If you run an ecommerce business online, there will come a time when a customer complains about something. While it may be disturbing to have someone complain about the product you sold them, or the service they received, the most important thing to do is not to take it personally. You must have a plan to assuage the customer’s complaint and rectify the situation for both of your benefits.
The Preemptive Strike
The best way to deal with ecommerce customer complaints is to avoid them in the first place. On your website, you should clearly state all of your terms of service. Make sure that customers must read them before they check out, and be sure to include the basics in the thank you email after the sale is made.
If your customers know your rules about returns and refunds they can make their decision whether to purchase from you or not. You also have something to fall back on and show to the customer if they begin to complain.
Courtesy and Calm
If the customer emails you with a complaint even though he has read your terms of service, or if he ignored them to begin with, you have to respond professionally. Chances are, the customer might be irate because of their dissatisfaction with the product you shipped or with the service.
You must handle the ecommerce customer with courtesy and calm. Apologize if you have made a mistake, and apologize even if you did not. It is up to you to calm down the situation and head toward a mutual resolution.
Bend Your Own Rules Without Breaking Them
As mentioned above, it is important to have your rules and regulations laid out clearly for all ecommerce customers. This means that you explain your rules about payments, returns, refunds, and guarantees. If the customer wants to return an item and your terms clearly state that they cannot, you should not simply refuse unless for legal reasons. For example, worn undergarments and piercing jewelry cannot be returned.
It is possible, however, to allow a complaining customer to return an item and get a refund of the price without the shipping charge, or to give them a special gift certificate or coupon for a future purchase.
Compensation When Due
Business owners rarely want to admit that they have made a mistake or have provided less than stellar service. However, if your customer has a valid complaint against you, you must offer compensation. Standing behind a rigid “No Refund” policy when the wrong product was shipped, or if it was lost in the mail, are not good ecommerce business practices.
Dealing with customer complaints can be difficult when you run your own ecommerce business. Even if you think that you did everything necessary to ensure satisfaction, you have to be prepared to put forth further effort. You must remember that, when dealing with a dissatisfied customer, your ultimate goal is to make them pleased with the outcome. This will allow you to avoid bad word of mouth advertising, which can hurt your reputation.