Digital customer service has evolved over the years. Customers have become choosier, requiring business owners to offer top notch products or reviews or lose business. In the dropship industry, it is paramount that you keep your customers happy throughout the transaction and after. Bear in mind that there are many similar players in the industry and customers are at liberty to try out any other business they like.

First things first; what is dropshipping? Well, this is a supply chain concept where the seller of products doesn’t directly keep stock of the same. Instead, he or she gets the orders from customers, processes the payment and transfers the order, complete with requisite shipment details to a manufacturer, wholesaler, distributor or another retailer, who then processes the shipment of the ordered goods directly to the buyer. This model works for both parties because the owner of the goods gets the market while the seller makes some margins from the entire transaction.

It is a relatively popular method considering the fact that the manufacturer or wholesaler can only focus on the process of manufacturing superior quality goods, leaving the marketing aspect to the dropshipping supplier. Considering its rather complex nature, a drop shipper must ensure that the customer is kept in the loop throughout the process.

Advantages of good customer service

There are many known advantages of good customer service, which include, but not limited to; 

  • Customer acquisition: When you offer excellent customer experience, you stand a higher chance of acquiring new customers because the customers become the best advocates for your business. 
  • Customer retention: It takes 9 times more effort to get a new customer for your dropship business than to maintain the current one. Customer retention is therefore paramount. 
  • Business expansion: Grow your business in folds through customer expansion. You can realize this only if you keep them happy. 
  • Brand visibility: Let the world know that you are a market leader because the best advocates for dropshipping suppliers are actually the current customers. 
  • Less complaints: You save time by processing less complaints from dissatisfied customers who will stop at nothing to give you a bad name, which is no good for business. Save time resolving refund requests and focus on the core business.

The ultimate benefit of good customer service is the fact that you will acquire, engage, support and retain your customer base. It is estimated that poor customer experience leads to loss of more than 50% of the customers, while 25% will share their experience with friends and urge them never to do business with such a company and another 20% will not lie low; they will proceed and post a negative review about the brand. It is also estimated that close to 90% of customers have ceased shopping from dropshipping suppliers and other online stores simply because of poor customer experience.

How to guarantee the best customer experience

Generally, you have to understand your customers if you are to engage them better. Each customer is different, and considering that there are no direct customer touch, it is paramount that you engage them with caution. Here are some tips to get you started. 

1. Courtesy

How do you respond to a customer who received the wrong product from a wholesaler? Do you rush and promise a refund, or persuade them to take a replacement? Well, going with the former will eat into the profits, but most customers will demand exactly that. However, you can always be courteous, apologize and promise a replacement of the same product as soon as possible.

2. Information is power

Online orders get misplaced or lost altogether. Customers want to track their products throughout the transaction period. No one wants to be in darkness expecting a product that will not make it to their doorsteps. Dropshipping suppliers should provide all possible information on product tracking. This helps ease the tension as the customer will have an idea on the estimated date of delivery of the product.

3. Use the right customer service channels

Digital customer service channels are many at the moment. You must however ensure that you provide the best channel that works both for you and the customer. Some of the most common channels are:

  • Email: This is the most common and highly recommended for dropshipping suppliers. Ensure that your email address is easily accessible whenever a customer needs to make an enquiry. Of course it has to be on the home page alongside other contact details. Emails are good because of traceability and record keeping. 
  • Live chat: There are times when customers need answers instantly. In such cases, live chat is the most ideal option because you can easily resolve concerns raised. There is also some personal touch to live chats. 
  • Social media: About 67% of customers will contact various brands through social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, among others. Most of these customers, more than 40%, expect responses in less than one hour, if not instantly. You must, therefore, ensure that your social media pages are updated and customer complaints addressed instantly.
  • Phone number: What other way to keep your dropship customer happy and assured that the order is on the way than to talk with them on the phone? Ensure that you provide a working phone number that they can use. It can be a text message, phone call (encouraged) or even chat platforms such as WhatsApp depending on preferences.

There are many avenues through which customer complaints can be addressed, but there are mechanisms that can be put in place to solve some of the common issues customers will raise with dropshipping suppliers. Here are some three strategies to reduce complaints.

  • Have a comprehensive Frequently Asked Question Page (FAQs)
  • Have a page where customers can track their orders
  • Stick to the delivery time

Ensuring great customer experience is the best way to grow your business. With fewer complaints to process and attend to, dropshipping suppliers can focus on establishing their brand in the market. It saves time and money while keeping your customers happy. This is the surest way to earn their loyalty for many years to come.