Being your own boss and having an online business is a dream come true in so many ways. However, there will always be something about how you’re making a living that bugs the heck out of you whether you work for someone else or for yourself. E-commerce and brick-and-mortar businesses share many of the same headaches, but some problems are specific to e-commerce.
Good customer service skills don’t always come easy. Some customers prefer face-to-face discussions, especially when they’re upset. For the most part, e-commerce customer service needs to be done via email, text or phone—almost any way other than in person, which poses special challenges. Before you tackle a situation with a customer or a vendor, look at the situation. What is the complaint? How can it be fixed? Most important is to determine how you can solve it. Remember to smile when you’re speaking on the phone. When you communicate through email, choose your words carefully. Take responsibility for a situation gone bad, and do your best to remedy any problems quickly. As you become familiar with customers and vendors, you will learn what type of communication and solutions work best for them.
There are many facets to order fulfillment, and trying to do all of them by yourself can become overwhelming very quickly. One of the biggest learning curves that business owners face is figuring out where to store inventory. Depending on your products and your workspace, you might have to rent an area to store merchandise. If your products are small enough, a spare room at your house might work. On the other hand, storing inventory is not a problem at all if you drop-ship your merchandise. If you are fulfilling orders yourself, including a brief, personalized note to the customer will make them feel special.
To Drop Ship or Not to Drop Ship?
Dropshipping has taken off as a popular business model for online businesses. There is little customer contact, although it’s imperative that your customers receive the best customer service possible. Make sure your contact information is readily available on your website in the form of an email address or phone number. It can be easy to scale up when you use a drop-shipping service since you won’t have to find a physical space to store your expanding inventory.
Whether you will be storing inventory, selling digital-only products, or offering a service, keeping your customers happy is how you will stay in business. The better relationships you can have with them, the more your business will grow.