Considering a customer portal? Here’s what to look for.

Customer Portal

Customer service has come a long way since the days where it was seen as a “necessary evil” and only grudgingly given any resources, let alone enough to satisfy customer demand. Today, we all want to distinguish our companies with the level of service we provide, instead of just the products we sell. But this can be a challenge, as there are many aspects of customer service to get right. The most important thing of course is to answer your customer requests quickly. Whether that’s picking up the phone or answering emails, customers today expect a fast answer. Gone are the days when they’ll be satisfied waiting 24 hours or more. Next, you must support your products effectively. This aspect of customer service may involve the following, depending on what kind of products you sell:

  • Shipping replacement parts and accessories to replace those that are missing, defective or damaged.
  • Shipping and tracking evaluation units to customers for beta testing and product development purposes.
  • Receiving customers’ products that have failed for the purpose of fixing or replacing them with new or refurbished ones.
  • Receiving customers’ products returned for credit or refund.

With all of these aspects of customer service in play, the best approach is to have a single place where customers can go to create and track any type of service request. For this purpose, the customer portal – a customer facing support site that customers can login to contact you – is the preferred solution. However, the customer portal you choose must have several key features to ensure a smooth and efficient service operation that your customers will love.

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5 Benefits of Streamlined Product Service Operations

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Streamlining product service operations not only preserves company resources but also helps to increase profits and strengthens customer relationships. Competing effectively with other retailers or e-commerce companies requires high levels of operational efficiency and flexibility. It may take deep analysis of your corporate landscape and investments in various software and tools, but streamlining product service operations will benefit your company in a number of ways, including:

Lower Operating Costs: Automating various processes throughout the product lifecycle can exponentially lower operating costs. By purchasing automation software to optimize operational efficiency, your employees will be able to focus more on high-level operations management and process improvement. Certain post-sales solutions may also improve inventory management and data accuracy. It also creates an opportunity to impress your customers, build brand loyalty, and run your operations more smoothly so you can invest more in growing and improving your business – and your bottom line.

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What is Product Support Software?

Product Support Software is designed for companies that require a single application that their entire team can use to handle ALL aspects of after-sales support, including customer service, RMA management, parts & accessory requests, shipping, product testing, reporting and more. Product Support Software goes well beyond the functionality of CRM or so called “Customer Service Software” and is the best choice for companies that are focused on product support issues.

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10 Best Practices for Returns Management

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Returns – such a dreaded term. Companies don’t like them, customers don’t want to have to deal with them, yet it is an inevitable part of doing business. With booming e-commerce sales, returns are getting even more frequent. By implementing best practices for returns management, you can get ahead of the curve and stay there by offering the best possible returns experience to your customers, running your internal operations more smoothly, and maybe even increasing profits.

Establish clear return policies

Return policies don’t have to be complex. The simpler it is for customers to return something, the more likely it is that they will shop with you again. Convoluted policies, or even just policies that are hard to find or understand, work against you. Making your return policies clear and concise will also help you sell. If customers know that returning an item is easy and straightforward, they’re more likely to make a purchase.

Simplify the returns process

It should not take a rocket scientist to figure out how to return an item, so keep it simple! There is a reason why “hassle free returns” have made a comeback in recent years. Happy customers = loyal customers. If someone has a bad experience returning something, it’s bad press for your business. That will translate into fewer sales and less repeat customers, and it costs much less to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new one.

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Why Offering Free Return Shipping Is a Good Idea

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All the major e-tailers are doing it! Why, you may ask? It’s basic psychology. Free returns make an online transaction completely risk-free to the customer. They can buy something, determine if they like or do not like it, and send it back without a second thought if needed. It’s a competitive play, and it has even allowed slightly higher priced items to remain higher priced while maintaining sales and high customer satisfaction rates simply for the offer of free return shipping. A recent survey from Deloitte found that 55% of customers are influenced by easy returns and 72% find free shipping important when making a purchasing decision. Some companies have even found that making their “Free Returns” policy more visible to consumers has increased their profits by over 350%. This should not come as too much of a shock, all things considered. Take the customer perspective into consideration for a moment. To the average consumer, free return shipping means:

Peace of Mind

Return shipping costs can be a huge sales deterrent. In some cases, they can be 50% of the cost of an item or more – that’s a huge incentive to drive to the nearest store to get what you need instead of placing an online order. By offering free return shipping, you’re giving customers peace of mind which is what increases conversion rates and drives brand loyalty.

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Why should I pay for shipping?

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Have you ever needed to return a defective product, only to find out that YOU were expected to pay for return shipping? I have. And I was NOT happy. If a product fails, it should be the company’s responsibility to get me a replacement FAST. If the failure is their fault, why should I, the customer, be expected to spend my hard-earned money to pay to return the product?

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