When it comes to dropshipping, customer service can be make-or-break for your business. After all, happy customers are more likely to return and make repeat purchases on your online store.
In this guide, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about providing excellent customer service to run a successful dropshipping business. We have you covered, from common issues that customers may encounter to responding to negative reviews! Let’s get started.
Why does customer service matter so much?
Customers are the lifeblood of any business. They are what keep a company afloat and allow it to grow.
Good customer service is key to retaining customers to an online business. Companies do this to show that they care about their customers and wants to ensure that they are happy with their purchases. They also build trust, which is important for long-term relationships.
On the other hand, poor customer service can drive away customers and ruin a company’s reputation. It makes customers feel unimportant and disregarded, which is the last thing anyone wants from a business transaction. Customers experiencing poor customer service are much less likely to make another purchase in the future.
So, in short, customer service matters because it can make or break a business’s success.
The different types of communication channels you can use.
There are several types of communication channels that you can provide customer service as a dropshipping business owner. Let’s go over each of them and look at the advantages and disadvantages:
Customer support team:
If you have money to invest in your dropshipping business, setting up a dedicated customer support team is an option that might work for you. People willing to work in a call center environment are usually paid hourly, which means you need to have the funds to pay them.
The advantage of this type of customer service is that you can be available 24/7 for customers who have questions about their orders or products. You don’t have to wait until the next business day to answer your customers’ questions.
In addition, you should be ready to deal with complaints coming in at odd hours. And because everyone works on an hourly basis, your company will have to pay the customer service team even when there are no orders to process.
Live chat is a relatively cheap option for your dropshipping store if you don’t want to hire a dedicated customer support team (and can deal with a reduced response time).
Many dropshipping businesses offer this feature on their websites, and it’s one of the most popular ways to provide customer service for eCommerce businesses.
The main benefit here is that you can have multiple representatives available at any time to help your customers. However, just like with a customer support team, you’ll need to have enough funds available to pay for the cost of live chat.
An email is an ideal option for companies that don’t want the additional costs of hiring a dedicated customer support team and using live chat software.
Don’t get me wrong; you’ll still need to have funds available for email responses. But because it’s an asynchronous channel, your customers can use it at their convenience. And since there is no pressure from a live chat representative or somebody waiting on the other end of a phone call, they will be more likely to provide honest feedback and constructive criticism.
It will take longer for your customer service team to respond to questions, which can be a pain if you’re dealing with an influx of inquiries. To handle the number of regular emails, you’ll need to ensure that you have enough employees.
Using social media:
You can use social media channels to reach your target audience for eCommerce business. And by offering customer service on those channels, you can turn potential customers into valuable consumers.
Social media is beneficial because you have complete control over the messages that you send out. It’s easy to personalize your responses and tailor them accordingly to each customer. You might have to put in a little more effort to craft your answers this way, but it will be worth the results.
As a negative side effect, you will have to monitor each channel throughout the day to answer customers who contact you on social media. And if your target audience mainly uses Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc., you’ll have to keep up with the latest trends and use the appropriate channels.
Self-service provides customers with information about products and services through external resources, such as FAQs. It can be helpful for common questions that customers might have, but it won’t be beneficial if inquiring minds are looking for something more substantial.
If you plan to use self-service touch points, you should ensure that they are easy to find and your customers know where they can find their answers. In order to accomplish this, several methods can be employed, including product labels, email signatures, etc.
What makes a customer support team successful?
Now that you know what types of communication channels you can provide customer service, we should look at what makes a good customer support team or representative.
First and foremost, your representatives need to be customer-focused. They should approach problems from your customer’s perspective and provide solutions accordingly.
High level of empathy
Your support representative also has to have a high level of empathy. Customers who are unhappy need to be acknowledged and find a solution as soon as possible.
Multitasking is another characteristic that your customer service team should have. Your representatives must juggle multiple conversations simultaneously and promptly provide satisfactory responses to each customer.
You also want your reps to be available. Customers will get frustrated and leave bad reviews or switch allegiances altogether if they’re not around. Consider this when determining the number of representatives your business should have.
Since your support team will be handling complaints, they also need to be knowledgeable about product information and processes. This way, they’ll be able to answer common questions without having to transfer customers to somebody else who might know more.
Last but not least, a customer service team needs to be flexible. Your reps should adapt their language and tone according to their contact customers. An angry or upset person might need to be handled differently from somebody happy and satisfied with your products or services.
How to provide excellent drop-shipping customer service
The first step to providing excellent customer service for online stores is knowing your target audience and how they like to communicate. It’s also essential to understand the typical challenges and common grievances your customers might face in online marketplace.
You can use customer surveys to get feedback and identify areas where you need to improve. And if you’re using self-service resources, then your customers might even fill out these surveys on their own!
For example, let’s say that a customer is having issues locating the size button on your dropshipping website and asks for directions via social media. You could respond with something like.
“We apologize for the inconvenience. Please go to our FAQ page, there is a link to our sizing chart as well as a live chat option where one of our representatives should be able to help you out.”
While this would resolve that customer’s problem, it wouldn’t provide enough context to improve your site(s) going forward. You could also respond with something like.
Thanks for contacting us. We apologize for the inconvenience. If you go to our FAQ page, there is a link to our sizing chart as well as a live chat option where one of our representatives should be able to help you out.”
And then follow up with a survey asking customers how you could improve your site. Based on the responses, your customer service team can then take appropriate action to resolve similar issues in the future.
Product reviews are another excellent resource for identifying support challenges and gauging customer satisfaction. They’re also helpful if you’re running some loyalty program that gives you the chance to win a free item in exchange for leaving a review.
For example, let’s say that you’re offering a limited-time-coupon, and one of your customers has just received an email with their promotional code. They can then go on your site or app, find the product they want, add it to their cart, and then checkout to acquire that freebie.
However, if they reach the payment page and don’t see a place to enter a coupon code, they might get frustrated and abandon their order since it’s not 100% clear how to receive their discount. It increases the likelihood of them leaving bad reviews or going directly to your competitors to shop instead.
In this case, your customer service reps should be able to step in and provide a solution. This might include.
“Thank you for reaching out to us about this! We apologize for the inconvenience. The coupon code is only applicable on our website, and that particular page isn’t visible on mobile devices. However, if you go to this page on your laptop or desktop, you’ll be able to enter in your promo code for the discount. We hope you enjoy shopping with us!”
Follow up with that customer and ask for a review of their experience. Most customers will readily provide that information since they’ve just had one of their problems solved and now feel more confident about your company.
Can’t provide a solution?
If you’re unable to provide a solution, offer to forward the question to somebody who might be able to help. Politely lets them know that you’ve heard their concern and are taking it seriously, but since you don’t know the complete answer, you want to make sure they get a response from somebody who does.
In this case, let’s say that their question was supposed to go to a list server but that email address is no longer active. You could then send them a link to their social media profile and tell them that they should be able to get a response there within a day or two.
The key with this strategy is to make the customer feel like you care about their business and are doing everything possible to take good care of them. Then, when you contact them back with the relevant information or solution, they’ll be more likely to provide positive feedback about the experience.
Of course, even if it was their fault, you still want to apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused. The order was made but is now stuck in limbo due to a mistake.
Let’s say that you’re running a sale with discounts awarded based on how many items customers purchase. However, one customer somehow ended up only getting the cost of shipping subtracted instead of the entire order total. This would likely frustrate them since they didn’t receive everything promised.
So, if you’re able to identify this error before the customer does, letting them know that it was some kind of mistake would help ease any concerns or frustrations about their order. As an apology, consider offering them a discount on their next purchase. Remember not to do anything that might create more problems than it solves.
Or, if they ended up missing out on that great sale, you could suggest a different item from the site that would be on sale and then offer to let them apply their promo code for more savings.
In either case, your main goal should be to provide a solution while also putting some effort into building rapport with the customer. It is an excellent opportunity to take a bad situation and turn it into a positive experience.
Always be prepared
Since this is an ever-growing industry, you’ll want to make sure that your website will cope with any traffic spike you might see.
It means that if you’ve been getting around 10 visitors per day, then suddenly, you’re getting 100; you don’t want to deal with any technical issues.
It might seem like extra money is being spent without getting any immediate return on investment. It’s true, however, that nobody wants to spend their hard-earned dollars on an item or service that isn’t working correctly. This is especially true for companies already having issues with their brand perception.
If anything disrupts your customer service, you want to make sure it gets fixed as soon as possible. Otherwise, you might end up dealing with even worse customer service problems down the line.
You should also do everything you can to prevent these technical issues from occurring.
How to respond to customer inquiries and complaints
Customer complaints can be an excellent opportunity to show your customers how much you care about them.
Customer inquiries and complaints case 1
Suppose, for any reason, there is an error with the customer’s order, such as a late shipment or a lost package. In that case, it’s crucial to correct the mistake and improve upon your processes in the future. It’ll earn you some positive customer feedback.
So whether it is during shipping or something on order, let them know what happened. Apologize for any inconvenience caused and provide a solution that satisfies their concerns.
For example, if the order just never shipped, it would be reasonable to offer the customer some discount or free shipping on their next order.
Customer inquiries and complaints case 2
If there was an error with something they ordered, you must let the customers know what happened and how to fix it. Inform them when the problem will be fixed, but also reassure them that you’re taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
By resolving the situation on time, your customers will know exactly what’s going on and will not worry about why things are taking so long. Ultimately, this helps build trust between the customer and business by showing them you care about their issues and want to resolve them as quickly as possible.
In either case, the best thing you can do is to try to get a hold of them and find out what happened. This way, you’ll be able to tell them exactly when they can expect their order or how you’re going to fix whatever went wrong so that it doesn’t happen again.
Ask your Customers How they Want to Communicate with them.
Email is preferred by some customers, while others might want a call, and yet still some would like it through Facebook or Twitter.
The key is to determine what your customer prefers and use that method exclusively. If you’re not sure whether they want phone calls, emails, or anything else, then it’s safest to just go with email.
You’ll better understand exactly what your customers want by asking them these questions.
To accomplish this, you should notify your customers to know how to reach you as soon as possible.
Based on this information, you can determine whether your eCommerce store needs to be improved. For example, if they’re having issues placing orders, it might mean the checkout process is too complicated. Or maybe their shipping information isn’t filled out correctly on the order page.
Create a complete customer service system that covers everything
Customer service can be a tricky thing to get right, but when you do, it only serves to benefit both your business and customers.
As an online store owner, you must do two important things to improve your customer service: provide great customer service and have a customer service system in place that will cover all the bases.
By responding quickly and offering solutions that satisfy the customer’s concerns, you’ll be able to retain this valuable customer. This will help your business and any future orders that the customer might make.
Don’t hold back on asking for feedback during customer interactions. Since you never know when an exchange will be a user’s last.
Handling refunds and returns the right way
Hopefully you will not have to deal with this, but if you end up refunding a customer for whatever reason, everything must be handled correctly.
When handling refunds and returns, some basic things must be done:
- Always try to refund the total amount if they return an unopened item. If a customer decides to get a refund on something they bought from you, you must give them back everything they originally paid for.
- The customer must receive a confirmation email of the complete refund or return. This way, they know precisely what has been done and when it will take place.
- Whether this is a full refund, a replacement item, or a partial refund for something broken during shipping, your customers need to know that their concerns are being heard and that you’re doing your best to resolve them.
If you’d like tips on handling refunds and returns, then read our latest article!
Tips for handling difficult customers and situations
Eventually, you will encounter a customer who seems impossible to please. This will happen occasionally, and it’s part of running a business. In general, you can do some of these things when faced with a difficult customer:
If the customer is rude or demanding, don’t take this personally. Part of this might be a lack of respect, but it could also just be a part of how they communicate with people.
Tips1 – Remain calm and professional.
It can be frustrating when dealing with a difficult customer, but staying calm and professional is essential. Yelling or screaming at the customer will only make the situation worse.
Tips2 – Listen carefully
Listen to what your customers say and take their concerns seriously. They may be less likely to lash out at you if you can address their concerns.
Tips3 – Address the issue head-on.
Don’t try to avoid the issue or ignore the customer’s complaints. Always try to resolve any problems as quickly as possible. You may prevent further conflict with the customer by fixing the issue soon.
Tips4 – Take care of your other customers.
Your other customers shouldn’t have to deal with the fallout from a difficult customer situation. Make sure to take care of them and ensure that their experience is as positive as possible.
Tips5 – Know when to cut your losses.
In the event that a customer is being unreasonable or abusive, you may have to cut the interaction short and refund them for their order. Try not to escalate the situation by arguing with them, as it will only worsen.
Tips6- Be persistent and willing to go that extra mile.
While it’s important not to escalate the situation, it’s also essential that you don’t give up too quickly. If customers act this way, they may just need to feel heard and validated. By responding carefully and assisting them, you might be able to change their perception of your company.
Don’t let bad experiences discourage you from trying again.
No matter how many bad experiences you have, don’t let them discourage you from continuing to try. While there will be some problematic customers, there will also be many encouraging rewards for your work.
Do not hesitate to take steps to ensure your customer service is as positive as possible and consistently deliver what you promise to your customers.
How can I respond to negative reviews?
You have a few options for responding to negative reviews.
Address the concerns raised by the reviewer.
If you feel that the reviewer has not accurately represented your product or service, take the time to write a response addressing your specific concerns. It shows that you listen to your customers and care about their feedback.
Thank them for their input.
Even if you disagree with their review, thank them for taking the time to share their thoughts with you. This demonstrates that you appreciate positive and negative feedback and are open to hearing what your customers have to say.
Suggest an alternative
If they raised a valid concern, suggest an alternative product that you think better suits their needs. You shouldn’t try to avoid the issue; if something is wrong with one of your products, you need to address it immediately.
Let them know why their experience is not representative of your business.
Tell them why if you don’t think their experience represents your business. Additionally, you can ask them to contact you or speak with a specific member of your staff to resolve the situation quickly and accurately.
Q&A’s about Dropshipping Customer Service
Question: How can I provide customer service when I dropship?
Answer: To provide customer service when you dropship, you must invest in a sound customer support system. This could be a live chat widget or a phone number that customers can call if they have any questions.
If your customer is experiencing difficulties with their purchase, they need to know that there’s someone available to help them.
Phone and live chat are both great ways to provide this for customers, as they can take time to help a customer without the pressure of an in-person encounter.
Question: How will I know what my customers need from me?
Answer: When you’re dropshipping, it’s essential to stay connected with your customers at all times. This will help you know what they need from your business.
One way to do this is to constantly interact with them by keeping in touch via social media. You can connect with customers and potential customers using social media, so dropshippers should make sure to keep an account on the major networks.
Question: The customer is always right, true, or false?
Answer: Not always. The customer is not always right, but the customer should always be treated with respect.
There are times when the customer is wrong and needs to be corrected. But there are also times when the customer might be right.
In either case, it’s important to remember that the customer is not always right, but they should always be treated with respect.
Question: When a customer tries to scam me, what should I do?
Answer: You mustn’t give in to this and agree that the customer is “right.” If you do this, they will take advantage of your company, and it could create a negative image for future customers.
Tips1 – Remain cool.
You need to be cool in this situation. If you let yourself get worked up, you’re just going to worsen the situation. Consider the situation for a moment, and then speak clearly to the customer.
Tips2- Be polite but firm.
Simply thanking them for their concern and explaining that you can’t offer a refund is usually enough to get rid of an aggressive customer. If they continue to push the situation, let them know that you’re not going to offer a refund, but you’ll be happy to solve any other problems they have with your store.
Tips3- Reassure them.
In some cases, a customer may believe that you’re trying to scam them, and it can be difficult for them to trust you. Just remind them that your company is reputable and has been in business for a long time.
Tips4- Offer solutions.
In some cases, the customer may want something from you that’s not part of your product or service. For example, they may demand that you give them a full refund for a broken product or send them another package without cost. In this case, you can offer to exchange the product for one of equal value.
Tips5- Apologize for any inconvenience caused.
In some cases, customers may believe that their actions have disrupted your business even if they’re unfounded. In these cases, it’s a good idea to apologize for their experience and let them know that you’ll try to accommodate their requests if possible.
Tips6 – Be gracious.
Even the customer may be at fault for your business being disrupted in some situations. Depending on the situation, offering a full refund or a heartfelt apology may be enough to help them understand where they went wrong.
You can follow these tips to reduce a problematic customer’s chance of becoming upset with your business.
The quality of the customer experience is a crucial aspect of customer service. If you are considering dropshipping, ensure that the company has an excellent reputation for delivering exceptional customer service!
Many people choose to do business with companies that provide good customer service. It’s just one of those unavoidable things. So, if you want to succeed as a drop shipper, you must provide the best service possible.
Our blog post has given you all the information you’ll need so that when it comes time for someone to buy one of your products, they won’t be disappointed with their experience because there was no excellent customer service available. We hope we’ve helped make this process as seamless as possible!
Some related topics:
For the ultimate guide to dropshipping, you can read
- AliExpress Dropshipping Center: The Definitive Guideline (2021)
- Shopify Dropshipping Business Guide: The Ultimate Solution 2022
Read about Top 10 Profitable Niches for Dropshipping in 2022. Want to find winning dropshipping products? Read Finding Winning Products: Dropshipping in 2021. If you’re interested in using multiple dropshipping suppliers, you can read How to Use Multiple Suppliers for Dropshipping in 2022?
Spot the best dropshipping supplier by reading 10 Indicators to Spot the Best Dropshipping Suppliers. For more profit, high ticket products can be great for your dropshipping business; read about 20 High-Ticket Dropshipping Products in 2022.
Dropshipping business model is prevalent due to its ease of getting started and low start-up cost. Check out 2022’s Top 5 Dropshipping eCommerce Platforms to find the best eCommerce platform for your business.