Each time a customer makes a purchase from your ecommerce brand they are giving you two things. The first is obvious—their business. The second, which is less obvious, is their trust. Because by putting in their credit card numbers and hitting BUY, they are trusting that this transaction will positively benefit them in some way. And if the purchase doesn’t end up working out for some reason; they’re trusting that your ecommerce brand will take care of it and them.
Returns and exchanges are one thing; they’re the easy component, like trusting someone to give you a ride to the grocery store. When something goes wrong with a shipment (a package or item within it is damaged, lost, or stolen), that’s like trusting someone to take you to the airport. There’s a lot more potential for stress.
Which means that in addition to having strong marketing, website design, products, etc. to get customers to buy from your online store, you need to invest wisely in standards and practices for resolving ecommerce shipping claims so your customers are kept happy.
What are the primary areas your ecommerce brand should focus on when it comes to resolving ecommerce shipping claims like a champ? Let’s find out the TOP 10 now!
1.) Strong Customer Service Team
Every member of your customer service team is an important asset that can make or break a customer relationship. Within the course of one online chat, an isolated email response, or a single phone call, someone who bought from your ecommerce brand can be influenced whether or not to buy from you again. For that reason, it’s critical that when more frustrating issues like lost, damaged, or stolen orders occur, your staff is properly trained to handle them with customer service best practices.
ShipMonk may be first and foremost known as the ecommerce industry’s leading 3PL for omnichannel order fulfillment services; however, we’re also unique in the industry for our high-caliber customer service. We believe in communication, transparency, and a problem-solving mindset. Having a team dedicated to making clientele happy even created our support team namesake: Happiness Engineers.
We highly encourage any and all ecommerce brands to ensure their customer support teams embrace the same mission because, at the end of the day, the name of the game is happiness if you want repeat business. And when issues occur, that happiness matters even more, which means your team’s efforts to secure it should heighten as well on your quest toward swiftly resolving ecommerce shipping claims.
2.) Have Helpful Information
In regular inquiries of customer service, this would mean knowing your ecommerce brand’s products, services, sales, and policies inside and out. For concerns related to resolving ecommerce shipping claims, your customer service team needs to know the full process a customer will have to go through to report an issue, and be able to walk them through that process if necessary. The customer is already upset in this case, so they don’t have the patience to learn anything complicated. You need to impart the information that makes it easy for them to get this taken care of.
3.) Provide the Option for Self-Service
Some people don’t have time for a phone call or email or online chat with an ecommerce brand representative. In this case, the key to saving them time and effort also saves your ecommerce brand time and effort. If you offer a self-service portal for filing a report on lost, damaged, or stolen products, resolving shipping claims is simplified for both parties. For example, ShipMonk offers MonkProtect—a fully-integrated post-purchase suite with an automated claims portal where customers can easily self-report issues and they can quickly get automatically approved in most cases.
4.) Send Status Updates
People like to be in the know. Once an order from your ecommerce brand has been processed at an order fulfillment center or warehouse, regular order status updates are key to keeping a customer content. When it comes to resolving ecommerce shipping claims, status updates are just as important because customers want to know what’s going on with their replacement items or refunds. Arguably, status notifications once claims have been filed may be even more crucial because following an order customers are excited about the arrival; following a mess up, they’re more concerned and the potential for satisfaction has already gone down.
Customer service team members need to be cognizant of this and be well-versed in locating customer claim status updates if anyone inquires about them. At the same time, making a branded tracking page available to customers via ShipMonk’s post-purchase suite MonkProtect can also make a big difference so customers can check in on their statuses as frequently as they like.
Remember, when it comes to ecommerce brand orders, there’s no such thing as over communication. Keeping your customers in the loop at every stage of the order fulfillment and claims resolution process reduces their stress and your customer service interactions. Ecommerce industry data shows that the average customer checks the tracking page seven times per order, and that’s when nothing has gone wrong yet. Can you imagine the average number of checks when there is an issue involved? No need to imagine if you over communicate. Whether your ecommerce brand is sending out packages via omnichannel order fulfillment services or is dealing with resolving ecommerce shipping claims, you could avoid a high number of interactions with an overabundance of info and automated ways for it to be sent out.
5.) Be Present
Customers should be able to find the answers they need, and the help they need, quickly. There is something wrong if a company’s contact information isn’t easily accessible and customer service representatives aren’t avidly available. So regardless of the type of ecommerce brand, in order to placate the displeasing situation of lost, damaged, or stolen goods, it is vital that customers can find ways of resolving ecommerce shipping claims without jumping through hoops. That means the contact/claims info on your website is a no-brainer to find. That means providing multiple means of contacting customer service like online portals, apps, and instructions inserted within packages and sent via email.
This can doubly benefit your ecommerce brand because by providing clear and obvious ways for customers to file claims, they won’t leave negative comments about their unsuccessful orders in inappropriate places. It is entirely possible they could harm your brand reputation in their attempts to get your attention, for example through online review sites and social media platforms.
6.) Move Like the Wind!
Like running track, every second counts when it comes to resolving ecommerce shipping claims. To diffuse the bad press of lost, damaged, or stolen goods, ecommerce brands need to move fast to remedy the situation. When resolving ecommerce shipping claims, make your team accessible as often as possible. If you don’t have 24/7 customer support, have ways for customers to leave messages after hours, and have it clearly displayed when they should expect to receive a response—24 hours or less is awesome, 24 – 48 hours is good, anything past that when it comes to resolving ecommerce shipping claims starts to decrease your odds of that customer shopping with your ecommerce brand again.
Apps, automated claims portals, and returns management systems can assist with the speed. If you have an ecommerce brand, it’s highly advisable that you work with a 3PL provider like ShipMonk that offers advanced software for handling claims, managing your inventory, and keeping an eye on your shipping statuses. You’ll be able to sync that to your ecommerce brand’s predetermined conditions to add extra efficiency to the process.
7.) Centralize Customer Data
When customers seek help with resolving ecommerce shipping claims, they’ll go through the whole story and all the details with whatever customer support person or portal your ecommerce brand provides. It may be a pain, but they do it in good faith that this will be handled in one interaction. If the claim doesn’t get resolved after the first attempt, and they have to try again, now the customer is in a much more negative headspace because they’re wasting extra time. And goodness forbid that when they contact customer support for the follow up none of their info has been logged in your system.
By keeping track of customer data related to orders in one central database, your support team will be able to look up orders, claims, and statuses without customers needing to go through all the details again. With this type of failsafe, no part of the customer or order journey can fall through the cracks.
Moreover, any support team member from your ecommerce brand can step in to check on, escalate, or resolve an issue. In short, centralized data means you have more people who can handle issues and customers don’t have to repeat themselves, which only adds stress and lowers the chances you’ll ever get their business again.
8.) Segment by Issue
There is a wide range of things that could go wrong with an ecommerce order. The status could say delivered, but the customer never got it. Maybe a package showed up, but one item was damaged. Whatever the case, it is sure to be resolved sooner if your ecommerce brand has a way of segmenting claims by issue. Having an automated way for customers to file claims saves them time. Having questions within that filing process that push the claim into the right pile means it can be reviewed faster and resolved faster.
9.) Make it Easy and Free
These days, most ecommerce brands have easy online portals set up for returns and exchanges. Gold stars for all the ecommerce brands that go one step above that and have easy online portals for filing claims regarding lost, damaged, or stolen goods (i.e. like MonkProtect). This is a win-win. According to Salesforce, the combination of self-initiated returns and free shipping is the experience preferred by 64% of consumers. Of course it is, right? After an order goes wrong, making the replacement or reimbursement of said order easy and free is a must to protect your ecommerce brand reputation.
Best case scenario—your customer can simply click a link in their email or on your website to file a claim, the questions are straightforward, the response time is rapid, and before they know it a new package is being sent free of charge to their door. Worst case scenario—the customer has to go full Sherlock Holmes to find a way to contact someone. The result of that contact is a lengthy chat, followed by the customer printing a physical claim document, filling it out, uploading it, and emailing it to the ecommerce brand, who emails it to the shipping company, who gets back to them in 1 – 2 weeks. And no, that wasn’t an exaggerated example to make a point. That is actually an example of things that some ecommerce brands do. How many customers who go through that are ever shopping from them again though?
Moral of the story: don’t be the latter brand. Make resolving ecommerce shipping claims easy and free.
10.) Offer Package Protection
It’s not an ecommerce brand’s fault if an order is lost, damaged, or stolen. It’s true the chances of this are minimized when you work with an industry-leading 3PL that utilizes fully-integrated inventory, order, and warehouse management software, as well as state-of-the-art fulfillment centers. However, shipping mistakes and accidents happen out there in the wilds of the world. So while what goes on out there isn’t your ecommerce brand’s fault, it is your responsibility to fix it. You can do that with package protection and post-purchase suite offerings.
That’s why ShipMonk created MonkProtect, which makes the process of resolving ecommerce shipping claims 10X easier with a sophisticated automated claims portal, branded tracking pages so customers can check their order statuses, and many other unique ways to protect your ecommerce brand from the toll that lost, damaged, and stolen orders can take on your business.
Protect Yourself Too
Throughout this article we’ve talked about the best practices for resolving ecommerce shipping claims. However, the above words of wisdom have been dominantly focused on making the customer’s life easier. How about yours?
We discussed the benefits that self-reporting options like automated claims portals, centralized customer data, and segmenting claims can have on your business. Let’s talk about a few other ways you can protect your ecommerce brand from lost, damaged, and stolen merchandise.
1.) Sustainable Packaging
The cost of resending items can add up in more ways than one. Have you ever considered saving your ecommerce brand money by utilizing recycled packaging or sustainable packaging? There are plenty of green ecommerce packaging options out there that your company can use. You could also encourage customers who’ve filed claims to return damaged merchandise in the same packaging it was shipped in. One, consumers appreciate greener ecommerce brands. Two, this saves them the hassle of finding alternative packaging. Three, it saves you expenses on new packaging.
2.) Preferred Shipping Rates
As noted above, the “shipping” part of resolving ecommerce shipping claims can take a toll financially. The best way to offset that is by ensuring you are getting the best shipping rates. Carriers differ; however, one thing that remains constant is the money-saving side to ShipMonk’s Virtual Carrier Network. This unique cross between rate shopping and transportation management strategy keeps your ecommerce brand from being handcuffed to any one carrier, and is constantly searching for the best shipping costs available to you.
3.) Reverse Logistics
If you have a strong fulfillment center network that efficiently and accurately gets your orders out the door, that’s excellent! ShipMonk values fast and effective picking, packing, and shipping; in fact, we have 4X faster pick times than the industry average with a 99.9% accuracy rate. That being said, logistics services are only one side of the coin to your ecommerce brand. Reverse logistics are just as important because for your ecommerce brand to be firing on all cylinders, orders sent back need to be processed, unpacked, restocked, replaced, etc. with equal efficiency. The more efficient your reverse logistics plan, the more time and money your business will save. Hence why all ShipMonk locations are equipped to operate at the highest level of reverse logistics excellence.
A Bold, But Very True Claim
ShipMonk has become the 3PL provider of choice for ecommerce brands across the world in all verticals because of our superior logistics offerings, advanced technology, continuous innovation, and award-winning customer service. We know what it takes to keep clients happy, and we’d love to help your ecommerce brand install safeguards at every cornerstone of your operation so your customers always feel taken care of too.
If you would like to talk with one of our Happiness Engineers about all the ways our 3PL order fulfillment services can benefit your ecommerce brand and your customers, contact us today. Your customers matter to you, and our clients matter to us, so we have your back on all fronts and that’s the bottom line.