The first step to building more consumer trust—and thereby more consumer loyalty—is understanding that the buyer’s journey is not a linear path; it’s more of a loop that continues after the buy button, through the post-purchase experience, and then right back to where it started, at the sale.
In today’s digital world, ecommerce brands are differentiating themselves in new ways that take the full retail customer lifecycle into account. Between clicking “Add to Cart” and interacting with your product, your customers encounter many touchpoints with your brand, presenting you with more opportunities to woo them with positive, relevant experiences.
More and more companies are realizing that the post-purchase experience is a great place to build trust and drive loyalty. Smart brands will curate their buyer’s experience through delivery and beyond to maximize the chance of repeat business and lifelong fans. Here are four easy ways to build consumer trust and turn the linear buying path into a continuous loop of customer love:
Let retail customers know what to expect.
Of course, one way to avoid a bad post-purchase experience is to prevent any confusion in the first place. Surfacing block-letter return policies that can’t be ignored and clear estimated delivery dates (EDD) are easy ways to inform customers while also laying the groundwork for a positive experience down the road.
Make sure all relevant delivery and returns information is displayed prominently to avoid misunderstandings.
Communicate bad news early and often.
Don’t avoid or delay delivering the news when an ecommerce order goes awry. Communication about disruptions such as delays, incomplete delivery attempts, or damaged orders is critical. People usually forgive the occasional mishap if they feel like they matter to you. In fact, Narvar’s recent consumer study on customer communication found that 98% agreed on the following: “Even if it’s bad news, I feel better if the company tells me about it as soon as possible.” Proactive, frequent, and honest communication throughout the customer journey is a great way to build trust and can greatly reduce the impact of snags.
Avoid the dreaded “WISMO” (Where Is My Order?) call by communicating with a customer when an order is expected to ship, if and when that status changes, when it actually ships, and when it has arrived.
Open up multiple channels of communication.
Increasingly, customers want to receive updates through a variety of channels across touchpoints—38% of consumers want to hear from retailers in multiple ways, which can include email, messenger apps, and texts. You don’t want to assume every customer wants to receive messages through every channel, however, so one of the best ways to hit the mark on this one is to simply ask.
Offer the option for customers to opt-in to receive updates via a variety of channels old and new to easily reach them wherever they are.
Take a closer look at post-purchase operations.
There are, of course, challenges to getting post-purchase communications exactly right. One obstacle that retailers come up against time and time again comes from limited visibility into carrier operations. In the customer’s mind, the retailer should own the entire journey, so it’s just not acceptable that they might not know where a package is while en route. It can be difficult to marry the data within order management and carrier systems, but one way to solve this is with a post-purchase platform that both extends the brand experience to the whole customer journey, and works on the back-end to connect disparate systems.
Get a bird’s eye view of what’s going on behind the scenes to pinpoint places for optimization and get ahead of fulfillment problems before they occur.
A final insight: when there’s trust, it’s easier to beg forgiveness. Consistent, proactive communication with customers throughout the journey—especially when things don’t go quite right—will help you win more loyal customers and find success over and over again.
To learn more about creating more positive customers experiences through communication, be sure to download our latest eBook, How to Communicate Throughout the Customer Journey.