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Attention to Detail or Learning How to Hate Humble Pie

Written By: Tom Cornwell

Having been in the printing & graphics business for the past
25 years, I can attest to the importance of attending to details,
both in work quality and customer satisfaction. E-commerce
is not so much different, especially in principle.

A typing error can not only be embarrassing, but also cost the printer
a lot of money, considering the waste in paper, time and labor.
On the Internet, the fix is cheap – sometimes – unless that
typing error alters data such as pricing, in which case it can
create an expensive mess, or nothing at all – such as ‘no
sales’.

Last week a fellow wrote to tell me that the links on my
pages didn’t work! I thought he was out of his mind, but
decided to go through and check them out – just in case
he wasn’t. After wading through a half-dozen pages,
finding no problems, I finally arrived to a group I’d put up
about a year ago. The links at the bottom of the pages
surely did not work!

When I originally composed the pages, I did a quick ‘cut &
paste’ of the hyperlinks at the bottom so I would not have
to retype the same information over and over. Unfortunately,
I copied a bad link; all my hyperlinks were now calling for
files in my ‘A-drive’ rather than those within the directory
on my server. I unwittingly pasted them on each of the new
pages I’d composed that afternoon and loaded them up to
the server. It probably wouldn’t have been much of a big
deal, but those pages were describing a couple of books
I am marketing and the reader simply could not get to the
order pages from those pages – after, of course, they were
very interested in doing so!

Now, you would think I’d have double-checked those links
at some point soon after, but I was in a hurry to finish and
confident that I had done a good job, besides, sales were
coming in, so why worry?

The sales were coming in, however, from readers determined
to circumvent the worthless links and buy the books any-
way. How many sales did I lose from those that gave up
after hitting my ‘problem’ hyperlinks?

I was sick when I realized it!

Since then I’ve been a little more particular when I compose
pages, with what goes out in my newsletter (and I still slip
up), and the contents of articles that I submit to other
newsletters.

Yesterday, I received an emailed ‘proof’ from a newsletter
editor publishing one of my articles later in the week. Normally,
I’d have simply acknowledged the editor and got on with
my mail. I decided to read it through though and, sure
enough, the hyperlinks in the credits at the end were missing
and contained error messages in their places! I wrote back,
explained the problem, provided the corrections and thanked
him VERY much for the ‘proof’! He replied within hours with
the correction and we were happy campers again.

I thought it was interesting that I took the time I didn’t
THINK I had and checked it over. That’s all it took.

I will investigate unsolicited email that sparks my interest
but it is so frustrating to get fired up over a message and
want to get to the advertised web site, only to find that the site
is not up, ‘under construction’, or otherwise unavailable. I think
to myself that the author of that email might just as well have
flushed his investment in his time and money down the toilet
for all it did for him, and it all could have been avoided by
checking the little things like ‘details’… “Is the site finished?
Is it up on the server yet? Good, send the broadcast!”

I once read that most millionaires share a common
characteristic: they can account for practically every cent
they save, spend, invest, etc. They pay attention to details.

Do I still have errors out there? Probably, but less so…

…I’m selling more books now, anyway.

About the Author

Tom Cornwell is the publisher of the OraMedia site on
Dental Self Sufficiency (http://mizar5.com/omedia1.htm)
and the OraMedia Newsletter. Tom also handles printing
and graphics services in New York. Direct any correspondence
to: thomasc@exotrope.net or phone 607-739-5290.

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