How to Reduce Customer Service Queries Post-Purchase

Better late than never? Not in the e-commerce realm. 

When shopping online, there’s nothing worse than not knowing when (or if) the purchase gets delivered. In fact, 84% of global shoppers are concerned about packages not arriving on time — and the older customers get, the less likely they are to give second chances.

Here’s the thing: customer satisfaction comes down to managing expectations and paying attention to the delivery promise from the start.

If you still get a lot of customer queries (especially the dreaded WISMO question), then your after-sales experience leaves something to be desired. It’s high time to fix that. 

How to reduce customer service inquiries post-purchase

  • Publish a shipping policy page;
  • Pay attention to your order confirmation page;
  • Be transparent about the order tracking details;
  • Own the post-purchase communication.

Publish a shipping policy page 

Having a clear shipping policy from the start creates a better shopping experience for customers and reduces the workload for customer service agents, both before and after the purchase.

How come? 

In simple terms, shipping policies are documents 'issued' by online retailers that describe the delivery experience — including the available shipping options and carriers, costs, and estimated delivery times. Depending on the complexity, they can be shown on a separate shipping policy page, or in the website's FAQ section.

No matter where you decide to publish shipping information, by doing so you can avoid customer service queries related to the delivery experience, such as: 

  • What are the available delivery options
  • How about shipping costs? 
  • How long does it take to get the purchase delivered? 
  • Is there an order tracking page to follow?
  • Will there be any notifications from the carrier (or the merchant)?
  • If so, what do the shipping statuses mean, exactly?

Let’s face it. For online buyers, being able to access up-to-date delivery information at every step of the shopping journey is essential, especially if they’re really looking forward to the purchase. 

Yet, working on a shipping policy can be a tedious process for merchants, especially when done manually.

Luckily, tech solutions like Ingrid FAQ Widget make it easy for consumers to find up-to-date delivery information at all times, without a lot of hassle for online retailers.

Based on the information already configured in the Ingrid Merchant Platform and visible in the Delivery Checkout, the FAQ Widget shows the same delivery options and costs on a separate section of the merchant’s website. 

It doesn't matter how complex the delivery options are — having the shipping policy 'automated' means no manual work and no mistakes when showing and updating general delivery information.

Shipping policy page example from Hatstore
Shipping policy page example: Hatstore

Pay attention to your order confirmation page

The order confirmation page turns out to be a valuable asset that many online retailers don't use effectively. At best, there’s a note saying “thanks for the order, bye now”.

E-commerce order confirmation page example: Bombshe
E-commerce order confirmation page example: Bombshe

Now, what if the customer made a mistake when filling in the address form or choosing the delivery option? According to the Fixing Failed Deliveries study from Loqate, when addresses are inaccurate or incomplete, 41% of deliveries are delayed and 39% fail.

Even the smallest typos and mistakes can cause both the retailer and the carrier some serious trouble while frustrating the customer in the process.

So, instead of just thanking your customers for the order — or not saying anything at all — why not show them a detailed receipt with the ordered products, address information, payment method, and chosen delivery option?

This way, you can help your customers double-check all the information once more, and let them fix the mistakes before the order is processed further.

Ingrid Receipt
Ingrid Receipt

Be transparent about the order tracking details 

Where Is My Order (WISMO) is probably your customer support agents' least favorite question to answer.

After they complete their purchase, customers begin treating the products as their own. But between placing an order and receiving it, a lot can go wrong. Issues like lost parcels, broken items, or delivery delays are not exactly unheard of.

The problem is, even the smallest hiccup along the way triggers pre-parcel anxiety, which makes your customers want to contact the support team via multiple channels right away.

Luckily, there’s a correlation between the effectiveness of the order tracking, the after-sales emails — or lack thereof — and the number of WISMO inquiries. The better they are, the fewer customer queries you’re going to have.

Order tracking notification from Zalando
Order tracking notification from Zalando

Order tracking allows shoppers to — wait for it — keep track of their online orders. Along with relevant and frequent e-commerce notifications, they actually play a crucial role in reducing WISMO queries.

An example? A while back, IDEAL OF SWEDEN used Ingrid Tracking to launch a new tracking site right before Black Week to avoid unnecessary stress for their team members. It turned out to be what both consumers and customer support reps needed. 

The data proves it. Thanks to a great tracking experience, the number of delivery-related support tickets decreased from 37% to 4%.

Ingrid Tracking
Ingrid Tracking

Own the post-purchase communication

Usually, online shoppers don't know much about the progress of their order unless they constantly check the tracking page themselves, or get generic notifications from the carrier company. 

Generic email notification example from Chronopost
Generic email notification example from Chronopost

It doesn’t have to be that way, though. 

Don’t force your customers to follow the carrier tracking page to know what’s up. Instead, send them relevant and clear delivery updates via customer service email or SMS. If anything goes wrong, try to spot the issue and be proactive about resolving it before your customers have to act to get any information.

E-commerce notification from Zooplus
E-commerce notification from Zooplus

Proactive tracking notifications can truly create a better customer experience and reduce the number of customer support issues. For some reason, however, many retailers prefer to rely on third parties, such as carriers, to "handle" delivery notifications. As a result, they often have little transparency into the quantity, quality, and accuracy of the messages being sent. 

If you take a closer look at them, you'll immediately spot a thing or two that could be improved. Here’s an example of a messy after-sales communication that can generate customer service emails and calls: 

  • In the order confirmation email, the Track My Order button is a bit hidden, forcing the customer to make a lot of clicks to get to the tracking page (once you click on it, you’re first redirected to your order history);
  • For some reason, “making a return” is emphasized more than tracking at this point, even though it should be in no one's interests — at least not yet;
  • When the order is shipped, the carrier company owns the communication (which is a common practice) and sends confusing messages at times. For example, there seemed to be an option to redirect the order to the parcel shop, but the site didn’t work properly;
  • No proactive updates. The only way you can find out what’s up with your delivery is by checking the tracking link — a tricky one to get.

Keep in mind that the online shopping experience goes beyond the checkout page. Are you paying attention to all the different parts of the equation?

Instead of directing your customers to carriers' websites and relying on their generic order status messages, invest in your own tracking page and delivery notification system. Only if you want to offer an excellent customer experience and reduce questions, that is.

Order notification example: NAGO
Order notification example: NAGO

It’s high time to provide proactive e-commerce support 

You might think otherwise, but your customers don’t just want free shipping or fast delivery offered at checkout. After an order is placed, they want to be able to track its fulfillment and shipping.

“Deliveries are very contextual, how the consumers want their stuff varies a lot depending on what they’re buying and when. From our experience, not everyone is looking for speed or only home delivery options.”
Anders Ekman, Co-Founder at Ingrid

The best way to ensure a predictable experience and reduce customer questions is to make accurate delivery promises and provide relevant tracking information.

In fact, research from Shopify shows that consumers are increasingly open to supporting e-commerce brands if, and only if, they provide accurate information about expected delivery time and its current order status. 

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