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Whether you are a brand new online store owner or a seasoned ecommerce entrepreneur, creating awesome customer service experiences can give you a competitive edge when competing against much bigger brands with deeper wallets. In this blog post, we'll share seven tips that seven ecommerce pros use to provide great customer service to all their customers during the busy holiday season.
1. Invest in a detailed FAQ page.There's a good chance that you get the same couple of questions asked to you from customers week after week. Compiling these commmon questions into a living document on your site is not only a great way to deflect customer service emails, but also provides a better experience for all your customers, as they know where to look.Gina King, who runs VEPPO, takes this a step further with an entire FAQ section, including a top 10 list.
2. Create a detailed shipping and returns pageJust like an FAQ page, it's also a great idea to have a detailed webpage that outlines your shipping and returns policies. There's a chance a good chunk of your customer service questions have to do with either shipping or returns. At the minimum, this should include:
- Order shipping timelines (Ex: Overnight, 3 days, 7 days, etc)
- Guidelines around Free Shipping if you offer it in your store
- Any shipping costs that a customer might have to pay
- How to return an item
- What to do if an item is lost or you don't receive it
- An email or phone number to contact your store if they have any other questions
3. Manage customer expectations by including shipping timelinesIn addition to having a quality shipping and returns page, it's also a good idea to include shipping timetables and specific details on individual product pages. While this may seem counterintuitive—especially if you can't offer free shipping—this is a great way to manage customer expectations. Most customers won't mind if you tell them up front, especially if it's a made to order item.This is exactly what April does on her store, Rotation Dancewear, as she sells a lot of personalized, made to order dance apparel.
4. Tailor holiday promos and coupons to specific customer segments.Most shop owners create specific coupons or discounts to lure shoppers to their stores over the holiday season. However, rather than creating a blanket discount for everyone, Josh, who owns StoreYourBoard.com, recommends creating discounts tailored to different customer segments and/or personas. For example, you can email an exclusive coupon code for 20% off to all your repeat customers.
5. Include a personalized thank you note with every order.Big box stores simply don't have the bandwidth to create handwritten notes for all their customers. At least not at scale. As a small business owner, you should invest in the little things like handwritten thank you notes and custom, branded packaging. This may seem small, but it adds to the overall experience. After all, your customers first physical touchpoint with your product will be once it gets delivered. You want that to be special & memorable.
6. Acknowledge special customer requests.Many times, customers have special shipping instructions. This may seem pointless or a real pain. However, you are bound to get some special requests or packaging instructions from time to time. While you don't necessarily have to do exactly what they want, simply acknowledging it when packing and shipping the order can go a long way.This is no more apparent than when Colin, who runs Captain Chocolate, got a request from a concerned client about making their package possum proof. The customer was really concerned about a possum being able to get into the package and eat the specialty chocolate. While of course, there is no possum proof box, Colin acknowledged the request and drew a possum on the packing slip with an "X" over it.
7. Follow up with customers after they receive their order.Just because you ship the order doesn't mean your job's done. It's important to follow up with the customer about a week later. Ask them for their honest feedback and for a product review, if they are comfortable writing one.What additional things do you do for your customers to provide "Wow moments?" Share in the comments below.Watch our community hangout for more customer service tips from ecommerce entrepreneurs. Thanks to Gina from VEPPO, Josh from StoreYourBoard.com, Colin from Captain Chocolate, Day from MMA Top Supplies, Phillip from Green Munch, and Jacob from Uplifting Play for the tips!
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