How Communicating with Your Customers Can Make or Break Your Business
Communication is what our entire society is built around. From email to social media, communication has never been easier, quicker or more far-reaching. So why are some brands dropping the ball when it comes to communicating directly with their customers?
Communicate: If your fulfillment falls behind
At the Storenvy support desk, we get more emails than we’d like about customers asking why their order hasn’t arrived. We contact the store for a status update, and the vast majority of the time, the store owner responds quickly with an apology and a short message on why they’re running behind. We forward this message on to the customer, who is completely understanding and glad to hear that they’ll be receiving the order soon.
Even the best brands fall behind on their fulfillment — waiting for new packaging to come in, moving, etc. If this happens to you, be proactive and honest with your customers. Send them a short email explaining the situation and give them a timeline on when they can expect their order. You might even throw in a few freebies if you can, or a discount code for their next order. Actions like this help you stand out in your customers’ minds and could mean earning a repeat customers.
When a shopper’s order is late and they hear nothing at all, it’s easy to assume the worst. It benefits both of you to get in touch before they have a chance to get upset.
Think about your own expectations when you order online — what would you expect?
Communicate: As a value-add
A few years ago I (Adam) ran an online store selling a beer pong game and related merch. (I know right?!) A couple weeks after an order was placed, I would send an email to the customer to see what they thought about the game, see if they had any fun stories from playing it, and ask for ideas on how the brand could improve. I also shared a discount code.
While not everyone responded, every person who did was blown away that I had taken the time to ask for their input. I wasn’t trying to sell them on anything, just communicating that I cared about their experience. Many of these customers went on to order more from my store based on that email alone. They were already committed to my product — now they’re committed to me and my brand. Showing your customers that there are real people behind your online storefront goes a long way.
Communicating on social media channels — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, etc. — not only keeps your brand top-of-mind for your followers, it’s also an opportunity to connect with customers. Hold contests, ask questions, gain feedback. Engage!