Having good customer service and making sure your customer metrics are in line with Amazon’s expectations is vital if you want to be a successful Amazon seller. It takes time and effort to offer exemplary customer service but the benefits are well worthwhile if you decide to go that extra mile. With that in mind here are our six tips for improving your customer service and customer metrics.
Tip 1: Communicate Quickly With Your Customers
From day 1 you need to keep an eye on your Amazon inbox to make sure you respond to any customer enquiries quickly. Amazon require you to respond to all customer messages within 24 hours 7 days a week. Taking the small amount of time required to be responsive to your customers greatly improves your ‘Buyer-Seller Contact Response Time’ metric.
If customers make a product or shipping enquiry you need to respond quickly if you want to make a sale. If you take too long the customer might move on and buy from somebody else. If customers take the time to message a seller they expect the seller to be equally responsive. By replying quickly you let the customer know that you are trustworthy and helpful.
If a customer messages you after a sale you still need to reply quickly, after care of a customer is extremely important. If the customer has a problem you need to resolve this promptly to make sure the issue doesn’t escalate and result in negative feedback or even an A-to-Z guarantee claim against you.
To be ready for customer messages always make sure that you can access your Amazon seller account. If you’re someone who sells frequently you should already be checking your Amazon account hourly for new sales or messages. If you’re someone who’s just started selling or sells around other commitments then you need to be responsive ‘on-the-go’. Amazon have a seller app available for Apple and Android devices which can help you, otherwise you can access Seller Central through any mobile browser. The mobile app will alert you when you receive a customer message or need to take some sort of action via notifications. It is worth logging into your account once every 24 hours to be on the safe side, you need to be sure you haven’t missed anything.
Tip 2: Respond to Customers in a Friendly and Professional Manner
This may appear to be an obvious point however there are plenty of sellers who are oblivious to their own communication with customers. Sometimes customers can be frustrating or come across as difficult. Your job as the seller it to approach customers in a friendly manner, regardless of how you truly feel. No question is stupid and you need to take all complaints seriously even if you feel they are unjustified.
You need to read each customers message carefully. Identify what exactly customers are asking you, don’t rush a reply. Once you’ve done this, write a succinct answer to the customer’s question or complaint. This is where being professional comes in. Use the correct grammar, keep the tone friendly and helpful and before you send the message read it over for any errors. Good natured messages (with the correct grammar) from sellers are appreciated by customers and are more likely to result in positive seller feedback.
(It’s also important to know your rights as a seller. If customers are abusive you have every right to report them to Amazon.)
Tip 3: Have a Routine in Place for Shipping Your Products
Shipping products is arguably the most important responsibility sellers have. When a customer pays you for a product it needs to be shipped within 2 days, that’s demanded by Amazon. Your ‘Late Dispatch Rate’ should be less than 4%, so you don’t have much room for error.
You’ll need to be organised to make sure your customer gets the product when they expect it, and in the condition they expect. If your product is shipped late then you’re far more likely to receive negative seller feedback and in the long turn that can negatively affect your sales.
Regularly checking Seller Central is a must. You need to stay on top of your sales. When sales come in you need to make sure you can quickly access the product that’s been bought and get it packed. This requires two things if you’re a ‘merchant fulfilling’ your orders: stock management and plenty of packaging material. Wherever you keep your stock make sure it’s accessible (that goes without saying). And make sure that for every product you plan on selling you already have packaging ready.
Being organised needn’t be an arduous or difficult task. Whether you use stock management software or the trusty pen and paper is up to you depending on your requirements, just make you you’re taking note of stock!
Tip 4: Pack Your Products Properly
If you’re fulfilling your orders you need to pack your product to ensure that it’s properly protected. It’s common sense but there are plenty of sellers out there who cut costs on packaging, and it comes back to bite them. Your Order Defect Rate will suffer if you send products that get damaged during shipping.
If you’re sending books, DVDs, CD’s or Video Games, make sure your envelope has bubble wrap to protect the contents. If you’re shipping anything fragile that can be cracked, chipped or smashed into pieces then it goes without saying that you need to wrap the products in a protective cover (bubble wrap or polystyrene) and then use a good quality box to put the product in.
Tip 5: Choose Your Shipping Service Wisely
If you’re selling a handful of items then heading to a post office is simple enough. If you’re shipping a lot of items you might not have the time to keep visiting post offices throughout the day. This means you may want a courier to help streamline your shipping process. Whatever shipping method you choose it needs to be accessible and flexible to your business needs.
Choosing a courier is completely down to you but make sure you take the time to thoroughly research who you chose to deliver your products. You want your courier to offer the same level of customer service as you do. When looking for potential couriers to use for your business take some time to research:
- Delivery rates (do the couriers have excellent delivery times?)
- Payment terms (Do you have to pay couriers in advance or after delivery?)
- Fuel surcharges
- Evening delivery requests (particularly helpful if you’re fitting this around your 9-5 job)
- Collection services (can they pick up any broken items from customers?)
- Maximum delivery measurements (it’s worth knowing how much you can send at once)
- Redelivery charges
- Insurance exclusions for glass, china or jewellery
- Minimum quantities for pick up (will the courier take individual deliveries)
- ‘Multi-consignments’ (some couriers allow multiple parcels to be sent to the same address, for one fee)
- ‘Access’ Service– pallet pickup / tail lift and other special services (if your product requires it)
Doing some research on couriers will ensure your products get delivered on time and without damage, keeping your ‘Order Defect Rate’ metric in check. Don’t forget that most courier services can offer tracking services so you can know your products have been delivered to your customer. By adding a free tracking service for your customers you could add real value to the customer service you offer.
It’s also really important to stress that you need to let Amazon know you’ve shipped the product to a customer. If Amazon isn’t notified within 2 days that a product’s been shipped, the Late Dispatch Rate will begin to pass the 4% mark, and have a negative impact on your seller rating.
Tip 6: Consider using Amazon’s FBA service
Using the Fulfilment By Amazon (FBA) service is a great way for Amazon sellers to expand their business while looking after their customer metrics. Through FBA, sellers can get Amazon to store, pack and ship their products and handle the customer service.
FBA can help you considerably in improving your customers’ experience. Amazon has an incredibly efficient distribution network so when Amazon package and ship products for you they don’t turn up late. It also greatly reduces the risk of products being damaged during shipping and the negative impact that damage will have on your seller metrics.
That being said, the condition of the product the customer receives is something of a grey area. If Amazon ships an FBA seller’s product to a customer and it’s damaged, Amazon collects the product and decides whose fault this is: the sellers or theirs.
If you choose to use the FBA service, you need to ensure that the products you send to Amazon are in the condition you say they are and that the packaging of your products is secure. Here’s the ‘Prep Matrix’ Amazon asks its FBA sellers to follow when sending items to their warehouse.
It is very rare that products get damaged as they reach a customer. As long you accurately describe the products and package them correctly before sending them to Amazon then you can be sure that any damages will not be viewed as your fault.
It’s also worth mentioning that with Amazon handling the logistics, your product(s) will never be shipped late ensuring that the ‘Late Dispatch Rate’ will stay at 0%.
Amazon FBA do take responsibility for customer services, however customers can still contact the seller. This means that it’s still essential to check your Seller Central account frequently.
With the huge benefits Amazon’s FBA service provides sellers, it is well worth taking more time out to review the service for yourself and see how beneficial it can be for you, especially if you customer metrics aren’t where you want them to be.
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