The right service approach builds a reputation in the first place, which is critical to any online business. When choosing a product, people pay attention not only to the advertisement or description, but also to the reviews. A low rating is alarming and a high one tunes in to trust. Satisfied customers do not always share their experience online, but they go to the store again and recommend it to their friends. Losing their loyalty cuts off a significant chunk of profits.
According to NewVoiceMedia, companies in the United States alone lose $62 billion each year due to poor service. In modern realities, a person will not tolerate the mistakes of the seller and will simply move on to another. In most cases – silently, so you do not even know how you lost your competitive advantage and what needs to be fixed. Therefore, it is necessary to control every stage of order fulfillment: application processing, communication, picking, packaging and delivery. Read more about how this affects the quality of service below.
What is customer experience and why is it important?
It is easier to convince a person to buy something than to completely satisfy them with the purchase. Service impressions can be positive, neutral, or negative. They create customer experience (CX) – the end result of the consumer’s interaction with the store which determines their future relationship. Influence it in the right way so that people leave good reviews, reach out to your brand again and bring friends.
CX depends on many factors: correct advertising, user-friendly website, communication with support, order processing speed, fast delivery, product quality, consistent and beautiful packaging, bonus system, brand positioning. Developing online businesses transfer the organization of these moments to contractors and can make the main mistake – no control over their diligence. As a result, this leads to the loss of customers and reputation.
What do customers expect from an online purchase?
The store must correctly form and meet the customer’s expectations and ideally exceed them. To do this, first of all, you need to soberly look at your advantages and disadvantages and also work with them correctly. If the fabric of the T-shirt is made of budget synthetic materials, do not describe it on the website or in advertisements as hypoallergenic and breathable. Otherwise, you will not avoid disappointment. Instead, focus on durability, rich color, elasticity and bending resistance.
Define delivery times honestly, make it possible to track its stages and send notifications by contact information. The customer expects to receive the parcel within the specified date, especially since their plans may depend on this. For example, they may order a gift for a friend’s birthday. A delay of even one day would be a problem.
The main thing is, of course, the product itself. It must match the description and be fully packed. If you offer a “Prince with a Horse” toy, the little princess will be upset if there is no rider in the box or if he has any damage. The packaging itself is also important. If it is crumpled or torn, it will raise fears: “Was my purchase neglected? Is everything in order with the goods?”. Next time the customer will think twice before buying something from you.
These are the main expectations of each customer, it is better to approach them individually.
How to increase customer loyalty when fulfilling an order
To bring the goods on time and in one piece is a necessary minimum for any honest seller. This is not enough to bypass the competition and become the leader. Be better, do more. We have prepared eight tips to help you deal with this.
- Anticipate customer requirements.
Salesforce conducted research and found that 73% of customers expect the store to know exactly what they want. And 52% threaten to switch to another brand if the interaction with them is not personalized. You do not need to be a psychic to do this as marketing research is much more reliable. Segment your target audience, find its problem and offer a solution. Aged women are not interested in anti-acne cream, but a remedy with a lifting effect would be perfect. Surely they will be pleased to receive a discount on their birthday and free samples with other cosmetics suitable for them. Also, your store may be remembered by its name, individual offers, attentiveness of operators who process orders and respond to messages.
- Provide uninterrupted service.
Often on weekdays, from morning to evening, people are busy with work. They make planned and spontaneous purchases on weekends, when they have rested, slept and are in a good mood. An unpleasant moment awaits them here – the store does not accept orders or the manager responds too slowly. The longer the wait, the more interest fades away and irritation builds up. It is the same with delivery. Even if a person is in no hurry, they are more likely to overpay an insignificant amount, but will choose the product that will arrive faster. Therefore, it is important to ensure uninterrupted operation 24/7 even during the holidays.
- Highlight the characteristics of your brand.
What makes iPhones unique? The bitten apple logo on the lid. The first thought that comes to mind at the sight of such a smartphone is a prestigious gadget from Apple. The brand is selling. Even if you offer regular nails and the budget is not designed for global marketing campaigns, you can always stand out from the competition, find or come up with your own characteristics. This is what Tide did. The company was not only the first to change the formula of the powder, but also made the box orange-blue. At the time, no laundry product used such vibrant colors and customers immediately noticed it. A brand can be distinguished by design, unusual advertising, unexpected advantages, thoughtful positioning in the chosen style. Are your nails made of stainless steel? If your building materials were used to build a landmark or celebrity home, indicate that. People buy what they think is special, even if it is not.
- Expedite your packing and shipping.
Companies try to make delivery as fast and cheap as possible and some offer it for free. People are used to such conditions and expect them from all shops. Customer loyalty must offset the cost of good service. To optimize your packing and shipping speed, follow these tips:
- Automate warehouse operations. For example, with the help of modern equipment, in-house transport and conveyor belts.
- Organize storage facilities using warehouse management systems.
- Put barcodes – scanners reduce errors and paperwork.
- Use cross-docking – receiving and shipping goods directly, without long storage in a separate place.
- Reduce your overhead costs.
Overhead costs are rent, personnel, depreciation, equipment, marketing, utilities and legal fees. Reducing these costs will reduce the cost of running your online business. To achieve this, it is necessary to optimize management and organizational processes, automate work, avoid equipment downtime, eliminate seasonality, increase production capacity and use consumables more economically. The freed up funds can be invested in scaling or in specific needs of the store.
- Maximize order visibility and accuracy.
It should be easy for the customer to interact with an order that has already been placed. It will be good if they can track the movement of their purchase on the map. This will generate more trust and understanding. Better to add the ability to change the place of arrival of the parcel. The customer may need to urgently go to another city or go to the place where the cargo will pass. Notifications via social networks or SMS are important – a person can forget about their order. Also, an opportunity to contact the courier directly will not be superfluous.
- Optimize your support desk.
Operators communicating on behalf of the store must be competent, courteous and prompt. It is better that support can be contacted in different ways: mobile phone, mail, all popular social networks and instant messengers. The link button and contacts must be clearly visible on the site, otherwise they may not be found.
The quality of service should be monitored by top managers and periodically audited. Give people an opportunity to evaluate the work of the operator, not the product, and carefully follow these reviews. For greater reliability and objectivity, you can use the secret customer method. Do not forget to motivate and train managers to work better, reduce the load with autoresponders and chat bots if possible, eliminate overwork. A satisfied operator will try harder and be friendlier.
- Work with a reliable 3PL order fulfillment company.
Contractors who are responsible for fulfilling orders and managing stock must be verified and accountable. Of course, an agreement on the order of work is drawn up, but you may not be able to keep track of the poor quality of logistics. Read reviews, consult with experts and check the fulfillment operators personally – this way you will be convinced of the reliability of the 3PL company.
According to McKinsey, improving customer experience increases revenue by 15% and cuts service costs by 20%. In addition, customer loyalty affects a number of other factors. Therefore, it is very important to properly organize the order fulfillment process. After all, not only the quality of service depends on this, but also the entire profit of the online business.