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Communication with Customers Key in Times of Uncertainty

By Chris Dawson March 25, 2020 - 11:10 am

There is a lot of angst and confusion going on in the world right now, much of it leaving us uncertain about how our ecommerce businesses will fare over the coming weeks and maybe even months. The landscape is changing faster than ever before, specifically in regards to low inventory, supply chain challenges, consumer buying behaviours, staff shortages and shipping delays. It’s hard to control and difficult to plan for. What can you do now to preserve your customer relationships?

Communication with Customers

The one thing that you can control, even if your staff is working remotely, is timely and transparent communication with customers.

According to a recent ShipStation study, “85% of consumers need proactive and transparent communication, especially when it comes to delivery delays.” And if a package is delayed and there is NO communication, buyers say it will negatively impact their perception of the company.

Customers are also asking for longer return windows and more flexible refund / cancellation policies. In order to maintain a healthy brand, and hopefully, a healthy ecommerce business in the near future, it’s important to let your customers know what’s happening.

Communication with Customers: Recommendations

  • Create general auto-responders to let enquiries know you’ve received the message and give them a timeline to expect a human response. AND if you have something like updated Returns / Refund policies, talk about those as well. Be sure to let them know to expect a follow up email.
  • Create email templates for frequently asked questions. If you’re using a system like Replyco, you should be able to choose from your email templates, make any necessary adjustments and reply to a message.
  • Set SLA standards and automatically manage workflows so you’re able to respond to specific enquiries quickly

Combine use of auto-responders, email templates and automated labeling to improve overall response times and get some basic information out to your customers. One very important thing to remember is that even though an auto-responder has been sent, you should still respond directly to the incoming message.

Communication with Customers: Issues being addressed right now

  • Low stock, out of stock, expected in-stock dates
  • Changes in refund / return / cancellation policies
  • Anticipated shipping delays
  • Alternative product suggestions for out of stock items
  • Changes of hours or order processing times
  • Support availability

This seems like a lot, and it is. However, with the right configuration of Email Templates and Autoresponders, you can alleviate some of the message overload you’re experiencing and help maintain brand loyalty during a difficult time.

If you’d like more help, Replyco, a team-based helpdesk software for ecommerce sellers, is kick-starting a free, online series of workshops and webinars that will offer tips on using Replyco, case scenarios, customer support best practices and general insights from industry experts and partners in the eCommerce community. They currently have two workshops planned for March and April, but more will be coming. Registrants will get access to the workshops plus downloadable templates related to the topics discussed.

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