Business owners will agree that customer service is vital to the success and growth of their businesses — and these days, “customer service” refers to a lot more than fielding phone calls, answering questions, and resolving disputes. There’s the entire customer experience to think about as well, from initial interaction to point of sale to follow-up engagement to (hopefully) repeat business.
In the case of online retail — especially on Amazon — buyers expect to find what they need at a price they can afford and with fast shipping. And above all, they want to trust that they’re making the right buying decision.
To ensure your customers have the best shopping experience at your storefront, we compiled five things you shouldn’t do. Here are 5 common customer service mistakes — and how to avoid them.
1. Ignoring Customer Complaints
Customer complaints are inevitable, and it’s how you respond to them that builds trust from your customers. The worst decision you can make here is to do nothing — even if the complaint cites something that isn’t true, your customers want to feel like they’re being heard.
So instead of ignoring complaints and negative reviews, respond to them in a timely fashion. For example, if a negative review cites an inaccurate product description, evaluate your listing to make sure the photo and language exactly match the item you’re selling, then make any and all necessary changes. Bonus points if you follow up with the customer who left the review to thank them for pointing out the error and to let them know it’s been corrected.
And if a customer submits a disputable complaint, ask if they want to chat further about their experience. You could develop a canned response for these types of situations that goes something like this: “Hi [Name], We’re sorry to hear you aren’t happy with your purchase. We’re committed to customer service and really value your feedback. If you’d like to discuss your experience further, please email us at [email address here].”
Pro Tip: Creating canned responses for common customer service situations will make your management of them easier. Spend an hour or two developing a script so you don’t have to spend too long on each individual complaint or question.
2. Letting Your Inbox Pile Up
Your customers — and potential buyers — can contact you at any time about an order or to ask a question about a product. The last thing you want to do is let these messages pile up and go unanswered.
Not responding could lead to a customer leaving a negative review or a potential buyer not making a purchase. To prevent either scenario, block your calendar for one hour every day to go through your Buyer-Seller messages. If you’re just starting out, give yourself some time to determine the most common questions, then create an FAQ document with canned responses that you can refer to as you go through your inbox.
3. Not Asking for Feedback/Reviews
Managing feedback on a reactive basis is a great way to gauge your customer service and satisfaction, but you shouldn’t stop there. Be proactive about it by also soliciting reviews and feedback from your customers. The benefits here are two fold.
First, it gives you the opportunity to build up your performance rating. Second, it builds trust with your customers by humanizing the buying process for them.
To do this, send auto-emails to your customers after they’ve received their orders asking how they like their item(s), if they have any questions for you, and whether they’d be interested in leaving a review (don’t forget to include a review link for them to make it easy). Then sign your name — it’s a great personal touch.
4. Charging Too Much For Shipping — Or Taking Too Long
As we stated earlier, buyers expect fast, free shipping — especially when they are shopping on Amazon where Prime free two-day shipping rules. If you charge for shipping or have a several day delivery window, you should expect some shoppers to find what they’re looking for from another storefront or from Amazon directly.
5. Relying Too Much On FBA
If you’re an FBA seller, you don’t have to manage customer complaints, orders, or returns. But that doesn’t mean you’re off the customer service hook entirely. Be mindful of how you’re engaging with your customers in other areas. If customers submit product questions, make sure you respond in a timely manner, since Amazon’s customer service team will not be managing these product inquiries. And set up an email campaign per #3 above.
All in all, to ensure that your customers have a positive buying experience, confirm that your product descriptions are thorough and accurate, make sure all of your policies are clear (such as shipping and returns), engage your customers, and always, always, always listen to them.
What other customer service mistakes have you solved for? Tell us on Twitter at @getpayability.