Customer Service and Warehouse Operations are the unsung heroes of just about every successful business.
Customer Service can look very different depending on the business but those that manage their customer service with the Customer First approach will have a huge impact on the bottom line. I’ve always admired Zappos and their approach which is laid out nicely in the book Delivering Happiness.
I say that this can look very different because if you look at Amazon you don’t see a highly attentive customer service team, it is nearly impossible to figure out how to contact them. But they make up for this with building processes that are very easy to use. Returns and order problems are a few clicks away from getting it all done, without a human.
The warehouse and shipping departments are equally responsible for the success, and most certainly the hidden warriors of your business. This is why most companies put Customer Service and Shipping under the same department; the two have to be working together.
The reason that these two departments are so important is that they are the only two that actually talk and touch the customer directly, at least for an online business.
The order that ships perfect is easy. It is the order that ships wrong or late that causes an email, live chat, or phone call. While this is a small fraction of the shipments, it is likely the most important and time-consuming. How you deal with the issues is arguably more important than the order that went seamlessly.
Most people don’t leave a review when you meet their expectations, but they certainly do when you let them down.
The shipping department is the last person to touch the box, they are responsible to get the right product to the right person. And as silly as it sounds, they have the ability to wow the customer by how the box and product is packaged. What the customer sees when they open the box can certainly change their expectation. This is reinforced and backed up by this great blog from Shopify on the power of Ecommerce Packaging.
Believe it or not, there are some companies that include handwritten notes and pictures inside their boxes. It sounds unscalable to most, but if your brand is important to customers the extra 30 seconds can be worth it. There are also services like Handwrytten that can do it at scale.
What is clearest is that building loyalty requires that you invest in customer service and fulfillment. While you can minimize order issues you will never eliminate them. However, those that handle turmoil the best will have the loyalist customers of all.