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Building Electronic Relationships 11

technology available to them. “Web presence must be cohesive in order to

communicate a consistent message to stakeholders” (Watson, 2000).

Online communities are another resource for public relations. They are

formed when web sites are devoted to a particular subject. Estimates put their

number at upwards of 400,000. In addition, there are portals where

information can be disseminated. The specificity of these audiences is not to

be ignored. Targeting such a pure lot of receivers could prove advantageous,

if not invaluable. Light steps are necessary, though, when entering such a

realm. Professional communicators should take care not to offend the

established community members by stridently injecting their message. This

could cause a backlash, or perhaps the messages will be ignored, even

prohibited (Le Beau, 2000).

The overall focus should still be nurturing customer relationships. A

recent study by Andersen Consulting showed that these enhanced

relationships could boost the bottom-line (Bell, 2000).

Maximizing the capabilities of the Internet can be key to customer

retention. Web sites should be updated regularly to help ensure this. Valuing

customer relationships may also add to corporate profit (Rowsom, 2000).

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