5 tips for providing outstanding customer service


Raise your bottom line and win customers by revamping your supply chain to ensure a convenient experience.

Keeping customers happy is at the core of every successful business. Stellar customer service is the key to an optimal experience for every person, every time. When you exceed your customers' expectations, you build a rapport that translates into loyalty and repeat business. Here are five easy strategies to customize your supply chain and make your business even more responsive to your clients' needs.

Especially in this fast-moving world, customer service is paramount to your company's success.

Returns: Think inside the box
A flexible, lenient return policy encourages browsers to become buyers, says Melanie Alavi, a retail segment marketing manager for UPS. Reassure customers that whatever they purchase can be easily returned or exchanged, and they will be more likely to buy.

A recent comScore study of online shopping habits, commissioned by UPS, found that 63 percent of Internet shoppers viewed a retailer's return policy before making a purchase, and for a good reason: Nearly two-thirds of shoppers said they had returned a product they purchased online.

Promote your company's easy returns policy on your website and other marketing materials, and make it easy for customers to initiate a return. UPS Returns® offers both peel-and-stick labels sent with your merchandise and labels that customers can access on your website and print from home.

Southern Tide, an apparel manufacturer, includes a UPS Returns label in every package it sends out from its Greenville, S.C., warehouse. "A big part of our consumer strategy is to make it easy to return things that don't work for whatever reason," CEO Jim Twining says.

Drop-offs: Think outside the box, too
If customers want to return an item, how easy is it for them to get it back to you? UPS has more than 60,000 drop-off locations nationwide, including The UPS Store®, Staples and Office Depot stores, retail shipping outlets and UPS Drop Boxes. Some 65 percent of Americans live no more than a mile away from a UPS drop-off site.

NuShoe, a mail-in shoe-repair business based in San Diego, puts that convenience to work for its customers. The company relies on UPS Returns to allow customers to ship boots, sandals and stilettos from UPS drop-off sites or even have them picked up from their doorsteps.

Delivery: Offer a rich variety of options
Forty-two percent of online shoppers have abandoned the items in their cart because of dissatisfaction with the retailer's estimated delivery date, the comScore survey found. And of that 42 percent, 24 percent walked away because the retailer did not provide an estimated delivery date.

"They can abandon their shopping cart if they can't get it when they need it," UPS's Alavi says. "If they need it in two days and can't get it from you, they'll get it from someone else or not buy it at all."

Though two-thirds of customers choose the most economical option when shopping online, they want and expect to have other options. Don't disappoint them. UPS offers a suite of delivery options, including UPS Ground (within one to six days, depending on origin and destination ZIP Codes), and numerous air options (in one to three days).

Staff: Help keep your team focused
Customer service can suffer if employees have to shift their focus from clients to receive inbound inventory. With Quantum View® you can receive proactive notification of deliveries and customized tracking of inbound and outbound packages. When you have a big order on its way, you can schedule a shift overlap or call in additional staff so your customer-facing services remain blissfully unaffected.

Communication: Put the customer in control
Good communication is a foundation of great customer service. With UPS delivery alerts by e-mail or text, your customers will always know where their packages are. If a consumer signs up for UPS My Choice®, they can have a package rerouted, held for pickup or rescheduled for another delivery date. "We are helping your customers have the flexibility and control they want over their packages," Alavi says.

The more options and communication you provide, the less time your employees will spend fielding questions about estimated delivery dates.


Reader Comments

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Karla Procopio
You should be the last company giving suggestions on keeping the customer happy. Profits, profits, profits. I laugh at your presumptuous attitude in this article.
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