Customer Service Focus – January 2006

As I have mentioned many times before, communication is the key to excellent customer service. One of the primary ways that merchants communicate with customers is via email.

Steve Walker, owner of said, “If I don’t receive proper notification and follow-up from an e-tailer I am very unhappy and will probably never do business with the store again.”

There are a couple of important email communications that must take place between you and your customer.

You must first send the customer an order confirmation. This is most frequently an automated email with their order information included. It should also include information on how to contact you in case there is a problem with the order.

Secondly, (and perhaps less prevalent amongst online merchants) is the “Your Order Has Shipped” email. This tells a customer that their order has shipped and ideally includes tracking information for their order.

I like to also send an email to the customer if more than 5 days elapses between the date they ordered and the date that the order ships. I inform the customer that their order is being prepared to ship and give them an estimated ship date. This leaves the customer at ease, and heads off any possible complaints about the delay in shipping. It lets them know you are “aware” and understand their order is important.

Lastly, you should always send a follow-up email. A customer’s feedback (good or bad) is important to your organization. Many customers will not take the time to write you an email with feedback, but if they are presented with a simple way of doing it, they are more likely to respond. Try sending a follow-up email with a link to a page on your site with a feedback form. Make the form a brief survey and also ask the customer if they would like to provide a testimonial. The follow-up email provides another reason to communicate with your customer, and the chance for feedback.

There are many tips and tricks to writing great email communications. Next month we will go through some of the ways you can improve your emails. I will also include reader’s feedback on this subject.

PEC Staff
PEC Staff
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