Most Jamaican consumers have had some version of this experience: Your blender breaks on Sunday and the stores are closed. You vow to buy one Monday morning. In your online search at your local appliance store, you find the perfect blender on their page. But they do not list the price, specs or availability. It’s Sunday. The store is closed so your options are: leave a voicemail, email, direct message, or ask a question in the comments. Your inquiry goes unanswered until the following Saturday evening. It’s Sunday again and you’re still blender-less.
In this online age, too Jamaican businesses neglect their online presence. It is the most infuriating experience to be scroll through a business’ social media page and see products and services with no price tag or specifications. Prospective customers are forced to enquire, often repeatedly, in the comments about the cost only to have their questions go unanswered, answered days later or be asked to call for pricing. Many businesses don’t seem to realize the time and effort a customer spends trying to find specifics about their products is time that could be spent buying their product.
Websites are even more infuriating. Having a website where customers can only view the types of products but can do nothing else is a waste of money and server space. If it does not list price, specs and availability, then what exactly is the point?
These aren’t the only online sins of Jamaican businesses. Many of their online channels lack attentive maintenance. There are countless dark social media pages online that belong to active businesses. Some companies have products and promotions on their main page or as a banner whose dates are long past. Keeping websites and social media pages current shows customers you are engaged with your own promotions, and they are likely to engage, too. Of course, it also helps anyone looking for the best deals and prices and can bring you sales. Just as important, a properly maintained channel also inspires customer loyalty—as great customer service is known to do.
Local businesses are not yet taking advantage of the full capabilities of the Internet. Many Jamaican businesses hurt their sales by not taking advantage of SEO (search engine optimization) or other such devices for driving people to a website.
Many Jamaicans may be unaware of certain local services or products and will likely use an online search engine to find them. Businesses whose sites are adequately optimized will capture this audience. Sadly, too many of them are not. A cursory search of home appliances, for instance, results in only one of the local stores showing on the first page.
We believe a poor online presence reflects poor customer service, an omission that hurts many businesses in this country. Too many businesses here forget that communication is key in customer service and have let their brick and mortar bad habits seep into the digital world. It’s at their own peril.