While being one of the areas of eCommerce, dropshipping has its own unique specifics, which reflect on the way its customer service should be provided, too. Dropshipping means maintaining an online store while having no stock as such. You offer third-party products that are going to be shipped by their manufacturers or wholesalers.
It may seem convenient and straightforward, with no logistics to take care of. True, but since your business is the one customers interact with, you are going to be on the receiving end of their claims and complaints if something goes wrong.
Considering the specifics of dropshipping commerce, there are certain customer service techniques that we recommend you pay attention to in order to ensure a high customer satisfaction rate.
Poor customer service can cost you much more than the direct costs you may face in refunds and compensation. It may also impact your brand image and reputation, as, statistically, a customer who has had a negative experience tells twice as many people about it as a customer who has had a positive one.
As you cannot influence either the production or the shipping directly, it is of the utmost importance to provide excellent customer service at your online store. Service quality may be the factor that tips the customer loyalty scales - 80% of customers believe that service is as important as the product that the company offers.
To make sure your dropshipping business creates positive customer experiences, try to implement the following best practices.
Use Efficient CRM Software
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is one of the core concepts of customer service. Today, CRM software combines most of the customer-facing activities - marketing, customer database maintenance, data gathering, support, feedback collection - under a single umbrella, allowing streamlined CRM.
An effective CRM platform not only provides you with powerful data management and analysis opportunities, but also allows your customers to reach out to you for assistance and support. In a dropshipping business, the ease and convenience of customer communication is often the key factor.
Implement Multi-channel Communication
It is important to give customers the opportunity to contact you in a way that is convenient for them right there and then. It is even more important to ensure that their inquiry is acknowledged, handled, and responded to as soon as possible. 46% of customers expect to get an answer within four hours, so it’s best to set up communication in a way that allows for a quick response and resolution.
For the best service, offer multiple communication channels. Create a dedicated email address for customer contact and include it in all your newsletters and announcements, as well as on your website. A good practice is to integrate this email into your CRM to enable support ticket creation from customer emails. Many marketers attend email marketing conferences like MailCon to learn more tricks and tips on implementing email marketing best practices in multi-channel communication.
In addition, maintain telephone communication using a toll-free number to allow customers to talk to live agents. Although most customers prefer texting over calling, there are still many that like to talk to "real people." In this case, it's essential to choose a reliable telephone service to make customer communication smooth and effective all the time.
Last but not the least, think of integrating live chat into your CRM platform. An effective chat app can provide the communication speed that customers desire while also allowing for a variety of features that will aid in the resolution of the customer's issue, such as link- and file-sharing and image upload.
Add an FAQ Page to Your Website
Set up a smart FAQ page to provide answers to questions your customers might frequently ask you. In an eCommerce business, those are most often related to delivery and shipping conditions, return and refund procedures, billing and claims.
In dropshipping, almost all of your customers will want to know which delivery provider you use, whether free delivery is available, how long it takes, how and when they can return a product, and how they will receive a refund.
Format all this information as Q&As, making it easy to find a specific answer. Make your answers as clear and simple as possible, and always try to provide complete information on each subject. Also, don’t forget to update your FAQs if any terms or conditions change.
If you make your FAQ page easily visible, it may reduce the load on your customer service team, as many typical inquiries will be resolved by customers themselves.
Build Smooth Customer Experiences across their Entire Journey
Customer satisfaction and retention are heavily influenced by the ease and convenience of your eCommerce website; 74% of customers will consider switching to another brand if their experience is too difficult and inconvenient.With the abundance of online stores on today’s market, customers will not waste their time trying to figure out a non-intuitive website. They will just close the page and move on to your competitors.
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To prevent customers from leaving, make sure the user journey you create is as smooth and clear as possible. Test it before opening your web store trying to answer the basic questions: Is product search convenient? Is the information complete? Is the checkout flow intuitive and secure?
Even when you are satisfied with your user flow, continue monitoring your customers’ behavior when they visit you. Such monitoring will help you identify points where customers might need help and where they tend to leave your website. Based on these observations, you can place live chat prompts strategically to help visitors as they browse, and set up triggered messages, for example, abandoned cart reminders.
Maintain Detailed Product Descriptions
In online sales, out of all product returns, 22% are returned because "the product looks different". It means that there is nothing wrong with the product quality, the customer was happy with their web store experience and product delivery, but what they received was not what they were buying.
To minimize such returns, ensure that your product descriptions are as accurate and up to date as possible. Provide as many details as you can to create the most complete picture of the product. Add quality photographs showcasing it and displaying the item from several angles.
By providing a detailed description with clear images, you are helping to build the customer’s confidence that they are about to buy what they need. In this case, the chances of the purchase resulting in a return are reduced. Needless to say, if something is out of stock or the product characteristics have changed significantly, make sure to update the description as soon as possible.
Be Proactive in Handling Customer Issues
In dropshipping, it is critical to be very quick in resolving any issues which means that you need to be in constant contact both with your customers and with the vendors and delivery providers. Even if you do not handle the inventory and perform the delivery, it’s your task to coordinate it and resolve any related problems.
If, for example, the ordered product happens to be out of stock, try to find it with an alternative vendor. If the product cannot be found, contact the customer as early as possible and, preferably, in person. Of course, such situations are best avoided altogether by updating the product catalog, but in the worst-case scenario, maintain personal communication via phone or in a messenger app.
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If the customer’s order is delayed, reach out to the vendor and find out the reason and the estimated time of delivery. Contact the customer immediately with this information. While you cannot speed up the process, you might still maintain the customer’s trust in you.
In dropshipping, you are going to have your share of returns, too. There may be various reasons, but you need to handle such requests while trying to retain the customer. To begin with, you need to align your return policy with that of your vendor, because, at the end of the day, it’s the vendor who is going to accept and replace the returned item.
In the case of a return, ask the customer for the reason and pass it on to the vendor. Whatever the reason may be, you always need to act quickly and proactively so as not to lose the customer’s trust.
Follow up with Customers and Analyze Feedback
Ask customers for feedback following every sale you make. If everything went well, ask about their experience to show that you value their opinions and to identify any small issues that you had never noticed before. If there were any issues, the customer's feedback may help you find ways to prevent them in the future.
You can ask for feedback in more than one way. Invite the customer to rate their experience or ask them to provide a review. However, avoid reaching out for feedback via phone or messenger. These methods of communication are more intrusive and can put the customer under pressure. Rather, send an email to which the customers can respond at their convenience.
Customer service is one of the keys to success when you practice dropshipping. Being the intermediary between customers and vendors, you facilitate the sales and purchases, create great customer experiences, and, ultimately, help customers enjoy the products.
With no stock or delivery facilities, best customer service is the most beneficial thing to increase high conversion rate. So use our tips to make it truly exceptional!