7 Smart Ways to Trim Your Company's Budget

Richard Thalheimer, The Sharper Image
Michael Sugrue
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Move customer service to e-mail

Richard Thalheimer, founder of the great '80 retailer The Sharper Image, thinks it's time to say goodbye to phone orders. "In my new company, we have eliminated phone ordering," says the San Francisco based entrepreneur, referring to RichardSolo.com, the online gadget retailer he launched in 2008. "Customers can't buy over the phone even if they want to. Providing customer service over e-mail is not only cheaper--it's more efficient. It's hard to monitor phone calls, but with e-mail, you can quickly read all the customer comments."