If there’s one thing all eCommerce entrepreneurs dislike equally, it has to be customer complaints. While some customer complaints are entirely just, and are absolutely necessary to improving the performance of a company’s product or staff, it’s no secret that other complaints have little returning value, and are many times unjust.
While it may be ideal to believe that all people are patient and understanding, this has been proven not to be the case. When customers get frustrated, they will complain. If they believe they are having a less than tolerable experiences with a company, they will make their voice heard about it.
Unfortunately, many of these frustrations come from simple misunderstandings, and can grow into a real hassle for both the company and the customer alike. Because of this, it’s important to eliminate the chance of any frustrations before they happen, as this will reduce the chance of customer complaints to almost zero.
The idea is to meet customer expectation upon first impression, however shipping is one of the biggest areas for frustrations to arrive:
- Online stores should advertise accurate shipping, and the shipping times should be reasonable and reliable.
- Tracking numbers should be offered for online orders so that the customer can know for sure where their packages are, and when they can be expected. If there is any issue with the package being lost or damaged, the customer can know for sure that it was the shipping company at fault, rather than your business.
- Use a reliable shipping service. In order to prevent the situation stated above, work with companies who have been tried and true for many years with regard to eCommerce shipping. Companies like USPS and FedEx can be relied upon to successfully and safely deliver packages.
Be honest with product sizes, colors, descriptions, and photos. Customers will be frustrated if they receive a product that varies at all from the pictures on your site. Be sure to include photos that show your product to scale, so that customers will not be confused about the size of the product they are purchasing.
Finally, another way to prevent customer complaints before they arise is to have a website that works seamlessly. When customers can not get from point A to point B easily on your website, it’s understandable that they will become frustrated. It may seem straightforward for some advanced users, but it may be very difficult to somebody with less computer or online experience, which in turn could lead to a customer complaint. Make the process easy and reliable, and make sure your website is fast and responsive..
Unfortunately, despite doing everything right, customer complaints do sometimes arise. Luckily, there are some ways to effectively deal with customer complaints before they grow to a level that could cause problems:
- If there is a shipping error for a customer’s order, contact them about it. Offer to refund them for the price of the product or the shipping, and ensure that they will still receive their product. This is better than having an angry customer posting negative reviews on your website due to their poor experience with your shipping.
- Assume the customer is always right. Customers do not like to be accused of lying, therefore it is important to ensure that their frustrations are validated in order to best resolve the issue. Therefore, respond to customer complaints with an affirming attitude. Apologize for the experience they may have had, and offer them reparations. This will likely change their attitude about your company, and will lessen the chance of a negative review.
Alternatively, if there is no way you can help the customer in a certain situation, don’t be afraid to tell them you will not be compensating them for their experience. For example, if a customer complains about the change of a product packaging design, there is no need to compensate them because they don’t have a favorable opinion about a company’s change. This is not the same as if they received their broken product that wasn’t functional, and therefore should not be treated as such. Affirm the customer’s feelings, and assure them that you will keep their opinion in mind, but there is no need to compensate them because they don’t like something about your brand.