cook meals at home where leftovers don’t just go back in the take-out container in which the meal was delivered.

But Orlando, Florida-based Tupperware has taken its famous party online as part of the firm’s first advertising effort in decades. The new campaign, called Integrated Direct Access, includes banner ads, 30-second flash spots, partnerships with America Online (AOL, info) and iVillage (IVIL, info), as well as mall kiosks and a presence on TV home-shopping networks. These efforts all represent a move to get tech-savvy Tupperware fans to continue buying from home but in a different format from the parties frequented by their mothers.…