Shopping online is overall, a solitary experience. That suits most people just fine, as it is incredibly convenient. But on the other hand, this minimization of contact with customers can make it harder for a company to differentiate itself. The experience you provide your customer when they receive their ecommerce package is an opportunity to help strengthen the bond you’ve created during the customers purchase.

Last week I talked about the importance of choosing the appropriate print method for your packaging. I also talked about the importance of those first moments the customer spends with the product. If there is a time when the customer might reach out to you, it is those first few moments, when questions, or new needs may arise as they prepare to use the product for the first time. You can use your packaging to prepare for that moment. If the customer decides to reach out to you, what options do you want to give them? Direct contact by phone? a direct link to FAQ on your web site? Do you want them to reach out to you via social media or chat? These different options involve business choices, but whatever you decide, it must be crystal clear to the customer on your packaging.

That said, in a world with more and more products, good service is a powerful differentiator. As large portion of calls, emails or chats into customer service departments involve setup and familiarization with the product, here are a few points to consider for your service department for those all-important initial contacts:

  • Make a good first impression

First impressions are lasting ones. Make sure you have experienced and empathetic people in your contact center to help the end user. No matter how basic the customer’s knowledge is, no matter what barriers there are to the communication, such as language or distractions at the customer’s end, their experience with your company must be pleasant and efficient.

  • Have detailed scripting available to your contact agents

In any contact center, there are certain types of requests that make up the majority of the call//chat/email volume. Make sure these are properly scripted, so all agents to be able to respond to them in a uniform fashion. If you don’t have scripts yet, sit down with your top agents for a few hours and detail in writing how they go through the most frequent calls. Include procedures, responses to objections and follow up procedures when necessary.

  • Make sought after information widely available

On your web site or in your social media accounts, make sure your Frequently Asked Questions are well covered and always up to date. If some answers are complex, offer PDFs to download, or even podcasts. If you have a phone system, record the answers to the top questions. If the customer realizes they can solve their problem on their own with clear instructions, this can reflect well on your company.

The quality of the customer’s first post-sales interactions with you will weigh in heavily in your (hopefully) long-term relationship with them.

In my next post we’ll look at more package-specific choices for online purchases that can help strengthen the bond between you and your customer.