It’s not uncommon to receive emails from customers reporting broken items or lost boxes. Maybe it was the fault of your shipping provider, or maybe your packing staff. Either way, you’ve got to make it right.
While there are a few tools in your belt, such as issuing partial credits for future shipments or partial refunds, a simple, effective way of fixing the problem is by sending out a replacement box.
Here are 4 techniques to make sure this monthly process doesn’t become cumbersome and that replacements are sent out promptly to preserve your relationship with that customer.
Make sure you have an organized way of managing support requests.
This first step is key. Before you can promptly and efficiently manage all incoming support requests, you need a central place to organize and respond to customer inquiries. I recommend using a customer service application like Zendesk, osTicket, Zoho, or FreshDesk. Look out for our guide on ‘How to Implement a Solid Customer Support Strategy.’
Create a Prompt for Support Agents
Make sure that your customer support person (or team) has a fast, effective way for organizing replacement boxes that need to be sent out. If you’re using a customer support application (like mentioned above). You can create a special e-mail template to respond to customers that submit tickets about a missing box or damaged item, also known as a macro. When using e-mail templates make sure to edit each one to make them feel more personal. Mention the missing product by name and reflect the level of emotion shown by the customer.
Tip: I also suggest adding a tag to the e-mail template, such as ‘replacement’, so you can leverage data down the road, and work in the average number of replacements into broader cash planning and budgeting. For me, this data has been valuable for budgeting by giving me a better idea of how many broken or missing boxes I need to anticipate for.
Use a Shared Google Doc
Next, create a central location for customer support agent(s) to add customer information for boxes that need to be replaced. I suggest a Google Spreadsheet – it’s live, can be edited by multiple people, and can be turned into an .csv file for uploading into your shipping software.
It’s important to realize that the nature of Google docs updating/having multiple users can mean information is lost if people ‘work over’ each other. That is, edit the same field at once, or apply edits before refreshing or making sure the doc is refreshed. Be sure that your team understands the best practices behind using a live Google Doc.
Streamline Agent Responsibility
Part of the drag from replacements comes from the amount of data entry your agents are faced with – they’ll have to copy/paste lines of information.
Instead, minimize keystrokes overall by only having agents enter the name/item(s) that need to be replaced, and then delegate the task of “completing” the spreadsheet to someone specifically. This agent is responsible for filling in the doc with such information as order #, full shipping address, and contact email. That agent then passes off the file to fulfillment so they can create labels and build boxes.
Have Supplies Ready & Schedule Pickup for Replacements
Be prepared by having a workstation already set up. Not much is needed besides spare boxes, tape, packing material, and products at hand. It’s also suggested that you have an ‘extra item’ bin, so you can easily add that little something more to replacements to improve customer experience.
Fine tuning these strategies based off the cycle of your business and the tools your team has is critical. Maintaining positive relationships with your customers by always going above and behind is the key to building a sustainable and successful subscription business. If you remain mindful of the basics steps of the replacement process, you’ll find that replacements don’t have to be a headache after all!