How To Handle Backorders - Customer Service Tips - Business Automation
Trevor here with eCommerce Paradise.
I'm back with another episode. Today it's going to be about what to do when you get an order for an item that is out of stock, discontinued, or the price has gone up since you first listed it on the website.
This is pretty common with dropshipping. The issue can often arise because the supplier doesn't send you consistent stock updates or consistent pricing updates. If they discontinued a model and didn't notify you won't know that you need to take it off your website. This happens from time to time, and you just have to have templates for canned responses to send to customers.
What we usually do is prepare a canned response that we tell people. It either has to do with the item being out of stock. For instance, the price went up, what we'll say is that the item had been discontinued, but a newer version has been released. The newer version is a little bit more expensive because the quality of the materials has gone up. That kind of canned response works really well.
There are also times when we apologize. These are for having an item that is out of stock. We apologize upfront and write something that would make them feel appreciated. Let your customers know that the item is no longer available. Tell it to them nicely. If you have other variations of the product and the one they want is out of stock, give them options. Give them a lead time for when the item will be back in stock.
We don't usually keep orders if it's going to be past a month, but sometimes we do. I was actually talking to a supplier the other day, and he was telling me what some of the other retailers do. They do many backorder processing things that bigger eCommerce businesses don't do. It's a big pain in the butt to follow up and a lot of things to fall through the cracks. They have many automation in their systems that don't allow for that kind of stuff to happen anyway. He was telling me basically that the biggest retailers he works with don't do that kind of stuff, whereas smaller retailers always do that kind of stuff. And so that's a big, unique proposition for your small businesses.
Look forward to doing a lot of backward in processing. Yes, it can be slightly painful at times. You just have to understand your role in the supply chain, and that is that you are a retailer. In other words, you're getting a product from a supplier, and you're shipping to the customer. You have to go back and forth between the supplier and the customer at all times. You can build automation in place for doing this kind of stuff.
Use Boomerang for Gmail to make sure that things get back to you at a certain time. You can also set up operations in Shopify. It's always good to set up automation for yourself. Have reminders because otherwise, things do fall through the cracks, especially if you have a virtual assistant that's working for you in handling this kind of stuff. You need to understand from their perspective; they're just an employee. They're going to do the least amount of work for their money as possible. It's up to you to figure out how to create these follow up things. That's pretty much how we handle that kind of stuff. I think it's important for you guys to understand that canned responses are essential to running your business without having so much stress.
Having canned responses can be very scary. It could be stressful, but if you have a template, you can shoot it out to the customer.
Having those canned responses created is great. I just created a new one today because every situation is a little bit different. Updating your responses is the best way to go. I'll have to definitely save that canned response that I sent out today because I feel like I should be apologizing when things are out of stock. Some people are willing to wait, and having Boomerang would help track the emails you have. It is a really great tool. It saves my life every day because you're relying on your supplier for the ship out of your product as an online retailer. You have to make sure that they email you back and give you traffic or let you know that it ships. I want confirmation that I received the order and confirmation that they're shipping it out. What I do is I use a Boomerang an hour when I sent the order. I Boomerang back to myself. If I don't hear from them back in an hour, then I bugger it for like a day for tracking. If I don't get tracking, I'll know that I need to ask them for tracking, and it reminds me to get back to them and all kinds of stuff. Boomerang is definitely awesome to own and to use.
I wanted to touch on a couple of things that you talked about. The first is pricing.
When you raise the price for a new product because it was discontinued, make sure that you check your competitors have also increased their prices. From a customer's perspective, when they see that you increased your price, they will look for it on other sites to see if someone has it at a lower price. Have a chat with that site, acting as a customer. You can then match their price or discover at first that they also have a faulty listing and discontinued listing, then you can tell the customer that as well.
The other thing is the images.
If you tell the customer that it's a new and updated quality product, they could ask for an image of the new product. If you cannot find an image in the market or the supplier does not have a new image of it available, you could just tell them that there is no image available. But rest assured that the quality is nicer, that they have done more to do the pre-inspections and whatnot, and that they're that the cost of goods has gone up at the manufacturing plant in China or overseas. Many of these canned responses can come off the top of your head when you do a lot of research as to how these industries work.
In my free courses, you can check it out. I have a free mini-course at ecommerceparadise.com. There in the course, I talk about the fulfillment process and the end of the supply chain. The supply chain works where you have a manufacturer in China, and then you have the importer who sometimes calls themselves the manufacturer, but really they're just the importer. Sometimes, though, the manufacturer owns the importer company; that happens a lot too.
In some industries where you have such a wide variety of products and a vast array of different types of products and sizes and colors and whatnot, you'll have things called distributors and wholesalers. These are big companies with huge warehouses that stock all these little part numbers and stuff like that. They'll have it on hand for when that customer needs the product. One example is in the security and lock and hardware industry because those industries are huge. An insanely huge niche with different types of products.
I used to work sales at a company that sold that kind of stuff, and they had warehouses all across the U.S. filled with all these different part numbers and SKUs. And even then, we would have to do custom orders all the time from the manufacturers. That's just to understand the fulfillment process and the entire supply chain.
What it comes down to is that when you understand that, you're able to come up with really cool canned responses until your customers in a very in-depth story about what's going on. Even if they don't understand what you're talking about, they'll be wowed by your experience, knowledge, and expertise. That is a way they'll trust you more, and they'll feel like you are the authority, and then they feel good about ordering in your store.
It's really good to understand how all these issues work. If you want to learn more about that, there are some really great resources online. Just go online and type things like how the supply chains work, how do manufacturers work. If you go to Alibaba.com, you'll see where all this kind of stuff originates from in China and sign up for industry newsletters and industry events and things like that and start getting things like that, because then you'll understand more in-depth there. It's really good to understand how things work in manufacturing all the way to retailing because that would really help you come up with easy canned responses right off the top of your head. That doesn't really come in handy when you're on the phone. When you're on the phone, you have to come up with a quicker response rate. You have to have the stuff in the back of your head already. Understand and make mental notes so that you can come up with a fast response.
When you're in this industry, you have to be friendly. You have to be nice to your customers. People are going to remember you. If you're good, they are going to help you. Just be friendly with them and make long term relationships because you're growing your business.
When you're on the phone, and you don't know what to respond, tell them that you don't know the answer, but you'll get back to them as soon as possible. You have to be very clear and concise with customers because if you're not, you're going to look stupid in front of them. Just tell them you don't know, and eventually, you'll be able to come up with the canned responses faster.
Make sure that the customer feels appreciated and respected. Also, call them by their name. When you say somebody's name, especially midway through some sentence, you're saying that kind of stuff really helps people like you. It just really helps build a friendly relationship. And that's what you want. You want to build a friendly relationship between you and the customer because that customer is providing.
Hope you enjoyed this video. Let us know what kind of topics you want to hear in the future. Do you want to hear topics more about customer service, the sales? Do you want to hear more about business automation? Do you want to hear more about web design, getting suppliers, researching markets and niche selection, stuff like that, or driving traffic? What kind of topics do you want to hear more about? So let us know in the comments below.
We'll see you next time. Hopefully, everybody is getting sales on their jobs.
eCommerce Paradise was created by Trevor Fenner of Seattle, Washington in 2015 to help you, the entrepreneur, to start and scale your own eCommerce business selling high-ticket products online with the drop shipping fulfillment method so you can make more profit per sale, have a sustainable and evergreen online business, get started with very little upfront investment, and live a location independent lifestyle. Trevor owns multiple 7-figure High-Ticket Drop Shipping eCommerce stores and is a digital nomad, traveling the world while working remotely with the help of his team of over 10 virtual assistants from around the world. Trevor is currently located in Bali, Indonesia. Trevor is also a passionate skateboarder, surfer, scuba diver, photographer, environmentalist, outdoorsman, fitness and tattoo enthusiast.
AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate referral links. I will get a commission from the vendor when you make a purchase after clicking them at no added cost to you. As a result, many of them also provide you with a special discount just for using my link. You can go directly to their support if you have any issues with their software or product.
Step-By-Step Training for High-Ticket Drop Shipping
Here are the next steps you'll need to take to start your high-ticket dropshipping business:
- Lesson 1: Research The Market And Choose Your Niche
- Lesson 2: Start Your Shopify Website and Legal Business Structure
- Lesson 3: How To Find And Recruit The Best Suppliers
- Lesson 4: Optimize Your Shopify Website and Sales Funnel
- Lesson 5: Launch Your Store With Paid Traffic
- Lesson 6: How To Manage Your Business
- Lesson 7: Automate and Outsource Your Day-To-Day Work
Resources for Starting A High-Ticket Drop Shipping eCommerce Store
These are the resources I've created to help you start your own high-ticket dropshipping eCommerce store:
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