Saturday 14 December 2013

After-sale care : Tracking Customer Orders & Notifications

Customer has placed an order on your site.  You have clinched a deal with them. You do not just want to make money with this customer order, but you want them to come to your site again and again and purchase more from you. If you want them to overall happy with their purchase experience and convert them into repeated customers, after sale care of customer is very important.

If you provide an timely update to your customers, it increases the quality of customer experience as well as it reduces the number of emails or customer service calls you would get. According to a survey, it is one the most wanted features of an e-commerce store. It is also an opportunity to build relationship with your customers.

Here are some of the best practices you can follow to let you your customer track their order and provide best customer experience they are looking for. 
  1. Ability to track an order using Website
    One of the essential features you need to provide on the website is to track orders. You can have a separate page or tab to show the orders customer recently ordered and it should display all the essential information. This page should also display any changes in processing times or estimated delivery date. To access this feature, customer does not really have to login into your website. If the customer is logged in already, sure you can access the details on your account page.
    But if the customer is not logged in, you can provide an input box where users can enter a telephone number or account number or email id, which can display the order details for them. This way they do not have to remember the order id.
    The more ways you have for the customer to track the orders, less number of calls or emails you would get from the customers.  It does not just help reduce the cost to help the customers, but it builds up your relationship with the customer because of awesome customer experience.

  2. Send order confirmation notification
    As soon as you received the order,  notify your customer about the order. You can do that via Email, SMS or push based messages.  Do not just send out a nuts & bolts confirmation, add a conversational style and put focus on the customers.  Subject of the Email should be clear and they do have to really look at the Email to understand it. Make sure you have the order id, shipment tracking id, shipment address, expected shipment date as part of the Email.  Also, add details about how you can help them.

    Here are things you should include in your notification email.
    1. Order ID : It is the unique order identification by which your company can distinguish between multiple orders. Provide a direct link to the order id, so that customers can easily click and go to the order details page on your website. Using this they can verify if the order has been shipped or under processing, or stuck because of some reason.
    2. Billing address as well as shipment address.
    3. Expected ship date and delivery date. 
    4. Product details they have ordered : The mail should clearly mention which items customer has ordered and individual and total cost. It is very difficult to include all the details of the product, but make it concise to put all necessary and important information, such as Size, Color or the product. 
    5. Invoicing information
    6. Methods to cancel or amend the order. 
    7. Methods for returning the items : Include a return policy. If you want to know why customer returns the product please do read our previous posts
      Customer returns: Why it happens and lean ways to reduce them - Part-1 
      Customer returns: Why it happens and lean ways to reduce them - Part-2

      Here is what you do with the returned items and compensate the customer link.
    8. Advertising opportunityThe notification mail is an opportunity to reach out to customers, build relation with this. Do not miss an opportunity to drive your customers back to the site. You can probably include best deals on your site at the bottom of the Email. 
      Here is an example email Amazon sent to me when I placed an order. 
  3. Package dispatch notification
    When you dispatch customer's order, do send him a notification (or Email) with the required details. Include the name and tracking id of the courier, as well an any revised estimated delivery date. Provide a easy link where the customers can track the package on courier's site if needed. But generally, your order details page should also display the package shipment status.
  4. Order due delivery notification
    Send notification to the customer, few hours before the delivery or on the morning of the delivery mentioning the estimated hour of the delivery. This will help ensure some one would be ready at the delivery address to receive the package.Though this is not a mandatory service, proving this type of information makes your customers happy and will drive traffic back to your site for other orders.If you are sending SMS or push based messages, only send the necessary information and provide a link to the customer where they can login and check for more details.Provide as many ways to the customers as possible.
  5. Send other notifications to your customers regarding each step of your processing
    Send information to the customer about each of the other processing of their orders. Obviously this has be configurable in your website regarding what level of granular tracking customer wanted.You need to inform the customers when the package left the warehouse, reached their city, time due for delivery and for any failed attempts for delivery.
          Your store big or small, you can easily integrate with tracking services like AfterShip and send out notifications via their APIs.

Read about different modes of notifying the users in our upcoming articles.


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