5 Simple Tips To Address Shipping Delays

201530_EcommerceWeekly.com-5-Simple-Tips-To-Address-Shipping-DelaysShipping delays can and do occur. They’re frustrating for customers who are anxious to receive your products, and stressful for you as an e-commerce seller. The right kind of response from you is vital if you want to keep your customer happy – and, of course, you want the transaction to be positive to ensure repeat business! Communicate shipping delays effectively by following these 5 tips.

Tip 1: Consider calling. Email is fast and convenient, but a call requires extra effort that customers notice and appreciate. Remember, too, that a productive call can eliminate the valuable time you’d spend on emailing back and forth. Rather than offering a solution and waiting for the response, you can nail down specifics in the course of one conversation.

Tip 2: Offer choices. Giving the customer some control over the situation can go a long way toward creating a satisfied shopper. Consider using language like, “Susan, I’m so sorry about the delay; flooding in the Midwest has affected delivery times. Would you like to refuse the shipment and return it to me at no cost, or may I offer you free shipping on your next order?” Be open to options provided by your customer too.

Tip 3: Honesty is the best policy. Don’t beat around the bush – your customer wants the product, not excuses or fabrications. Think about how you’d feel if you were the customer in this scenario: “I’m sure I sent the package on Monday … no, I don’t have the confirmation code handy” versus  “Joe, I’m terribly sorry that your comic books haven’t arrived. Usually I’m very prompt with shipping but got behind on orders due to the holiday. I’m reevaluating my shipping process to make sure it doesn’t happen again. What can I do to make it up to you?”

Tip 4: Stay in close contact. When you want the customer to know that you’re working on a solution, err on the side of too many updates. After the initial call or email, stay in frequent touch with news about the shipment: “Sarah, I’ve just received a new tracking number from the USPS. I’ve emailed it to you and here it is in case you’d like to make a note of it.” “Sarah, my records show that your package has arrived at the sorting facility near you. Be on the lookout for the delivery truck today or tomorrow!”

Tip 5: As a last resort, sweeten their disposition with a little treat. If you’ve followed the previous tips, you may have already instilled a sense of understanding in your customer. But for a difficult customer –- or if you feel the need to bump your approach up a notch – send a small token of your appreciation, perhaps an inexpensive item from your store, a free sample of a new product, or else a coupon or code for a discount on a future order. If you do choose to extend a tangible show of apology, make absolutely certain that you include another note of apology as well as your plan for making it right.

The Bottom Line
These are good tips to remember at any time, but with the holiday season just ahead, your approach to handling shipping delays is more important than ever. Even when delays happen, let your customers’ view of your dedication to outstanding service be the lasting impression.