Why Customer Service is So Important for Your Ecommerce Business

December 2nd, 2016 Comments off

stamps_customer-care

Take care of your shoppers and if you do it well, your shoppers will take care of you. How? Prompt and thoughtful customer service, regardless of the issue at hand, can mean the difference between a one-time buyer and a loyal repeat customer. Recent figures indicate that 82 percent of clients stop doing business with a company solely due to bad customer service, and 85 percent would pay more to ensure a better customer experience!

Clearly, shoppers are looking for more than great products—they want interactions with your store to be just as satisfying. What can you do to provide outstanding customer care? Here are a few ideas.

Honor every customer with a response

There can be no stupid questions if you want your products to sell and your store to thrive. Acknowledge all questions, complaints and compliments, even if it’s just a quick, “I’m working on getting a better answer for you right now” or “Thanks for taking the time to let us know!” 

Consider the pros and cons of a multichannel support

Different methods of customer contact may work better for your shop than others. For example, email is usually less time-consuming, while phone calls can feel more personal but may require extra manpower to keep up with demand. A dedicated call center system may relieve shop owners of this task but can lack the personal touch you’ve established for your business. Live chat and social media bring more tiers to the equation. Which can you and your team best keep up with? What works with your customer-service budget? See what your own favorite stores are doing, and listen to and log customer feedback on this issue to help you make the best choices. 

Make sure your entire team is on the same page in terms of customer service

If you have help in responding to customers, whether you have dedicated staff or use an outside vendor, establish ground rules about language, policies and approaches. 

Respect customers’ time

Often, customers will contact you for the same reason or with similar questions. Posting short videos on your site – for example, how to assemble a product or troubleshoot a known issue – makes it easy for customers to find answers on their own, and lets you focus on other business matters. Similarly, an effective FAQ page can prevent unnecessary calls as well as provide a handy place for referrals. 

Make social media work for you

If you haven’t already established dedicated business accounts on your preferred social media platforms, do it now. Your presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest can help connect you to customers. Be sure to post regularly and find ways to engage your followers in conversation, such as asking for product ideas or offering coupons. Do you shy away from negative feedback on social media? Turn that habit around now, because not responding is a turnoff for 88 percent of customers! Potential new customers might look at a company’s social media account to see how responsive the company is to customer support issues. 

Be positive about the negatives

The feedback that’s hardest to hear can be the most useful for your business. If your store hasn’t lived up to a customer’s expectations, take note of the problems and make changes immediately. If you follow up with the dissatisfied customer once the change is in place, you may have an opportunity to win back his or her business. 

Measure your customer service success

Keep detailed records of customer contact, response time, and resolution rates (how many calls or emails it took to resolve an issue). This data will help steer you toward the most effective ways to keep up a strong customer service program.

How To Offer Customer Service Through Your Order Fulfillment

June 15th, 2016 Comments off

sdc_ShippingStrategyCustomerServiceTo run a successful business, you need to have great customer service. While brick-and-mortar stores capitalize on the face-to-face communication we often associate with customer service, online businesses can still master the art of communicating with their customers – namely, through their shipping process. Here are five ways to master customer service by improving your shipping strategy.

1. Be clear about shipping expectations
Negative feedback is overwhelmingly related to issues associated with shipping. To hedge your bets and negate this, provide very realistic expectations for when an item should arrive. Be transparent, and explain the difference between shipping (when an item leaves your possession or warehouse to begin its journey to the customer) and delivery (when the package arrives on the buyer’s doorstep). During high-volume times like the holidays, provide a shipping time table that lets buyers see how soon they need to order packages to expect them by Christmas. Always try to get items to the Post Office the day the order was placed or within 24 hours, if possible. If and when packages show up early, buyers will be pleasantly surprised and more likely to leave positive feedback.

2. Include a custom packing slip
Marketplaces like Amazon have strict rules on how you can contact and interact with a buyer. The packing slip is a safe way to connect, and can help personalize the buying experience. Write a brief note within the packing slips thanking buyers for their patronage, letting them know that they are welcome to contact you, if necessary, and leaving the best method of contacting you. This will reassure buyers that you care, and that you’re just a phone call or email away should they need to reach out. The best packing slips I’ve seen also include a handwritten thanks with the signature of the employee that packaged my item. A reported 68% of customers will stop supporting a business if they feel that the company is indifferent towards them. Bring some humanity to the shipping experience and let buyers know you care.

3. Offer a discount for their next purchase
Discounts and coupons encourage repeat salesand demonstrate that you appreciate a customer’s business. As always, you must abide by each marketplace’s rules when offering discounts or coupons. It is legal to extend a discounted offer, but you cannot do so in exchange for positive feedback. A coupon for their next purchase may encourage feedback organically, but you can’t use it an as incentive.

4. Brand your packaging
The more you can make your buyers’ shopping experience stand out, the better. A 10-year study found that brands that can evoke an emotional connection with buyers can effectively charge up to 200% more than competitors. Branding your packaging will contribute to this. If you sell on your own website, you have free rein to package as creatively as you like. That said, you can still offer a unique experience on stricter marketplaces. After you have the appropriate packing materials, like bubble mailers or sturdy boxes, what can you add to set yourself apart from competitors and create a fun experience for customers? What unique addition would make sense with your brand persona? I recently ordered balloons from a small, party supplies seller on Etsy. When the package arrived, I opened the bubble mailer and confetti came out. It was fun, surprising, and totally consistent with the brand. Creating a genuinely fun shipping experience for me set this seller apart from her competitors, and demonstrated to me that she thinks about her customers from start to finish. I loved it, and I will definitely purchase from her again.

5. Make all returns free
We know not every seller is able to make free shipping work with their budget. Free, unconditional returns is a great alternative to offering unlimited free shipping, and benefits the customer and retailer alike. Here’s why:  a reported 49% of consumers believe shipping costs to be the most exasperating aspect of returning an item. Another 88% of consumers would rate free return shipping as either “important” or “very important” when making purchase decisions, and 82% of another test group affirm that they would complete an online purchase if the seller offers free return shipping. Making returns easy and free for the buyer is a great way to nail customer service and promote buyer trust. And if a buyer does make a return, they are more than likely going to shop from you again in the future, if your return shipping is free.

Offering exceptional customer service through your shipping process doesn’t just impress customers – it encourages future purchases, stewards repeat buyers and helps you win out over competitors. Get creative with branding, be generous with returns and communicate with buyers that you’re a reliable and considerate retailer. If you can nail this, you will reap the benefits. Happy selling!

ecomdash_logo_smallEcomdash is an award-winning multichannel inventory software for e-commerce retailers. It offers an end-to-end e-commerce solution to complete workflow, including inventory and sales order management, product listing, dropshipping and fulfillment management, reporting and more.

Stamps.com Gallery Grand Opening: The Art of Customer Service

September 9th, 2011 Comments off

There’s an art to providing award-winning customer service, and no one knows this better than the artists who work in the Stamps.com Customer Care department. Stamps.com recently held the first-ever annual art exhibit for employees, featuring original works by many talented artists who double as Customer Care Representatives. When they’re not helping Stamps.com customers, you’ll find them expressing their talents through various forms of art.

The Stamps.com Gallery was located in the company headquarters and allowed the Customer Care team to share their craft with fellow employees, which included acrylic painting, graphic design, photography, comic book art, knits, illustrations and more. And now we’d like to share the art of our Customer Care team with you! Please view the event photos below and enjoy.

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Spectators at the grand opening of the Stamps.com Gallery.

Seeking Serenity, color photography by Vince Yanez. Customer Care team member since October 1999.

Seeking Serenity, color photography by Vince Yanez. Customer Care team member since October 1999.

Stamps.com (Exterior), acrylic painting by Paul Morris. Customer Care team member since May 2003.

Stamps.com (Exterior), acrylic painting by Paul Morris. Customer Care team member since May 2003.

After-Burn, photograph and lighter mixed media by Gloria Smith. Customer Care team member since April 2009.

After-Burn, photograph and lighter mixed media by Gloria Smith. Customer Care team member since April 2009.

Between the Lines, acrylic on linen canvas by Dawn Stevenson. Customer Care team member since July 2007.

Between the Lines, acrylic on linen canvas by Dawn Stevenson. Customer Care team member since July 2007.

Wilbur I, silkscreen print on poster board by Hal Case. Customer Care team member since October 2006.

Wilbur I, silkscreen print on poster board by Hal Case. Customer Care team member since October 2006.

Tree Star, afghan by Nancy Nolasco. Customer Care team member since February 2009.

Tree Star, afghan by Nancy Nolasco. Customer Care team member since February 2009.

Homage to JFK, graphic design piece by Rich Grzesiak. Customer Care team member since February 2007.

Homage to JFK, graphic design piece by Rich Grzesiak. Customer Care team member since February 2007.

The Man Called Nova, comic book illustration by Jeff Hurst. Customer Care team member since March 2007.

The Man Called Nova, comic book illustration by Jeff Hurst. Customer Care team member since March 2007.

The World as I See It, photographic presentation by Melanie Victor. Customer Care team member since April 2009.

The World as I See It, photographic presentation by Melanie Victor. Customer Care team member since April 2009.

Ahoy, Matey! Stamps.com Customer Support Celebrates International Talk Like a Pirate Day

September 15th, 2010 Comments off

Update! Here are some pictures of Stamps.com’s Los Angeles-based Customer Support Team celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day.  More photos will be posted soon on the Stamps.com Flickr Page!

On September 19, 2006—ten years after the very first International Talk Like a Pirate Day (ITLAPD), Stamps.com’s Los Angeles based Customer Support team decided to get into the swashbuckling spirit of the day by decorating their cubicles and addressing each other by their pirate names.  Since 2006, Stamps.com’s celebration has grown each year.

According to Customer Support manager (and Pirate Captain) Vince, “Stamps.com started to observe International Talk Like a Pirate Day when some of the technical support and help desk mateys decided to celebrate back in 2006.  The first couple of years there were barely enough scurvy dogs to man a rowboat but we have steadily recruited men and women from all seven seas to proudly participate in our pirate adventures.”

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Chuck, Crys, Vince, Dawn, and Stacia from Stamps.com's Customer Support Team

Vince and Customer Care Director, Dawn

Vince and Customer Care Director, Dawn

Stamps.com's Nancy

Stamps.com's Nancy

More Stamps.com Customer Support Representatives

AAARRR! Paul, Nancy, Josh, Vince, Dawn, and Stacia from Stamps.com's Customer Support Team

Sound like an episode of The Office? Perhaps, but that’s what makes working at Stamps.com so much fun.  We don’t take ourselves too seriously.  We’re committed to serving our customers, and we have a good time while doing it!

So it’s only fair that this year’s celebration will be even more intense than the last four.  Participation in ITLAPD has expanded, and the entire company will mark the day by having a huge feast!  We’re going to hoist pirate flags, host a costume contest with prizes and throw a BBQ (courtesy of Pirate Captain and Grill-Master Vince) where we can eat some good smoked meats and drink root-grog as a crew.

Why We Like International Talk Like a Pirate Day

International Talk Like a Pirate Day started out as a joke between two friends.  During a racquetball game in 1995, one of them incurred a slight injury which caused him to yell out, “Aaarrr!” Both fellows found this extremely funny and started egging each other on to continue with the pirate-speak.  Every September 19, they celebrated with a few select friends and eventually their celebration became an internet phenomenon popular worldwide.

At Stamps.com, ITLAPD has become something for our Customer Support team to “band together and have fun doing so,” says Captain Vince.  Be sure to check back at our blog this Friday to see pictures from our parrrty!

 This is Buckaneer Drunken Toe, signing off.  Aaarrr!

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