Well, my E-Seller Mastery Mentoring Programme sold out 2 days early again this time around and I’m delighted to welcome all my new students on board. Exciting times are ahead and I’m so looking forward to working with everyone.
But back to normal business now and today I’d like to talk about something that is often overlooked. We all know we ‘should’ be doing it but I’m astounded how often sellers have it as a low priority….
How the simple act of giving excellent customer service can benefit you and your online store
Good customer service features highly on my list of important criteria when running a business. It’s something that every one of us really appreciates when we encounter it and it doesn’t matter whether you’re selling on eBay, Amazon, eBid, Etsy, your own website or any other online ecommerce venue, good customer services principles apply everywhere.
The important point here is that you can use your customer service skills to rapidly increase your positive feedback on ebay and Amazon as well as getting your customers to come back for more! So this week I’m providing you with three steps to follow every time you make a sale online. It will do wonders for keeping your customers happy.
1. Always dispatch items quickly
There’s nothing worse than waiting for absolutely ages to receive something that you really, really want! We are a nation of impatient people and, whilst your customers actually do understand that they may need to be patient whilst they wait for the postal service to deliver whatever it is that they’ve purchased from you, this often goes out the window when orders seem to take forever to arrive! So, as far as you can, you should try and make that waiting process as short as possible for your customers.
I’m always delighted when I order something from eBay to find that it arrives the very next day. Obviously if it’s an auction and it finishes during an evening then it would have to be two days before I could receive it, but even that speedy turnaround puts a smile on my face. Daily trips to the post office might not be the easiest option for you, but quick dispatch really is important to help you generate positive feedback.
If the items that you’re planning to post aren’t too large you can order your postage online through Royal Mail’s website. All you need is a printer and you can work through the website to create either labels or to print straight onto an envelope. You can see if this will suit your business here.
Just follow the on-screen instructions to decide what type of postage you want and input the relevant postage and payment details, along with the weight of your item. You can stick the label straight onto your package and, if it will fit, pop it in the post box or alternatively take it straight to your local Fast Drop Post Office Counter so that you don’t have to queue!
With services like this in place there’s no excuse not to dispatch goods to your buyers as soon as possible. No matter where you are selling your goods, there will always be some sort of option to let your customer know when their product has been dispatched. On eBay it’s simply a case of marking the item as dispatched within ‘My eBay’ and a similar process on Amazon. So make sure you update this as soon as you have posted the item or items so that your customer knows their order is on the way. If anything makes the waiting for a parcel worse, it’s waiting for it and not knowing if it’s actually been dispatched!
2. Prioritise customer service
Posting items quickly is one way to prioritise customer service within your online business, but there are other things that you can do to make your buyers feel appreciated. It’s primarily linked to communication. If a prospective buyer asks you a question, don’t wait for a week before responding; answer as soon as is possible – preferably within 24 hours. And provide as accurate a response as you possibly can.
I always state that I will respond to all emails and questions within 48 hours – just to cover myself as I receive a huge amount of emails daily – however I can honestly say that I have never waited 48 hours to reply to a question or query and usually respond within a couple of hours – unless I am on holiday or away from my office – in which case I set up an ‘Out Of Office’ automated response so that people know exactly when to expect a reply from me.
Staying in touch with your customers throughout the buying process is important, but don’t be so speedy that your responses are full of mistakes! Make sure that all of your communications are polite and free from errors. People don’t want to wade through a message filled with grammatical and spelling mistakes that make it hard to understand what you are saying! eBay’s messaging system is really useful; it clearly shows you when you have a message that needs replying to, and also sends an email when someone communicates with you through the website so that you don’t have to keep checking eBay itself.
Ok, so this might sound obvious, but another way to prioritise customer service within your business is to make a commitment to always be honest. It’s easy to tell a little white lie here and there about the quality of the item you’re selling or about what’s included within the package. But don’t be tempted!
You don’t need to go baring your soul to every customer, but letting them know for example that an item has a scratch on it or is imperfect is far better than not mentioning it – and will avoid possible problems further down the process. You can always frame a negative comment in a positive light to avoid putting anyone off an item, for example:
This photo frame does have a near-invisible 2cm long scratch on the rear but you wouldn’t notice it without knowing about it. The glass and front of the frame is completely free from marks.
From this simple paragraph a buyer can tell that you’re an honest seller. You’ve just let them know about a scratch that’s almost impossible to spot, so now they can feel confident that there won’t be any worse marks on the photo frame as you would have let them know. The paragraph also finished with a positive statement, letting buyers know that there are no marks of any kind on the front of the frame where it really matters.
3. Go the extra mile
A friend of mine once ordered some mini-table games from ebay. They were for guests to play during the reception of her wedding. She’d messaged the seller, asking for the size of the games to know if they’d be appropriate for the setting and had mentioned their use at her wedding. She was incredibly touched to receive a handwritten note contained within the order wishing her all the best for her wedding and her future married life, along with a thank you for the purchase.
This is such a simple gesture, and yet it made all the difference. My friend will almost certainly return to the seller should she ever need something similar. In fact she’s become a bit of a vocal advocate of the seller, passing on her recommendation whenever anyone is looking for something that they might stock!
One of my current items I have listed on eBay is aimed at women. So when I package up an order, I wrap it in pretty tissue paper within the mailing bag. Not only does it show that I care about the item and the customer, it’s also another little trick to encourage positive feedback. Not to mention the fact that a little something like this can make an otherwise ordinary product appear special!
In a world where we often don’t need to communicate with real people anymore, a small handwritten note expressing your thanks for the purchase can bring a smile to the face of your buyers. It’s always nice knowing that you’re dealing with a real person, and that personal touch can really help to increase the chances of receiving positive feedback.
So, going the extra mile in your own business could involve these personal touches, or it might simply mean ensuring that your products are packaged safely and securely. It could mean making a trip to the post office every day even though it’s out of your way, or it could mean answering some emails during the evenings to make sure that none of your buyers need to wait for a long time for a response to a question.
I’m sure you get the idea. This is a practice that I stick to and believe me it works. Work out what it means to go the extra mile in your business and your customers will always be happy. Positive feedback is so important on eBay and other retail websites, so putting your customer first will benefit them in that they’ll receive a great service – and benefit you in that you’ll receive a great feedback score. It’s a win-win situation!