With customer relationships top of mind for businesses, it’s no surprise that 73 percent of consumers point to experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions. In fact, 65 percent of U.S. consumers find a positive brand experience to be more influential than great advertising.
It’s important that no stone is left unturned when it comes to perfecting how your brand interacts with customers. There’s one major aspect of the experience that’s often overlooked: shipping. From delivery estimates and package tracking to shipping software and returns, shipping facilitates many interactions between you and your customers that can have a serious impact on how consumers perceive your brand.
Here’s how to use shipping to improve your customer experience and keep customers coming back for more.
Showcase Your Brand in Shipping and Order Confirmation Emails
Did you know that shipping confirmation emails are opened 1.5 times on average? They’re a no brainer for fostering customer relationships.
When you send these emails, consider:
Including a link to the order tracking page, since emails with links have two times the click rate than confirmation emails without them.
Adding your brand name in the subject line, since that has a 7 percent increase in unique open rates compared to emails without it.
Offering extra perks. For example, click-to-open rates are 16 percent higher for confirmation emails that include invitations to join loyalty programs.
Shipping confirmation emails are some of the most popular communications between a business and consumer. Test the above tips for yourself to see if they boost your post-purchase customer engagement.
Offer Peace of Mind with Seamless E-commerce Returns
Since 66 percent of shoppers look at a retailer’s returns policy before purchasing, it’s worth revisiting your policies. Make sure to include your return policy in a prominent location on your website. You want to ensure potential customers can easily find it, so they feel comfortable making a purchase.
You also need to determine how you’ll charge for returns, if at all. Customers who received free shipping on returns increased their purchases over the next two years by 58 to 357 percent.
While free returns may not be in the cards for everyone, consider offering an expedited shipping service, like USPS Priority Mail Express, to deliver your packages. Then, provide a slower service, like USPS Priority Mail, to affordably return unwanted items.
Streamline Your Shipping and Customer Support Tools
When your customers call in with support questions, it’s critical that all of your small business tools talk to each other.
Find a shipping solution that provides both a web app and a shipping API, so you have more options to connect your tools. For example, Shippo powers Trello’s Package Tracking Power-Up functionality. That means that anyone using the tool can enter a package tracking number to follow a shipment’s progress and find historical information right from the Trello card instead of going to the carrier’s website to manually enter information. Trello helps retailers keep an eye on their most important packages, even adding a red badge to any package that’s not progressing on schedule.
With a shipping API, you can integrate all shipping data with the customer support software you use, so that the CS team can find all of the information it needs in once place. Then, it can find information about the product, time of purchase, shipping service level, tracking information, and more to swiftly answer customer questions. The result? A happy CS team and even happier customers.
Shippo is an easy-to-use shipping software with a web app and API that helps businesses print shipping labels, create return labels, track packages, and much more. You can find more tips for online retailers on Shippo’s e-commerce and shipping blog.
Anthony Hizon is a Senior Product Manager driving development for Ooma Home Security. He also managed development for Ooma Internet Security and Ooma’s integration with IFTTT. Anthony holds an MS in Management Science and Engineering and a BS in Electrical Engineering both from Stanford University.
According to McKinsey, a consulting firm, more than two-thirds of Americans are holding back on outdoor activities, which means spending much more time at home. That means fewer visits to your favorite restaurant and perhaps a lot more time using streaming services. Staying at home for days and weeks at a time can get old, and with more time at home, a home phone is one of the best ways to stay in touch. Find out how home phone use during lockdown can keep you connected and productive without adding stress.
Spending more time at home: Why it’s different compared to other routines.
Many people used to have a daily routine defined by their commuting habits. You might get into your car by 8:00 a.m., drive on the freeway, and pick up coffee. Upon arriving at the office, your social habits would kick in, and you’d say hello to a few people. At your desk, you’d enjoy your coffee or tea and check social media. This gradual transition time between home and work has disappeared for many of us.
Your morning “commute” might be minutes or seconds, depending on how far away you are from your mobile devices. The advantage of staying at home is that you can save money on commuting costs and save time. The disadvantage is that you will begin to lose some of your social connections if you don’t make an effort to stay engaged. Fortunately, a phone call strategy is one of the simplest ways to stay connected in the age of social distancing and remote work.
Maintaining happiness and productivity when you are staying at home requires some thinking. You’re no longer going to encounter people on the street or in the hallway accidentally. Without these occasional conversations, you are less likely to hear about new opportunities in the business, and you may not reach your business goals as a result. Therefore, you may need a different way to stay connected. That’s where your home phone comes in to play. Here are three reasons home phone use during lockdown will help you.
Staying connected with phone calls: Three reasons why phone calls are a great choice.
Nearly everybody has access to a phone.
Whether you are staying connected with elderly relatives or those with limited technology, almost everyone has a phone. As of 2017, there were 1.4 phones for every American.
If you want to maximize your chances of being able to stay connected with colleagues and family quickly, phone calls are still the best option.
Phone calls give you better emotional depth than text messages and email.
Some newer communication tools give you new features like video calling. Those features are fun to use! However, they take some time to configure. Think back to your last few video calls. You (or somebody else on the call) probably had a problem with their microphone or sound for a few minutes. And nothing is more annoying than having the person on the other line freeze up during a conversation, bringing your lively chat to a thundering halt. By contrast, you already know how to make phone calls, dial and then focus on your conversation. It’s also much harder for an audio-only phone call to get derailed by a spotty internet connection or bad Wi-Fi. If you’re having an in-depth discussion, there’s nothing like a home phone.
What about text messaging? Certainly, texting is helpful for a simple question, like asking if somebody received the package you mailed them. However, text messages do not have the same personal depth and focus as phone calls. When you are focused on a phone call, it is much easier to have a personal discussion. You can hear the other person’s tone of voice, which makes it easier to tell if a person is angry, telling a joke or upset. Based on that understanding, you can have a better conversation.
New research has discovered that some students are having up to nine simultaneous “conversations” by text message. With that many conversations on the go, it is difficult to truly connect as you can on a phone call.
Voice calls work smoothly and are compatible with a variety of mobile devices.
Have you ever had to guide somebody through the process of downloading a communications app? It can be a tiresome process, especially if you are not technically inclined or the other person just isn’t interested in signing up for yet another service. You’d much rather focus on staying connected than attempting to guide people through technical issues.
Building a stay-at-home routine with your phone.
Now that we know why voice calls are a great option, it is time to build your staying-at-home communication routine. Since it can take time to build new habits, pick one idea for this week. After using that routine a few times, choose another technique.
Your first staying-connected-at-home routine option is to schedule a coffee chat with a friend by phone. Send an email to a friend you haven’t spoken with recently (e.g., in the past week) and suggest a time for a voice call coffee chat. Make the request simple—catch up for 15 minutes in the morning or the afternoon. Adding this to your routine, even if you only do it once per week, will go a long way toward staying connected.
The next staying-connected routine is to have a professional voice call. Depending on your situation, this could be a one-on-one call with an employee or a business partner. It could also be a follow-up meeting to get to know somebody you met recently. Pick a time on your calendar to set a reminder (e.g., Mondays from 2:00 to 2:30 p.m.) to review your contacts and reach out to somebody for a phone call. Setting aside 15-20 minutes each week to maintain professional relationships matters! Otherwise, you might fall victim to the “out of sight, out of mind” trap.
In some cases, you’re looking for something to talk about with your friends and family beyond the news. That’s where organizing a virtual streaming service party with your phone is a good option. The fourth option is to combine your home phone with a streaming service. For example, you could use an official feature like the “Netflix Party” to coordinate a viewing party. Or you could ask a few friends to get on the phone and then hit the play button at the same time. After the movie is over, you can chat about your favorite scenes.
Home phone use during lockdown: Tips to choose the right technology.
Staying connected when you are home for long periods means you need a robust home phone service. For example, you might find that your Apple devices or Android devices don’t give you all the features you need. If you need to make a lot of international calls, then use Ooma’s World plan, which includes unlimited international calls. This kind of unlimited calling is extra important during the holidays like New Year’s when many people want to call distant friends and family. Also, if you get frustrated by many unwanted phone calls, take a look at Ooma’s call blocking feature.