How do you want customers to feel about your products and store? Are you achieving those goals, or do constant complaints, refund requests, and other concerns make it feel like you’re missing the mark?
Customer satisfaction is among the most important factors for your business to focus on when thinking about long-term growth. E-commerce satisfaction rates have a significant impact on revenue right away — realizing the value on goods sold while minimizing expenses like returns and support agents. Then, happy customers tend to come back for more, especially when you’re introducing new products or running a sale.
On the other hand, bad experiences drive down immediate revenue and mean you’ll spend more trying to acquire new customers. There’s also a risk of poor reviews and reputational harm that can drive down sales among existing targets and customers.
If you want to build loyalty, there are a few things to start adjusting on your site.
Clarity on Your Site
The first part of improving e-commerce customer satisfaction is to set expectations. The easy work is reviewing product descriptions and info to ensure things are accurate, pictures are recent, and reviews are honest. The more difficult part is tweaking and adjusting the things that make a difference when a customer is choosing between you and another option.
Start with elements like your shipping and returns policies. Is everything clear? Are you direct and easy to understand? Can your operations live up to every promise you offer?
With peak season starting, it’s easy to focus on big sales events. The underpinning is making everything else run smoothly so customers can trust you, get what they want, and not have a bad surprise arrive on their doorstep.
When something happens, work to have a process that clearly explains it. For instance, FedEx and UPS are massively ramping up their general rates next year. You may want a simple explainer that tells customers your shipping costs are increasing due to this change, so they may see a slightly higher shipping cost.
Simplicity of Processes
Another big point of frustration are those long forms with way too much detail that you don’t actually need to get an order to a customer. Mandatory profiles and signing in, phone numbers, birth days, and tracking details that you don’t use to personalize offers all make the sales process longer for no good reason.
Streamline and simplify. Single-page checkout processes often have a better conversion rate, according to studies. Adding discounts and shipping information sooner in the process, emphasizing how someone can get free shipping, and having carts follow people all make it easier to shop and buy. The more satisfied someone is with the store experience, the more likely they are to make a purchase and keep your doors open.
When in doubt, help them out.
Accuracy of Orders
Improving the order management process not only helps your company control costs in the warehouse, but it also increases e-commerce customer satisfaction rates. If your 3PL partner improves order accuracy, then they’re saving you from shrinkage and loss as well as helping you generate more recurring revenue.
When the correct item arrives to the customer at the time they expect, you’ll experience fewer returns. That means you capture more revenue and avoid paying reverse logistics costs on top of refunds or replacement costs.
Internally, improving order accuracy helps you forecast total shipping costs, minimize packaging usage, and manage operational expenses by having predictable shift and staffing needs. You can even reduce customer support demands, saving staff time and helping sales focus on higher-value opportunities.
Ease of Support
E-commerce can feel simple from the customer’s point of view. They click a few buttons, add in payment details, and then get their newest purchase in a few days. To them, it doesn’t feel like there’s much that can go wrong.
Of course, every e-commerce shop owner knows the truth. Things can break from the point of manufacturing to inbound freight, through receiving and storage, then in picking and packing, and finally in shipping to the customer. Many things small and large can happen at every point, but you never want that feeling to reach the customer.
So, protect yourself and your reputation by introducing multiple easy ways to get help. Give your support team the tools that track orders and inventory, look for transaction issues, and help people get carrier details. Then, let customers reach out through multiple methods, such as email and on-site chat, or add in social handles and phone support. Thankfully, many tools make it easy for support agents to help from a single screen, no matter how your customers ask.
The goal here and in other areas above is to simplify processes so customers get what they want faster and more reliably. Every improvement you make to accuracy and speed is one that will pay dividends for e-commerce customer satisfaction and return shopping rates.
Jake Rheude is the Vice President of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an e-commerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of e-commerce. He has years of experience in eCommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.
This article originally appeared in the November/December, 2022 issue of PARCEL.