With Black Friday just around the corner managing customer expectations is key to keeping your customers coming back.
Let’s be honest – Black Friday is one of the best days of the year.
And with 2020’s Cyber Monday breaking the record for the biggest online shopping day in history, it’s not something E-commerce businesses can afford to miss.
But competing with commerce giants that can offer huge discounts and free shipping can be scary for small businesses and creators, especially if it’s their first time selling during Cyber week.
There is one advantage smaller businesses have over big brands, though, and that’s customer service. While businesses can promise huge discounts and free shipping, smaller businesses and creators can give customers a personalized experience that commerce giants just can’t.
And with 90% of Americans choosing a brand based on customer service, creating an unforgettable customer experience can be a real game-changer for small brands trying to compete.
Here are five ways that you can manage customer expectations this cyber week, and provide customer service that keeps your customers coming back.
Let Customers Know What to Expect
One of the best ways to manage customer expectations is to set them.
Although it’s tempting to promise things like next-day delivery to compete with the bigger chains – don’t. Be realistic about what you can guarantee customers, and they’ll appreciate the honesty.
If you know, for instance, that orders will take longer to ship because of the pandemic – make sure customers know that when they place their orders. That way you’ll avoid a bunch of angry emails complaining about packages that haven’t arrived.
Aim to have consistent information about your offers across your site, socials, and in all your cyber week marketing. Another good idea is to send out a detailed confirmation email once customers make a purchase, telling them about shipping times, deliveries, and next steps.
Personalize Your Customer Experience
As a small business on Black Friday, one of the big advantages you have over e-commerce giants is being able to personalize shopping experiences.
Doing something that stands out and makes customers feel like VIPs means you’ll be remembered for the right reasons – and hopefully, you’ll get some positive publicity out of it.
We spoke to Sanjay Aggarwal from The Spice Kitchen UK, who shared how personalizing deliveries has helped him keep customers loyal for years. “Customer service is key to our business,” he says. “So packaging is really big for us. We like to include a handwritten card, or even gourmet chocolate for wholesale orders.”
If you’re strategic about personalization, you can even use it to up-sell and boost online sales. Sending a thank-you email with a discount code, or including free samples with your shipping will help incentivize shoppers to keep buying and build brand loyalty.
Make it Easy for People to Contact You
One of the fastest ways to guarantee bad publicity is making it so hard for customers to contact you that they take their complaints to social media.
A study by Hubspot showed that 90% of consumers wanted an immediate customer service response, and 60% said that meant within 10 minutes.
Although you might not have the team or resources to answer every complaint in 10 minutes, you’ll minimize customer dissatisfaction if shoppers can contact you directly, and get an automated response letting them know they’re not being ignored.
An easy way to let customers contact you across all your social platforms is through Linktree’s new forms feature. You can add forms directly to your Linktree, so shoppers can send you a direct message, making response times faster and simplifying your customer service.
Make the Most of Automation
One of the biggest challenges on Black Friday and Cyber Monday for small businesses is finding the time to manage customer service without a big team.
One way that you can minimize customer complaints and questions is to set up automation ahead of time, like adding a chatbox to your online store.
Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest all have a range of tools that can send automated messages in response to keywords.
Cammi Pham from Think Renegade suggests adding an FAQ section as a way to save time and give shoppers the chance to resolve issues themselves.
“Eighty percent of the time your customers will get the answer they are looking for instantly,” she says. “The other 20 percent will get better support because your team will have more time to help them.”
Focus On Connecting with Customers
Where bigger e-commerce brands will struggle to go above and beyond for every client, small businesses have the advantage of being able to really listen to customers and connect with them through social media.
If you can reach out to customers through DMs, take time to genuinely understand their problems and offer them discounts or exchanges in good faith, shoppers will keep wanting to come back to your store.
78% of customers even say that they’ll stick with a brand after a bad experience if the customer service is excellent. If you can show shoppers that you’re willing to fix your mistakes and reward them for their loyalty, you’ll find it easier to compete with brands that are offering bigger discounts
Although it’s easy to get caught up in the hype that surrounds Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as a small business your priority should always be on genuine audience connections. With the rise of social media, customer service has never been as important as it is now, and having a consistent, loyal fan base is more important than one big week of sales in November.
If you are taking part in Cyber week this year, make sure to learn from what works and what doesn’t so that next year you can put together a stronger strategy and take away some of the stress.
And if you’re looking for another way to showcase your products on Black Friday, why not check out stores on Linktree? You can showcase your best products on your Linktree directly through your bio, making it even easier for customers to buy from you during the sales!