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Customer Service Best Practices for Dropshipping

Customer Service Best Practices for Dropshipping

1️⃣ Build a team - without breaking the bank

Unless you’re Superman, you can’t do everything by yourself. At a certain point, your business will grow at such a rate that you’ll need an extra hand (or five) to run the business.

Fortunately, you don’t have to hire a team of full-time employees to help improve your customer service for. Platforms like Zendesk can help provide 24/7 support while you focus on turning a profit.

With options like email, chat, and phone service, you can automate a lof of what you need and quickly build a freelance customer service team to handle the rest without the crazy costs.

But don’t assume that contractors can read your mind. Continually educate your team on what it means to deliver good service.

They should be able to handle customer service and understand your mission, goals, and metrics. Otherwise, you risk providing a subpar experience that doesn’t represent your brand.

2️⃣ Speed everything up

Alarm clock showing the time.

Speed is your customers’ number-one concern. That means you’ve got to streamline for speed in every area of your business, like:

⏱️ Your website: Since 70% of sales are done via mobile in 2024, you’ve got to speed up your mobile website. Don’t give people a reason to bounce from your website; use lazy load, compress images, and reduce file sizes to keep mobile shoppers around longer.

⏱️ Your service response times: Customers aren’t okay with waiting three days for a response. They want answers immediately. You can manage this with a detailed FAQ page (more on this below!), product videos or demos, or automated AI chatbots like Tidio.

⏱️ Shipping delays: Shipping delays probably aren’t your fault, but the customer doesn’t know (or care) that you’re working through a supplier.

🔥 Spark Shipping can speed things up by managing customer expectations with smart tracking solutions. If you keep customers in the loop about delays, they will likely stick with you.

3️⃣ Use multiple methods of communication

In today's digital age, how businesses communicate with their customers is rapidly evolving. You can't rely on phone calls or emails as an online store. You need to embrace a multichannel approach to communicate with your customers.

Why? Because providing various means of communication is crucial to meeting the needs of modern consumers.

It goes beyond simply offering multiple ways to reach out. It's about creating a comprehensive and tailored experience where customers genuinely feel appreciated and heard.

Below, we’ll discuss a few benefits of multiple methods of communication and why they are necessary for excellent customer service.

🗨️ Diverse preferences: Different customers have different communication preferences. While some prefer traditional phone calls, others lean toward email, social media, live chat, or even SMS.

Catering to a broad range of preferences ensures that customers can choose to interact with your customer service teams in the way that is most convenient to them.

🗨️ Responsiveness: Different channels can be used to address issues with varying levels of urgency. For quick questions or urgent issues, instant messaging or chatbots might be ideal. Email or a dedicated feedback form might be better for more detailed inquiries or feedback.

🗨️ Record keeping: Some communication methods, like email or support ticket systems, provide both businesses and customers with a clear record of interactions. This can be useful for reference, accountability, and tracking the history of customer queries.

🗨️ Efficiency: Different channels can handle different volumes and types of queries. For instance, chatbots can handle common, repetitive questions, which frees up human agents to deal with more complex issues.

🗨️ Building trust: Providing multiple channels of communication can instill a sense of trust and reliability. Existing customers feel assured when they know they have various ways to reach out and get support.

4️⃣ Create a customer service email address

Another way to foster customer success is to set up a dedicated customer service email address so prospective customers know they can contact customer service representatives quickly.

Supplying a dedicated customer service email address is fundamental in providing excellent customer service for several reasons:

✅ Professional image

A specific customer service email address (like support@yourbusiness.com) looks professional. It provides a straightforward way for customers to contact you without having to navigate complicated website pages.

✅ Efficiency and organization

Distinct from other business communications, a dedicated email address helps segregate and categorize inquiries, which lead to responses reaching customers in a timely manner.

It also makes it easier to integrate specialized tools or software, such as ticketing systems or auto-responders, that elevate the management and tracking of customer interactions.

✅ Accountability and traceability

With a specialized point of contact, there's enhanced responsibility in addressing customer concerns.

Additionally, a dedicated email address offers a clear record of all interactions, which is crucial for understanding recurring issues, resolving disputes, or offering context in prolonged customer dialogues.

You can use this data to spot poor customer service and take steps to make improvements for your customers.

✅ Scalability and segmentation

As businesses grow and the volume of interactions escalates, a dedicated email address helps keep processes scalable.

It makes expanding support teams, using advanced CRM tools, and adopting AI-driven solutions easier. Over time, customer inquiries can then be channeled to specialized departments of your online store, which will further streamline the process.

5️⃣ Stay in stock, no matter what

One of the most highly underrated customer service techniques is always having stock.

30% of shoppers say out-of-stock products give them a bad experience. Low stock means you aren’t making sales when you should be.

It might seem like a good problem to have if you're frequently selling out, but this can hurt customer satisfaction.


6️⃣ Create a “Contact Us” Page on Your Website

To enhance customer service in your dropshipping store, it's essential to have a contact page on your website. Consider your website a welcoming space where customers can easily contact you.

Place a "Contact Us" link in your main navigation menu for easy access; this ensures it's just a click away for visitors. This page should display your customer service email, which builds trust and guides customers who wish to connect with you for any inquiries.

What the contact page should include:

➡️Contact form: A simple form where customers can fill out their name, email, and message. This ensures that the business captures all essential information to respond effectively.

➡️Email address: Even with a contact form, providing a direct email address (e.g., support@yourstore.com) gives an alternative way for customers to reach out.

➡️Phone number: A customer service phone number can be invaluable for customers who prefer to speak directly or have urgent queries.

➡️Physical address: If applicable, the business's office or store address adds another layer of trust and transparency.

➡️Business hours: Indicate when the customer service team is available so customers have realistic expectations about response times.

➡️FAQ section: Addressing frequently asked questions can resolve many queries immediately without customers having to reach out.

➡️Links to social media: Some customers prefer to communicate or follow businesses on platforms like Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), or Instagram. Providing these links accommodates this preference.

➡️Live chat option: Integrating a live chat feature can provide instant responses to customer queries, which enhances the overall service experience.

➡️Response time: Giving an estimated response time helps set customer expectations. For instance, "We typically respond within 24 hours."

7️⃣ Include all product information on your website

Want to up your customer service game even more? Create great product pages. Providing comprehensive product information is crucial for delivering excellent customer service in several ways:

✅Informed purchasing decisions

Comprehensive product information helps customers make informed decisions. When they have all the necessary details at their fingertips, they can better understand whether a product meets their needs, which leads to more satisfactory purchases.

✅Reduced return rates

When customers know exactly what they're buying, they're less likely to be disappointed, which means lower return rates. This benefits customers and reduces the operational and logistical burdens of managing returns (see step 8 for more!)

✅Fewer inquiries

Detailed product descriptions and information can answer many customers' questions, which reduces the number of inquiries your customer service team receives. This allows your team to focus on addressing more complex issues, which improves overall efficiency.

✅Competitive edge

Providing thorough product information can give you a competitive edge. Customers who can find all the information they need on your site—but not on a competitor’s—are more likely to shop with you.

Implementing a strategy to ensure that all product information is accurate, detailed, and easily accessible is an investment in good customer service. This, in turn, will positively impact customer satisfaction and turn your online store into a successful dropshipping business.

8️⃣Handle returns gracefully

Dropshipping returns boxes in a van

While approximately 9% of all brick-and-mortar products are returned, 30% of all eCommerce orders are returned yearly. Ouch.

Returns are just the nature of the beast. When you sell online, there’s a greater chance that a litany of issues may arise—for example, the product wasn’t the exact color the customer expected or they ordered the wrong size.

The problem is that returns are expensive: the average cost of a return is $15, which can easily add up and put you in the red.

Putting these costs back on the buyer is tempting, but that’s a recipe for disaster. For example, 79% of customers expect free return shipping. Restocking fees are also a big headache for your shoppers, and charging petty fees will practically guarantee that they won’t be buying anything from you again.

Handle returns gracefully. That means:

👉🏼 Pricing with returns in mind: If returns cost $15 on average, reconsider your prices. Try building in that $15-per-return loss elsewhere in your budget so it doesn’t affect your bottom line.

👉🏼 Choosing suppliers carefully: Does your supplier’s return policy jibe with what your customers expect? If there’s a massive conflict in expectations, it’s time to renegotiate or choose a better supplier.

👉🏼 Giving quick refunds: Customers should be able to get a refund via their original payment option. They won’t necessarily favor a refund in the form of store credit, especially if they were unhappy with your product the first time round.

9️⃣ Listen to your customers

Cellphone on a red background

The most important thing any dropshipper can do is to gather and act on customer feedback proactively. And your customers agree: 54% of shoppers think brands should act on customer feedback.

Are you hearing the same complaints over and over again from your customers? If so, it’s probably not a coincidence. This is your chance for self-reflection to solve common issues. Whether it’s related to:

⚠️ Product color or size

⚠️ Bad packaging

⚠️ Delayed shipping

⚠️ Bad return policies

You have to get to the bottom of things. Looking at your dropshipping business through a critical lens can be challenging, but you’ll never stay profitable if you keep making the same mistakes.

Don’t wait for negative feedback.

Instead, get a customer service representative to email your customers a few times a year, proactively requesting feedback.

If you don’t get a lot of responses, offer coupons, contest entries, or rewards points in exchange for their time. You can also message loyal VIP customers to obtain their candid thoughts.

Heatmaps like Hotjar are another great option. Feedback is essential, but you must also see how users navigate your eCommerce store.

You can see their real-time experience, which will indicate where your shoppers’ interaction with your store becomes less smooth. You might discover a glitchy part of your site or opportunities to optimize your checkout process.

When you act on customer feedback, you’ll steadily see a decrease in returns, an increase in positive reviews, and more money in your pocket. It’s a win for everyone.

The Bottom Line

The market is too competitive for dropshippers to overlook something as obvious as customer service.

You can’t afford to lose customers because of subpar customer service, particularly as it is generally easy to fix.

Even if you’re a growing brand, you need a trustworthy eCommerce presence. Go from underdog to top gun by overhauling areas of your customer service operations.

If you want to improve your shopping and support experience, using tools like Spark Shipping can help a lot.

Spark Shipping can automate how you handle inventory, orders, and shipping, which reduces mistakes, saves time, and makes your customer service better.

Check out Spark Shipping for your dropshipping business and take steps to improve your customer service to meet your customers' needs. Request a demo for free today!

 

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