Dealing with Customer Problems in Dropshipping
It’s simply inevitable. No matter how smoothly you operate your online store and no matter how vigilant you are, you will run into a few problems now and again, especially with your customers. Your customers are all unique in their way, and they all have varying expectations. No matter how prepared you may be, they won’t always be totally satisfied with your services especially when things go wrong.
Running into problems is something you must expect and be prepared for beforehand. Being ready for the most common customer-related problems will help you cope with and avoid the dreaded negative backlash to your store in the form of angry customers who may make their feelings known on social media by spreading upsetting reviews. We want to avoid this at all costs.
When you are running an ecommerce store and especially when you are dropshipping, you may be tempted to leave everything to function in an automated manner. While this is possible, it’s best not to leave your customers unattended or in the dark when they are dealing with concerns and problems. Your customers want to be dealt with fairly, and this is your responsibility to your buyers and prospective customers.
But what issues should you be watching out for? Thankfully, there are articles like this on the web for you to consult. Below, we are listing down the most common problems you will likely come across in dealing with your customers.
1. Wrong Product Delivery
This one is particularly common and we have seen numerous product reviews where the customer either gets the wrong color or the wrong product entirely!
Shipping the wrong item to your customer will most probably not have a good outcome. They were expecting to receive what they paid for and they will be very disappointed, at the very least. This is considered bad customer service. Whether you are distributing the products yourself or dropshipping, you must consider this your store’s responsibility— because your customer certainly does.
How to handle it: Be familiar with your return policy. Your return policy is something that you should establish even before your first sale. Ideally, you should provide easy returns, because this is something important to your customers. An easy return policy is also a major contributor to making sales because this is one of the major things customers look at before making a purchase.
When you happen to ship the wrong products and your customer contacts you about the issue, you must absolutely apologize before instructing them on how to make a return right away. Since this was essentially an error committed by your store in the eyes of your consumer, you should try to remedy the situation by also offering special offers to your unhappy customer to encourage future purchases.
2. Damaged Items
Your customer pays for the product, waits for a few days or weeks for the item to arrive, only to receive an item that is damaged or broken. They will be expecting you to provide a solution.
This problem is fairly common and will probably happen to you in the long run. While what happens to the product en route to your customer may be outside of your control and the manufacturers, you can take steps to avoid this by choosing to populate your store with reputable products that come from suppliers with a long-standing reputation for providing quality goods. When this does happen, you will have to take it into your hands to deal with your customer’s displeasure.
How to handle it: Your customer likely doesn’t know what dropshipping is, nor do they care. All that they know is that they bought the item from your shop and you need to take responsibility for the mistake. Whatever you do, do not try to push the blame onto your supplier while communicating with your customer. Apologize and try to make the next steps as easy and painless as possible for your consumer. Remember that they are probably already upset from having paid for something only to receive a broken item.
After apologizing and taking full responsibility, make sure to consult your store policy, and cover all costs for your customer, including shipping for the return, customer’s reimbursement, or in sending them a new item altogether. Try to be familiar with the policy of your suppliers as well when it comes to shipping damaged goods, so you can know what you will be entitled to as a vendor.
3. Shipping Delays
You might have to deal with a few customers now and again who are anxious to get their item, to know where their item is and when it will arrive on their doorsteps. This feeling of anxious anticipation is common for many online shoppers, and it’s one of the reasons that online shopping can be exciting.
Most customers these days are used to having their orders processed and shipped within 24 hours or so, and it is what they have come to expect. So image the annoyance some may experience when met with pesky delays. This can be especially disturbing for clients who have purchased something that they consider expensive, and so they are naturally anxious to know the status of their order.
How to handle it: Make sure to monitor the order processing of your store to make sure that everything is going without a hitch. When you notice that something isn’t going as smoothly as is expected, you must attempt to reach your supplier immediately, even before your customers start calling you. This way you will know what the holdup is, and can come to your customer with an approximation of when the items can be shipped.
It is also important for you to provide the time frame for shipping and the expected arrival date of your products. This kind of information will save you a lot of confusion and will give you significantly fewer questions to respond to.
4. Inaccurate Product Description
This one can be a big bummer for your customer who receives something totally unexpected from what they thought they would be getting! Whether its function, size, and dimension, or the fact that the item did not include certain parts that they were expecting, all these issues must be avoided by you, the vendor, by providing all the necessary and accurate information on your product page.
How to handle it: It should be your goal to make sure that each product delivers exactly what it promises. Never underestimate the importance and the role that your product descriptions have to your store’s capacity to generate sales.
Always include the relevant information, the product detail, size and weight, technical information, all the features, and even the product warranty details. Never claim anything false or too farfetched in your product description and always stay true to the function and nature of the product. Make sure to mention what comes and what does not come with the item that your customers will be purchasing.
5. Unexpected Shipping Cost
During the checkout process, unexpected shipping cost is one of the handful of reasons customers abandon their carts. Online shoppers already don’t like paying for shipping, but if shipping costs are higher than they expected, then the purchase suddenly isn’t worth it anymore. In these cases, your prospective customer will certainly leave your website and look for a better deal with your competitors.
How to handle it: Leading your customer to believe that they will be paying a certain amount for shipping, only to surprise them last minute with a higher fee is not gonna sit well with the majority of online shoppers. What your customer wants and expects from the stores that they are dealing with is full transparency. How else will they trust you with their money?
It is your duty to your customers as the owner of the ecommerce website to be transparent about the cost of things during the ordering process. Online shoppers love free shipping, so try to provide this option when you can. If free shipping is not a viable option, you can try ePacket shipping, a cheap shipping option that is available in over 40 countries. The important thing is to just be upfront with the cost and to find a supplier who can provide reasonable shipping fees so as not to startle your customer away before they can complete a purchase.
6. Online Store Issues
There are several ways that your site can become problematic for your customers. Ideally, you should have an ecommerce website that was built to simplify your customers' shopping experience, not prevent it. Your goal is to make sure that the shopping process works like a breeze. The easier it is for customers to navigate your ecommerce website, the more sales you will have.
How to handle it: There are a number of reasons why your customers may find your ecommerce website hard unpleasant to deal with. To make the experience smooth for your customers, your site must:
- Not take more than 5 seconds to load
- Have easy and customer friendly navigation
- Be compatible with multiple devices
- Have a smooth checkout process which offers guest checkout
- Include multiple payment methods
It’s in your best interest, and your customers’, to create a hassle-free website. The quicker and simpler the process, the more sales you will get from your online store.
7. Data Security Problems
Privacy and security of data is something all internet users value. Online stores require customers to hand over data and personal details about themselves, including their full name, address, contact details, as well as banking information. These are all considered sensitive information that your customer will be entrusting to you.
Data protection and possible customer data mismanagement is a critical issue in ecommerce. Your customers may be harboring fears that their data will be shared with other entities and businesses that will then use their information for whatever unpleasant purpose it can serve. If you want your customers to trust you enough to hand over their data, you will have to put certain security measures in place.
How to handle it: Another responsibility of the online shop owner is to ensure website security. For you to fully gain and deserve the trust of your customers, you must adopt key security measures to protect your website and the data of the people who come to make transactions there. Two such measures are acquiring an SSL Certificate and adopting two-factor authentication for your site. Ecommerce platforms like Shopify are already considered secure and come in with a built-in SSL Certificate and other security measures to ensure customer and store data stays safe. Don’t forget to make sure that all your important security measures are up to date and to inform your customers that all the necessary steps to protect them have been taken.
Back to You
Now that we have discussed the most common problems that customers have when dealing with ecommerce stores, and you have been made aware of how to handle these situations when they arise, you are more prepared than ever.
Remember that, when you are dealing with an unhappy customer, that they are not upset or angry with you personally. Your customers just want to be heard out and dealt with the respect that they desire. Your job is to listening and finding quick and easy solutions to amend the situation.
What do you think are the most common problems an ecommerce store and dropshipper can face when dealing with customers? Are you trying to avoid these issues mentioned above? If you are, we would like to know. At Ecommerce Pro, we make it our passion to help ecommerce entrepreneurs succeed in their ecommerce and dropshipping endeavors. Start a conversation with us today and together we will build a better and more successful ecommerce website.
The E-Commerce Checklist
We have listed down the best practices in a checklist to ensure that your online business is ready for launching.