Providing customers with a good experience the first time (and every time) they purchase from you is an important part of building customer loyalty. Loyal customers grow your company, so it's critical to assess your customer service from multiple angles and improve where necessary. Below are some tips you can use to get the full picture of your strengths and weaknesses in customer service.
Shop your site
What better way to evaluate customer service than by becoming a customer? To get an authentic experience, you’ll need to do more than just place an order. Contact your company with product questions or for help with placing an order. Buy something from yourself and evaluate your checkout process. After the order arrives, call customer service to troubleshoot some issues. Go through your returns process. Browse your website with a critical eye and ask yourself: are products easy to find and compare? Do product descriptions provide the right kind of information? Is the shopping experience the same on mobile devices?
Review customer feedback
If your customer service department uses call monitoring tools, that’s another excellent resource for finding areas of the customer experience that need improvement. Reviewing customer service calls can reveal patterns or errors you may not find by manually browsing your site, such as pricing errors, frequently asked questions, or even areas where customer service reps need more training. Additionally, you can review the most recent product return codes to look for recurring issues.
Improve your reporting
Is your customer service perfect, or could there be issues you’re not hearing about? Review the customer service and fulfillment reporting you have in place and look for gaps to fill. For example, there are opportunities to create new product return codes to get more granular customer feedback. If your reporting is thorough, you may be able to supplement it further with customer satisfaction surveys.
In order to increase their customer appeal, more B2B ecommerce sites are refreshing their design and functionality to mimic some of the strategies employed by B2C ecommerce sites. For the most part, this is an effective strategy. However, B2B customers can have motivations and needs that are different from their B2C counterparts. In this blog post, we'll cover a few common reasons that shoppers are visiting your B2B ecommerce site – and what changes you can make to better appeal to these users.
B2B customers are often required to compare the cost of materials from multiple vendors before placing an order. Putting your prices front and center can help your customers finalize a purchasing decision. If price is not the competitive factor for your products, be sure to draw customer focus to the valuable differences or features of your products.
If you have technical content for your products (e.g. spec sheets, video demonstrations, performance testing results, etc.), don’t force users to dig for it. Keep your product pages organized and keep your content in a designated area to help customers easily find the information they need.
Ready to purchase
If a customer visits your site intending to place an order, don’t change their minds with a difficult checkout process. If your B2B customers place orders for large amounts of different SKUs, the B2C approach of including lots of product info (like images and descriptions) in the cart can add unnecessary complexity. A better approach may be as simple as an order form with fields for SKUs and quantities.
Making sure that your ecommerce site is compatible with mobile devices is critical for maintaining a good shopping experience – not just for your current customers, but also for new customers who may get their first impression of your brand through a mobile browser. While developing your strategy for mobile users, remember these guidelines for giving your customers the best mobile experience.
Size & Speed
On average, internet connection speeds for mobile devices are slower than desktops. More features and content take longer to load - and this time is emphasized for your mobile users. A feature-rich desktop version of the site is a great idea, you'll need to turn off some of these features on the mobile site to keep loading times down.
Screen real estate on mobile devices is limited. While working on the size and speed of your mobile site, consider how you can simplify the navigation. People love mobile devices because of their convenience, so as a general rule of thumb – the fewer steps it takes to find a product or complete a purchase, the better.
Mobile app vs. mobile website
Depending on the experience you want your customers to have, you may want to invest in an app over a mobile site. Compared to a mobile-friendly website, apps are more expensive to develop, but they can incorporate much more functionality without sacrificing speed. If you decide to create an app, it should provide an experience that is distinct from visiting your ecommerce site. Otherwise, customers will have little incentive to download and use it.
There comes a time when ecommerce start-ups must take a serious look at their future growth. Breaking in to the biz can be easy, but success requires careful planning. A third-party fulfillment provider can lend you their experience and infrastructure to help you develop a strategy for efficient expansion - but you need to make sure they align with your business goals, brand objectives, and growth potential. To help you find the right 3PL provider that's in-tune with your goals, keep the following elements in mind.
Your logistics provider should be as flexible as your industry – able to grow and scale its services alongside your business. At Fulfillment Works, experienced account managers lead dedicated warehouse teams to master all aspects of our clients’ fulfillment needs – including their unique products, customers, and shipping policies.
Data is king, and you need to be able to access it even as your ecommerce site changes and grows. Ideally, a 3PL provider should have no problem integrating your current technology and software solutions to keep everything working seamlessly. Our online fulfillment management platform has limitless integration potential.
When your goal is strategic growth, you don’t want a fulfillment company who think of you as just another tenant renting warehouse space. In other words, you don’t want a 3PL provider – you want a 3PL partner, who understands your brand, business, and fulfillment challenges. At Fulfillment Works, we believe in providing a customized level of service. We have helped ecommerce companies both large and small reach their goals for growth. Contact us today with your specific challenges to learn exactly how we can help.
More and more websites are adding subscription order services for their customers. The model may benefit your current ecommerce site, or be the major feature for your next business. In either case, subscription fulfillment has some challenges that you may not come across in standard fulfillment operations. Fortunately, fulfillment providers like yours truly are uniquely prepared to tackle these challenges.
Take order volume, for example. Because of the predictable delivery cycle for orders, subscription fulfillment is subject to peaks and valleys of volume. One week, your warehouse is packing and shipping like mad to meet the subscription deadline. The next, everything is quiet as you prepare for the next subscription offering. Predicting volume from subscription to subscription can be difficult, so it's critical to have flexible warehouse space for storing inventory and sufficient labor for fulfilling orders. Because they work with multiple customers, fulfillment providers have the flexibility to scale space and labor to accommodate volume fluctuations easily.
It’s also important to get the logistical timing right for subscriptions. Subscription boxes are often promoted extensively in social media, so you’ll want to synchronize arrival dates so that subscribers in different shipping zones receive their orders at approximately the same time. This requires close communication and negotiation with carriers. Logistics is an area where Fulfillment Works excels – we help you to optimize your distribution network to reduce transportation costs and work with multiple carriers to negotiate competitive shipping rates.
Additionally, fulfillment providers are invested in warehouse management systems and data analyzing solutions. When you find the right fulfillment partner, you can leverage their resources without the overhead investment. As a result, you’ll be able to improve inventory management and process orders faster - ultimately, enabling you provide a better subscription service.