Offer Clear Communication And Proactive Solutions To Retain Customers

Polar bearEver wondered what’s actually going through your customers’ mind when they visit your web store and decided to buy from you? Maybe as a seller, we tend to think we know what our customers want and have tried our level best to offer them what we think they are looking for. I never knew how frustrated I could get with online stores until I started buying online from some of them. Let me just relate some of my experiences to you. I won’t mention any store names here.

Shipping Took Ages

Bought a plastic product. Shipping was supposed to take only 2 weeks (maximum time frame). When did the actual product arrived? Nearly one and a half months later! It probably went for a tour around the continent. What got me frustrated was the fact that I did not know where my stuff was because the seller forgot to put any tracking on it (even after I had requested for tracking). Ever come across this situation? I hope that most of you who are selling products offer your customers the option to add tracking to their products (if you haven’t done so) and to show clearly how much tracking will cost. That will at least put them at peace so they will know where their items are.

Wrong Item Sent

Second scenario, bought a pair of shoes. Image and description clearly shows what the item was. Paid for it. Took a month to arrive (again, maximum time frame was only supposed to be 2 weeks). Reason for the delay? Seller took their own sweet time to approve the order. And even after approving the order, for some mysterious reason they again took their own sweet time to ship out the items. Emails went unanswered for several days. There was also no tracking provided even after I had requested for it in the initial stage. Did I receive the actual product as shown and described on their website. Nope. Different product. By then I was too frustrated to even bother contacting them any more about it.

Don’t Want International Business?

Here’s a third scenario. Wanted to buy some hardware products online from a reputable hardware company. Selected the items, placed the order and paid for the stuff. Automated email came back showing confirmation of order. Few days went by and was wondering when I would get my stuff. Contacted the company and guess what? The order was not processed as the payment was pending. Now why would the payment be pending? No one knew. A few more phone calls and finally someone in the customer service did some checking and came back saying that the order could not be processed because they could not accept payment from international credit cards. Mind you this was 3 days after I had made the purchase online. This got me thinking. For a huge reputable company that does not accept international credit cards and did nothing about it until the customer had to keep calling to find out where their stuff was is rather…appalling.

Customer Service Needs Improving With Proactive Solutions

Would I buy from these sellers again? The answer would be a definite ‘no’ if I can help it. Customer service was clearly not their priority. I hope that those of you who are selling make the time to engage your customers and find out what they like and dislike when it comes to buying stuff from your stores. Because it’s experiences like these that put customers off from wanting to buy from online businesses.

The least these online businesses could have done would be to let customers know what was going on and be more proactive in engaging their clients. If you don’t accept international credit cards, just put it up clearly (it’s like saying you don’t want any international business). And being a little proactive to contact the customer and letting them know the status would have gone a long way rather than to have customers come chasing wondering where their purchases are only to be told that nothing was done. There was no proactive alternate suggestions to solve the problem which resulted in future loss business.

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Remember to make it a point to proactively contact your customers and offer alternate solutions to help them do business with you. While InstanteStore has an abandoned cart feature which will show you a list of customers who did not complete the checkout transaction, it’s up to store owners to engage customers.

Communicate clearly with your clients. Offer them alternate solutions. The market is huge. If you can meet what customers are looking for in terms of product and service, the sky’s the limit. Let me end on a positive note. I came across a few online sellers once who mention that they ship only within the States. A few short emails to them and they were more than happy to do international shipping and I got my products. Be open to what your customers are looking for. Service them well and they will definitely recommend you to their friends. Happy selling!




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