As your holiday shipping volumes go up, so do the possibilities that you will have to deal with customer complaints and feedback. There are so many things that can go wrong from the time a package leaves your facility until it is in your customer’s hands. Wrong addresses, stolen packages, and delayed deliveries can cause headaches for you and your customers. Don’t wait until you have a hopping-mad customer before you do something about it.
Define your shipping policieson your website and clearly display them on your shipping documentsto communicate how you will handle themost common shipping questions.
Start with a Shipping Policy Page
Create a page on your eCommerce site that includes information designed to reduce the need for your customer to contact you. The page can also alleviate concerns and help a customer gain confidence in placing their order with you.
Think through the process from the customer’s viewpoint. What is the first thing they want to know?
Shipping Options and Delivery Date
Once the item has shipped they want to know:
How to Track the Package
When a customer receives the item, they want to know:
How to Return It and What is Your Refund Policy
What if the package is Lost or damaged?
Steps to Take if Your Package is lost or damaged
Let’s dive deeper into these questions:
- Where is my Package?
The earlier you can provide shipping tracking status, the less your customers will worry about their order.
Add tracking shipment numbers to your post-shipping email communications as soon as possible to your customers. Allow your customers to enter the tracking numbers on your website page to find out exactly where their package is on its journey.
Many carriers provide access to their systems so you can display the status of any package shipped. Make it easy for your customers to self-serve for this information and save your organization time and resources.
- How To Return, Exchange and/or Get a Refund?
Your customers want to know:
What does it cost them to return an item? Set expectations, soyour customers are not surprised. If you offer free return shipping, which is almost expected for online sales, you can cement your relationship and remove a strong barrier to placing the order. If that is not economically feasible, clearly state what your policy is – exact-cost, flat-rate or no-charge.
Do you offer returns, exchanges or refunds?
Be very clear on your policy to prevent misunderstandings. They might not like your policy, but they should know before they buy what hoops they have to jump through to return something.
Many carriers will provide return shipping labels as a convenience to your customers. If your eCommerce site has the capability, you can send return labels from the order page. The easier you make it for your customer, the less the negative return efforts will remain in their minds.
Use any feedback that you receive as an opportunity to make improvements in your processes. Don’t take it personally, or make the customer feel guilty for returning a product. Your customer support person should be non-judgemental and friendly.
- Remedies for Lost Packages.
It may be your company policy to replace a lost shipment, depending on the shipping option chosen. If you are selling a high-costitem, it makes sense to insurethe value for both your own and your customer’s peaceof mind.
Amazon has found great success in replacing lost shipments for free. Consumers have confidence when they place their orders that they will have a pain-free resolutionif something happens to their package along the way.
The most effective policy is one that makes it painless for a customer to do business with you. Your customer service department can make or break your relationship with your customer. If your customer has a good buying experience, theywill likely be back to place more orders.
If you already have a standard shippingand returns policy, you are not subject to deciding each request individually and can be professional in the heat of the moment with an unhappy customer. Each interaction will be an opportunity to evaluate your policies and tune them to fit your customer’s buying patterns.
Malibu Commerce is a company devoted to empowering Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP users with a bullet-proof connection between “best of breed” Magento or Shopify and Microsoft Dynamics NAV/Business Central ERP, the most popular software on the planet.