Service with a Smile
As an independent business, providing excellent customer service is not an option - it’s a necessity. According to a recent survey, 3 in 5 Americans (59%) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience. This means that if you place customer service as a top priority for your business, you stand to gain all the customers that your competitors lost by providing an inferior experience.
Elements of a Stellar Customer Experience
In order to provide the best experience possible for your customers, we’ve identified three major areas to focus on. When done well, these elements can lead to a booming and loyal following of repeat customers and a positive online presence that is attractive to potential buyers. When ignored, these elements can end in disaster for your business.
One of the most important things in providing a great experience for your customers is being upfront and honest from beginning to end. Customers want to feel like they’re buying from a reliable company, so transparency will build a level of trust between you and the customer, and they will be more likely to shop with you again.
There are many ways to show transparency. Be sure to describe your items exactly as they are. If there is a small hole in the left sleeve of a shirt you’re selling, make note of that in the item description. Buyers would much prefer to know about any malfunctions of an item than to buy it and find out afterwards.
It’s also good to make sure your item titles and images are not misleading. The more truthful you can be about your products, the less likely you are to have an item returned because it was not as described. Your in-stock inventory count should represent the actual number of items you have available. It’s against Bonanza policy to overlist your inventory, as doing so threatens the issue of fulfilling your orders in a timely manner should you sell more items than you actually have.
Part of the online marketplace experience is that items may be in a variety of conditions, and shoppers expect that and will appreciate your honesty from the get-go.
So you’ve proven yourself to be a trustworthy seller, and you’re racking up sales - congrats! Now it’s time to make sure you communicate adequately with your customers. Bonanza sends an email confirmation after purchase, but some sellers choose to send a personalized email after they’ve made a sale. This can be sent immediately after purchase, or can be delayed for one day or one week. You can set this in your Booth Settings under the “Payments & Purchases” tab.
After you’ve made a sale and your items are en route, provide tracking information to your customer. Few things are as frustrating as waiting eagerly for items without any idea of when they will arrive. Without an arrival timeframe, buyers often feel like their product should arrive immediately, and tend to perceive time passed in an exaggerated manner. Failure to provide tracking can result in irate customers who hastily leave unwarranted negative feedback.
Timely responses to all customer inquiries are vital to providing a great experience. Whether a prospective buyer wants to know more about an item you have, or a current customer wants an update on the status of their order, it’s imperative to be speedy in your responses. 80% of people say that they expect an email response within 1 hour, and 15% say within 15 minutes. Obviously you can’t be expected to respond to every email you get immediately, but being cognizant of the expectations your customers likely have will help your business thrive.
There are a few other ways to go the extra mile in providing unmatched communication. In the event that you can’t get in touch via email, you can provide a contact phone number for buyers. You can do this through our phone verification system that authorizes Bonanza to share your number with buyers, which you can find by visiting your Account Settings and clicking on “Seller Settings.” You can also add your number to the contact information on your profile. If you want to add a real-time way for buyers to reach you, leave a message in your booth chat window welcoming buyers to your store and encouraging them to ask any questions if necessary.
Feedback and Improvement
Once your item has been delivered, you can expect to get feedback from the buyer about their experience buying from you. This is the point in the transaction where many sellers fail to exceed customer expectations. News of a negative customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience, so take the time to address unhappy buyers and remedy the situation. This will help to avoid bad word-of-mouth marketing.
When a buyer leaves feedback, whether good or bad, you should reach out to thank them for taking the time to rate the experience. If the feedback is negative, ask how you can improve in the future, and be sure to implement those changes. Many sellers wish to get their bad feedback removed from the site, rather than identifying where the breakdown was in the process and adjusting as necessary to avoid bad feedback in the future. Being proactive about your customer experience will be beneficial to your business in the long run.
Similarly, take a look at the questions and communications you typically receive from buyers. Any common questions about specific products or booth policies could indicate that you’re not communicating fully or your transparency isn’t where it should be. Commit to constantly improving your business based on what you hear from buyers throughout the entire selling process.
With our new Customer Marketing Tool, keeping track of feedback and rewarding it accordingly is easy. If you receive positive feedback, you could offer that buyer a coupon to come back soon. If you receive negative feedback, you could offer that buyer a coupon as an apology for their unfavorable experience.
A Memorable Experience From Beginning to End
Providing an extraordinary experience for your customers is essential to running a successful business. During the holidays, many businesses forget about this aspect, opting instead to focus on tactics to draw in customers rather than focusing on their needs as people. That approach ignores the fact that 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated, proving how important it is to follow through with great customer service from start to finish. Being transparent with your customers, communicating thoroughly, and improving your business based on buyer feedback are all little ways to go the extra mile.