Just because you’re running an internet business and not meeting your customers face to face, it doesn’t mean good service is unimportant. On the contrary, with so little to distinguish between so many faceless online operators, giving your customers something positive to remember you by is absolutely essential. But what can you do to make sure your customers recommend rather than forget you? Here are five ideas to give your business a boost!
1. Make sure they know what they’re getting
Buying online is not the same as buying in a shop: you can’t pick the item up, read the box, check the size or colour or ask the sales assistant for advice. Unless it’s a widely available product which people can find out about elsewhere, you’re going to be the only source of information they have. And, of course, if they have to go looking for information elsewhere, they’re just as likely to buy elsewhere – probably more so! Last but not least, make the description accurate, because if your customers don’t get what they’re expecting, they’ll just return the item. Then you really will be out of pocket, as you’ll not only have to refund the cost of their purchase, but you’ll still have to pay delivery charges both ways.
2. Offer them an incentive
People like to feel they’re getting a bargain – check the prices of your competitors and make sure you’re competitive; offer quantity discounts to encourage people to spend more; you could even give away a free gift with every order – it doesn’t have to be an expensive one, but it’s the sort of thing people remember!
3. Keep them informed
Make sure people know the status of their order at each stage of the process. Send an email to confirm you’ve received it, with an estimate of when you’re likely to dispatch their purchase. Send another email when you do dispatch, so they’ll know when it’s likely to get to them, also telling them whether they’ll need to be at home to sign for it.
4. Deliver to them safely and on time
You may not be making the actual delivery yourself, but you’ll still be held responsible if it goes wrong. Find a reliable courier that you can trust to make your deliveries on time and to treat your goods with respect. Good quality packaging materials are also important – even the most careful courier can’t guard against every eventuality. Going for the cheapest option in either case will nearly always be a false economy, because the money you’ve saved will soon be dwarfed by the lost sales and replacement costs incurred by a lost or damaged delivery.
5. Ask them to provide feedback
There are many places where your customers can tell the world about the service you’ve provided. If you’re selling on Amazon, for instance, you’ll probably already know what a positive effect a good rating can have on your sales. If you get a bad review, don’t ignore it – a well-handled complaint can make as good an impression as a perfect transaction, because it shows you care what your customers think. Other sites like Trustpilot are also good for generating positive word of mouth about your business, while social media sites allow you to engage with customers and let them know about new products and special offers.
About the Author: Dave Smith is lead copywriter and blogger at Davpack packaging suppliers. At the time of writing, Davpack has a lifetime rating of 96% on Amazon and a 97% rating on Trustpilot.