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Building Electronic Relationships 14

increasingly necessary for customer acquisition and retention, as well as

cutting costs (Rollinson, 2000).

Ecommerce is changing the marketplace. There are more publics than

ever. Customers have more choices, and expect even more in the future. They

also are highly desirous of a quicker pace in their receipts; this includes

information. The Internet can enhance public relations by providing a 24-hour

global resource for all stakeholders (Biland, 2000).

Integrating traditional PR with online communications can help to

personalize relationships with customers. Customer relationship management

should not focus on customer acquisition while neglecting existing customers.

Retaining customers can aid in the acquisitions of new ones; they can sing

your praises to like-minded publics (Robson, 2000).

The Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) provides a free

referral service for web site promotion. PR companies are in big demand by

Internet start-ups (Internet PR, 2000).

Email and the Internet can help public relations practitioners transmit

information more quickly, but these PR tools need to be carefully managed.

Messages should be clear and accurate. There should be a well-defined

subject and a means of feedback. Unsolicited messages can annoy the

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