Online business advertisement: Implications and prospects
The Internet is a virtual public space from which business practices can be observed and evaluated. On Saturday, March 11, 2023, I explored a commercial website for a household item, for competitive bargaining purposes. I saw the advertisement below:
“Electrician By *Profession GHȼ 400” Make an offer call.
The wrong spelling hit me like a bullet; my immediate reaction was: “Who will trust an artisan who cannot even spell right, his vocational status? Is the price stated for an initial consultation, a flat fee or just a lure? Electricians charge by workload, so a flat fee would be a disservice. Eerie ambiguity! I had to live with my confusion. So, I hit the tab and got further plummeted by the profile below:
“I am a professional and a certified electrician, and I am an expert in the following: *house wiring *maintenance *fault tracing *miter installation *and many more services, you can call me for any kind of service thank you” [sic]
Yankonami (pseudonym) Repair
COMPANY NAME TYPE OF SERVICE
Home Visit Yes
SERVICE FEATURES ROUND THE CLOCK SERVICE [sic]
Searchers seeking an expert get an “expect” for the advertised services. The “expect” can trace faults, yet missed the correct path to the meter. The ensuing punctuation mishap and the sacrificed capitalisation capped my bleeding. The jack-of-all-trades jab at the tail end dazed me completely, and the subsequent mismatched columns completed my numbness.
It did not surprise me at all that there had been no responses to the self-advertisement. It often escapes people that the Internet contains legitimate and porous information; diligent ones use correctness for authenticity. Additionally, business correspondence represents the sender as well as the business. A poorly prepared document such as the one above indicates carelessness and poor attention to detail.
Subsequently, it repels rather than engenders potential trust for the business.
Yankonami ought to know that the self-defeating advertisement markets neither artisan nor business. Currently, one way of spotting scammers is the writing and language errors they commit in their submissions. Yankonami might be a genuine electrician but fails to show it. A flawless advertisement can be a real seller of business.
Before Yankonami, I had come across the item I was seeking and the caption that the seller, Dinaje (pseudonym), responds to inquiries within minutes. The feedback line had positive comments. A buyer affirmed that Dinaje delivered on time. That was good enough for me.
I inquired about the availability of the advertised item, and lo and behold, I got feedback within five minutes that it was available. I inquired about delivery schedules. The seller replied that it could be sent that day. I chose Monday, the 13th.
Monday morning, Dinaje called to confirm my purchase, because customers can default. I confirmed. When the seller called again, she linked me to the cargo agent. I was told about the charges and the expected arrival time of the parcel. The conversation assured me that I had the item, and the agent would deliver it to the chosen destination. I made an electronic payment transaction.
On Tuesday morning, Dinaje called to inquire whether I had picked the item. I had not. The seller called the agent to verify the parcel status, then called back to inform me that without a picture ID, I would not be given the parcel. I was touched that Dinaje was not just interested in my money but cared about my customer well-being. When I received the item, I relayed the information to the seller.
In a space of four days, we had developed a business relationship based on mutual consideration and had agreed to transact business in future. The global Tourism Industry advocates that “the customer is king”. Well, Dinaje made me feel like a queen, so I will buy from the business again and gladly recommend the best practices.
I use the experience to stress that online business is a legitimate thriving alternate to physical shops. However, patronage is no fluke. Integrity, diligence, authentic products, swift service delivery, and genuine customer care ensure sustainable patronage. Such business qualities effectively resist all negative forces and withstand economic downturns.
Many businesses in Ghana are flouting due to poor attitude and service, but such blame others rather than improve upon practice and service delivery. Customers are the lifeline to any business. It is intriguing, indeed, that the attitude of many
Ghanaian businesses indicates ignorance about that basic fact. Despite financial woes and myriad complaints, there is proof that ethical businesses continue to enjoy good patronage. A good (online) advertisement is healthy for a business, but the ultimate goodwill emanates from authentic products and ethical dealings. Businesses do well to focus on excellent delivery.
The writer is a Sr. Lecturer, Language and Communication Skills
Takoradi Technical University