It is exceedingly difficult for people working in retail to keep customer satisfaction up during these times. Store access, mask requirements and depleted inventory gets in the way of happy customers. Shipping delays are a big issue right now. Take the example of bicycle shops – many of them ran out of bikes and can’t get more until next year! And parts to do repair work are taking a lot longer to ship than they used to. What is the best way to deal with this: communication!
- Under promise and over deliver. Setting expectations that are achievable is important. If you get a date range on your deliveries, it is probably best to tell the customer the latest date to expect the product and if it arrives earlier, they will be pleasantly surprised. Build in a little wiggle room for unexpected delays.
- Be up-front and honest and don’t sugar-coat the situation. If you don’t know when a product is going to arrive, it’s best to say you don’t know. This helps the customer to trust you even if you do not have all the answers. Deliver any updates you have right away without delay.
- Show empathy. We’ve all experienced delays in receiving items during these times. Amazon used to have two-day shipping and now it’s difficult to receive many items for weeks and sometimes months if they’re coming from overseas. If you can convey some understanding for their frustration, it can help to ease their disappointment.
Hopefully, we will all be able to get back to delivering products and services at the rate that we were able to prior to these times. Customers might stay loyal to your business because they appreciated your honest and straightforward approach to communicating messages that they did not want to hear. Sometimes building trust happens during uncomfortable situations.