BuyOnlineNow’s Press Release:
For the second year in a row, my old stomping grounds at BuyOnlineNow.com has made the Inc. 500 fastest growing private companies list.
BuyOnlineNow started up in 2000 and is now easily one of the U.S. leading online office supply companies. The way they still revolve around customer service is amazing. I had to ask the CEO and founder, Bob Herman, how they still do it.
“I’m often asked ‘What’s the secret to our success?’ There’s no secret, I believe our success is due to our commitment to providing the best possible customer service every day. This commitment applies to everything we do, our online catalog, our delivery offerings, and even to our marketing efforts.
For instance, unlike virtually all of our competitors, we don’t send bulk marketing emails to our customers; we don’t even maintain an email list! We believe that the vast majority of the email ‘offers’ sent are really spam, merely annoying the recipient. That’s not good service so we don’t do it.”
For the 2 years I was with them, we never sent out marketing emails. The only ones that customers got were order confirmations and tracking. We had plenty of other hats to wear. In fact, aside from traffic analysis, usability, search marketing, etc… there were literally thousands of times I would answer the phone saying “BuyOnlineNow, this is Paul, how can I help you?”
For over a year, one of my hats was to track customer orders. If there was a hiccup, I would call the area’s distribution center to find out what was going on. If it wound up being an order delay, I would proactively call the customer explaining the situation, letting them know when their order would be shipped in full.
During the whole time, I could count on one hand how many times a customer would call up about their order, and I did not have an answer for them. This is not a pat on my back. It was simply part of my job.
BuyOnlineNow is one example of how placing priority on customers trumps wasting useless time worrying about Google updates, that silly sandbox myth, and how high you “rank” (I hate that word) in different search engines for select keyphrases. What a novel idea… placing the actual customer first.
It seems strange, but working for this national e-commerce site is what got me interested in what’s now known as “local search”. In a few weeks, there’s a chance I’ll be visiting Bob, Sonja (Sonny, who is my sister and old BuyOnlineNow boss), and the whole team for a few days. I can’t wait to interact and hang out with all of them, and catch up on things about the e-commerce world.
Sonja, will you cook dinner during my stay? It has always been my favorite.