Feedbackdirect.com next month will launch a one-stop complaint department where consumers can communicate with hundreds of major manufacturers.
The site is already operational with basic features such as the “Orange Pages,” a searchable listing of companies’ 800-numbers and Web sites. Direct links will follow where consumers can communicate with companies via e-mail. For companies that do not respond to consumers, the site will send automatic follow-up reminders.
“One of the big problems with customer service is consumers don’t know how or where to reach companies,” said Thatcher Wine, CEO of Feedback Direct, Santa Monica, CA. “Instead of looking for Web sites, calling 800 numbers or searching for warranties in the closet, we are centralizing all of the information in one place.”
The advantage to businesses, according to Wine, is that it provides them an inexpensive channel of communication with their customers. “We’re bringing the per-interaction support cost down by bringing customers to Internet,” he said. “Customer service is such a big problem today, any chance to reduce costs and improve customer loyalty is welcomed by many companies.”
The company plans to make money by selling enhanced listings in its directory and by allowing businesses to use its opt-in e-mail lists to announce product upgrades and special promotions.
Marketing will begin in first-quarter 2000 with a print, radio and outdoor campaign. E-mail to targeted lists will go out within the next few weeks and the site is considering banner ads, “but they’re not at the top of our list,” said Wine.
A customer-service survey is also currently part of the site. The first 1,000 participants win a free T-shirt as well as entrance into a drawing for a Dell laptop computer.