Let’s face it.
We all want our parcels to be delivered to our customers without any hiccups. While we should always strive to provide the best possible customer experience, handling issues and delays is part and parcel of every eCommerce merchant’s life.
Can Delays Be Good News?
Handling customer’s issues or feedback well can do wonders for your customer’s perception of your brand. UK-based Complaints mediation service found 92% of British consumers are unwilling to return to a brand if they handled a complaint poorly. In contrast, 52% thought more highly of a brand if they resolved negative situations properly.
Negative situations don’t need to be bad. They can be opportunities to rebuild and even strengthen your relationship with your customers.
How do you achieve this? Let us show you how.
3 Elements of A Genuine Apology
No matter what shape or form, customers want these 3 things from you when you communicate a delivery issue to them.
What is the best way to deliver this? Let us look at one of the recognisable names in the world today – The Walt Disney Company.
What is Disney’s HEARD Framework?
Disney knows a thing or two about customer service.
They host a whooping 135 million people in their parks each year. Yet, 75% of the guests are repeat customers. With to Disney World and 132+ million yearly visitors to Disney parks worldwide, that’s an exceptionally high customer lifetime value and customer retention rate.
How did they achieve this? With an exceptional focus on customer service, detailed customer service recovery processes
At Disney, we recognise that a service failure may not always be our fault, but it is our problem.
The Walt Disney Institute
Introducing: Disney’s 5 Step Framework H.E.A.R.D For Customer Service Recovery
The service recovery technique Disney teaches is a simple acronym: HEARD
Let the customer tell their entire story without interruption. Sometimes, we just want someone to listen.
Convey that you deeply understand how the customer feels.
As long as it’s sincere, you can’t apologize enough. Even if you didn’t do whatever made them upset, you can still genuinely be apologetic for the way your customer feels.
Resolve the issue quickly, or make sure that your employees are empowered to do so. Don’t be afraid to ask the customer: “what can I do to make this right?”
Get to the bottom of why the mistake occurred, without blaming anyone; focus on fixing the process so that it doesn’t happen again.
How to use HEARD to communicate delivery delays and issues to your customers
Customers are understandably disappointed and perhaps even frustrated when they get notified of a delay or issue with their delivery. They may have tight deadlines to meet or expectations to fulfil. In this case, you need to give them the opportunity to tell their complete, uninterrupted story, whether be it through email, live chat support or on the phone.
In your post-purchase emails, you could give them the opportunity to contact you if they have any further issues during the resolution process.
Customers should be treated like individuals, rather than sources of revenue on every step of their journey.
Meaningful customer experiences start with empathy. Demonstrate more empathy in both your email and verbal conversations with customers by employing empathy statements to put yourself in their shoes.
- “If I were in your position, I would feel just as you do”.
- “You are totally right, that’s a very annoying/upsetting/frustrating experience”.
The power of a sincere apology should never be underestimated.
This should be one of your main guiding principles when communicating delivery issues to customers to show you care for them. Clearly outline the issue that led to the delivery issue or delay. Be specific and transparent about what happened, show understanding of your customer’s issue and relate to their feelings.
Apologies are important, but often the words “I’m sorry” is not enough.
Show how you are going to resolve the situation. If this is a carrier issue, give your customers easy access to follow up with the carrier or empower your customer service staff to follow up with them personally.
It’s always better to err on the side of over-communication rather than under-communication – assure your customer that you are working to resolve the problem. Proactively keep them updated on every stage of the delivery process and flag them as priority follow up for your customer service staff.
Bonus tip: Once you’ve offered a sincere apology and started communicating how you’re going to resolve the situation, you can even offer something to make up for the delay in your emails. This can be a discount code for their next purchase or a complimentary gift, for example.
Once you’ve successfully resolved the customer situation, it’s time to examine your customer service or logistics management processes to see if situations like these can be better handled or even avoided.
Consider these questions to get you started:
- Does your customer service team have sufficient communication, empathy and adaptability skills?
- Could they have handled a customer situation better or quicker?
- Examine your customer service checkpoints.
For post-purchase emails, look at the following:
- Do your tracking emails fulfil the above criteria? If not, where can they be improved?
- Consider the visuals used, do they contribute or distract from the overall message you are trying to convey?
Seek perfection, settle for excellence. Remove any personal guilt and examine the processes related to the service failure. Returning customers will appreciate your efforts to improve the experience.
The Disney Institute
Disney is one of the world recognised leaders in customer services not without reason. Use this process to assess how issues or delays are being communicated to your customers and work on improving them.
Do you need more help with creating the best Issue or Delay emails for your shop? We’ve created a set of post-purchase emails with our Email Editor like the one above. For more examples to kickstart your creativity, Enter your email here to have them delivered to your inbox!
Joshua is the Marketing Manager at Parcel Perform. He loves technology and a good book. Outside of e-commerce and Parcel Perform, you can find him in the kitchen, gym or yoga studio.