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Karin Ballestrazze
 
November 5, 2014 | eCommerce , Fulfillment/Shipping, General | Karin Ballestrazze

Preparing for the Holiday Season, Part III

Providing a high-quality shopping experience for customers is crucial for meeting your holiday goals. If anything goes wrong with an online order, your staff needs to be ready to assist clients. A problem with a purchase isn't a guarantee an individual will never return to your online wine store; a satisfactory response to the issue can create lasting loyalty. 

Shipping delays caused many hassles and a great deal of frustration last year. While you need to ensure your ecommerce fulfillment operations are ready to go, having strong customer service practices in place ensures a quick response to issues. Last year's issues have some serious consequences for online retailers. In fact, only 11 percent said they would shop from merchants again after receiving a late holiday package, according to Multichannel Merchant. The holiday season can be an opportunity to build stronger relationships with customers, but client support is crucial for achieving this.

Tips for creating a top-notch holiday experience
Wineries have the potential to increase online wine sales during November and December. While integrated winery software can eliminate many issues with regard to organization and order processing, the influx of purchases opens the door for minor issues to crop up. There could be a weather-related wine shipping delay, incorrect order or other problem due to the rush. Preventing unpredictable hiccups is a fruitless effort. What really matters is the response to customer issues. The following tips can help you maximize the effectiveness of customer support during this lucrative time:

Make it as easy as possible for customers to get in touch with you:
If clients are frustrated by a delay or inaccurate order, the last thing they want to do is dig around every page of your winery's website to find the customer service phone number or email address. Placing this contact information in the header or footer of your website helps customers reach out as soon as they identify a problem. This simple adjustment can prevent some frustrations with your store.

Respond to inquiries quickly:
Because the holidays are such a busy time for wineries, you need to ensure you have the right number of customer support professionals scheduled to handle the number of calls and emails. Clients can get angrier if they have to wait a long time for a resolution to the problem. If customers email outside of your regular hours of operation, you can set up an automatic response in your email marketing software to inform them of when they can expect to hear back from a representative.
 
Build an in-depth FAQ page:
You can eliminate a number of phone calls and emails by providing a detailed frequently asked questions pages with responses to the most common inquiries. You can use this page to explain the different shipping and delivery options you offer. If people go to your website before calling, they may be able to solve a minor issue themselves.

Consider live chat:
Chat is expected to receive heavier use from customer support professionals during this holiday season, a separate article from Multichannel Merchant reported. Some customers prefer this because of the immediate response. However, all staff that utilize this advanced feature need to be properly trained on best practices to avoid a poor customer experience.

While the Internet creates a different customer experience than shoppers would get in a physical store, it's important to have strong client support practices in place. Impressing consumers with the level of care they receive during the holidays can encourage them to return to your online wine store in the future. 

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