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Publisher’s Letter as published in the October issue of Pet Age.

What is the preferred method in which each one of your customers wants to talk to you?

I am going to guess that each one of your customers likes to communicate with you in different ways. Some prefer email, some by phone, and others by fax and a few by letters. Whichever it is, why would you want to limit your customers? Especially in a service that we are all in, that is about making it as easy as possible for your customers.

If you pick up any Pet Age magazine, flip to the fourth page, every way you could want to contact us is there. You want to talk to me, there is my number. If you want to shoot me an email, that’s there, too. You want to talk to editorial, the number of our editor-in-chief is right there, same with her email.

Are you not sure who you want to talk to, our general number is there. Fax, mail, website, it’s all there placed for our customers to communicate with us.

Now, I understand I am very old school with the way I do things. If I can’t talk to you in person, I prefer the phone. I love to talk and I love to hear what you have to say. When emailing, you don’t get that same interpersonal communication. You can’t express excitement over a product, build a close relationship, I believe, none of that really happens over email.

Now the reason I bring this up is because I look at ads, a lot. I glance through the ads the way a retailer would. I see something that catches my eye and I get excited about it, then I realized, I can’t contact you.

There is no email, no phone number and sometimes there is only a website. Through my years of experience, I can tell you, the more work you make me go through to get your product, the more I am going to lose interest fast.

Here is an example from personal experience with a non-pet company. I have a case for my cell phone that charges it also. It broke the other day. It happens. So I went through the packaging and the instructions, no contact information. I went to the website after a fair amount of searching online for it. Then after digging through the site I finally found an email address to contact them at, and that’s it.

I sent them an email and never received a confirmation or a response from them. I tried against a few weeks later but still no word.

Now, you could assume that your company would never do this but it’s easy to overlook emails. I have done it, people on my staff have done it, it happens and I do understand that. But, I could have easily been a customer for life for that company, buying their products yearly, if I had talked to a representative on the phone or by a different method I preferred. But now because of not being able to communicate with me, they lost me. If this happened to anyone else, they probably lost them, too.

When running a business, every sale should count and should be important. So I beg you, put in all your contact information online, or in your ads. Make it easier for the customer to reach you, to get your product in the store.

Then when it’s easier for them, it’s easier for you to make money.

- Craig Rexford

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