Many merchants bank their entire year’s success on sales generated during this ultra-busy shopping season. The pressure is on to maximize sales and best practices of customer service. In addition, merchants must be vigilant in their practices to identify and stop fraud, and ensure solutions are in place for reliable chargeback prevention.
From a sales standpoint, 2018 has been a banner year. According to Card Not Present, 2018 has significantly surpassed 2017. “On Black Friday—this year on Nov. 23—online retailers racked up more than $6.2 billion in sales, $1.2 billion more than last year.” This outstanding news is tempered with the understanding that holiday sales invariably lead to customer disputes. However, it also indicates that extra pressure is placed on merchants to properly manage an increase in disputes and chargebacks, while still maintaining excellent customer service.
One of the most effective ways for merchants to limit chargebacks is to minimize transaction errors and consistently deliver excellent customer experiences. A happy customer is a loyal customer, who will return to the merchant for future purchases. Nonetheless, mistakes and missteps do happen. How the merchant handles these speed bumps can make all the difference between a stellar and disappointing holiday selling season.
What Customers Want
Merchants must exercise the delicate balance of knowing how and when their customers want to be engaged. With the benefits of data analysis, much of the guesswork about customer preferences can be eliminated. The resulting insights can help merchants stay in tune with what their customers want, including:
- No-hassle customer service. Customers expect quick and effective assistance and will vote with their pocketbook if merchants don’t deliver.
- One site, one experience. When customers can easily browse, shop, purchase, check out, receive confirmation, and interact with the merchant within one environment, there is less confusion or room for mistakes.
- Personalized service. Customers recoil at sales spam or offers that clearly don’t resonate with them. Personalized offers and discounts are much better received.
- Get involved. Consumers, particularly Millennials, are more likely to choose brands and merchants that are aligned with their favorite charities and causes. Choose wisely and your customers will proudly light up their personal network about your products or brand.
- Social media. Customer loyalty can be easily damaged when customers reach out to a merchant on social media but never receive a response. Dedicate the necessary resources to monitor social media for quick and thorough responses.
Outstanding Customer Service is Key to Effective Chargeback Prevention
The best available products or services can’t overcome poor customer service. E-commerce sales is inherently limited in merchant-customer interaction, compared to traditional brick-and-moratar retail channels – emphasizing the need to extend outstanding customer service and social media engagement.
The cornerstones of effective chargeback prevention hold true when it comes to customer service and laying the foundation of brand loyalty.
- Order review. Carefully review orders before they are finalized. Ensure there are no customer-directed emails needed for the completion and delivery of the order.
- Clear return/refund policy. Make the refund/return policy easily accessible and clear. The harder it is for customers to find this policy, the more difficult it is to resolve disputed transactions.
- Act fast. Respond to customer questions as quickly as possible. A slow response can encourage customers to give up and file a chargeback.
- Be flexible. For the holiday season and throughout the year, be flexible toward customer needs and concerns. Consider lightening up on your refund/return policies and make extra allowances during the holidays.
When customers are happy and feel like their needs are being met and even anticipated, they’re more likely to overlook merchant errors. This is especially true during the holiday season when sales and payment channels are overwhelmed with higher than usual traffic. Mistakes do occur, but how merchants respond and handle these errors is what makes a positive difference in the merchant-customer relationship.
Carefully building brand loyalty is a necessity. Take advantage of the holiday season to build brand loyalty with your new and established customers. Do your best to support them, particularly if they dispute a charge. The speed in which you resolve a customer issue needs to be one of your top priorities as you execute your chargeback prevention plan.