In general, dropshipping is a relatively hands-off business model.
Sure, you’ll need to set up a professional-looking online store, find products to sell, and place test orders to verify the quality of your products before you start selling.
But once you’ve taken care of those tasks, you’re good to go – and your main goal will switch to marketing, and getting potential customers to your store with clever campaigns.
After all, you’ll never need to worry about storing, handling, or shipping your products when you’re dropshipping. Your suppliers will take care of those tasks for you.
This means you’ll be able to focus on making sales and growing your business.
But, as with any business, sometimes things can go wrong unexpectedly.
Maybe one of your orders will get lost in the post. Or worse, turn up damaged.
This is an unavoidable reality for ecommerce entrepreneurs, and it’s up to you to rectify the situation, even if it isn’t your fault.
But what can you do about incidents like this if your supplier is the one taking care of your products and shipping them to your customers?
If you’re using Oberlo, the answer is simple – communication. You can speak directly with your suppliers, and work together to find the best solution for you and your customers.
Today we’re going to explain exactly how you can reach out to suppliers with queries about your products, and let you know some of our best practices which you can use to help you avoid situations where you need support from suppliers altogether.
What to Do When a Customer Has a Complaint
As an entrepreneur, your work isn’t over once you’ve made a sale and your order has been shipped.
You have a duty to make sure that your shipment arrives at the correct address, in the timeframe which you’ve clearly set, containing the correct products.
And if a customer of yours has a problem with one of their orders, you can bet that they’ll be reaching out to you requesting help.
Here are the common types of complaints which your customer might have:
- The customer might not receive their order.
- The product may arrive damaged.
- The customer received the wrong product.
- The tracking code doesn’t work.
- The product doesn’t match the description.
We know that ecommerce businesses across the world can face these issues, so we’ve worked to help you streamline the resolution process.
You can use Oberlo’s Dispute Management tool to establish a direct line of communication with your supplier, so you can find a prompt resolution that works for you, your supplier, and most importantly, your customer. All communication can be done within Oberlo, which will help you to consolidate your workflow.
Let’s take a look at how you can use the Dispute Management tool to make running a dropshipping business even easier.
How to Use Dispute Management
To access the Dispute Management tool you’ll need to head over to Oberlo, and find the order that you need assistance with in your “Orders” page.
It’s important to note here that the Dispute management Tool is only available to Oberlo Verified suppliers and Oberlo suppliers. If your product is from AliExpress, you won’t be able to use the dispute management functionality to resolve your query.
Once you’ve found the order, you’ll need to click on the “…” button, as highlighted in the image below.
After you’ve clicked on the “…” button, you’ll see a new option, “Order Details”.
Click on this, and you’ll be taken to a new page with a full breakdown of your order.
Here you’ll find all you need to know about the product which you sold: the address of your buyer, the supplier who handled and shipped the product, and the tracking number for the delivery.
This might give you the information you need to solve the problem yourself, but if it doesn’t, don’t worry.
Remember how we mentioned that we’re well aware that there are a number of common issues which ecommerce entrepreneurs face when they’re running their stores?
Well, we’ve taken those reasons, and used them to formulate our “Help Section,” which you’ll find at the bottom of every Order Details page.
In the Help Section you’ll find three different tabs – “Shipping”, “Product”, and “FAQ / Contact Customer Support”.
From here, you’ll need to click on the relevant section. If you have a question about a lost package, or an incorrect tracking number, then you’ll need to select “Shipping”. If you have a question with the actual product that your customer has (or hasn’t) received, click on “Product”. And if you’ve got a general question, click on “FAQ/Contact Customer Support”.
After you’ve selected the topic which best fits your query, you’ll see a list of options.
Select the most relevant option, and you’ll then be asked to add some more details to fully describe your issue.
Make sure that you provide all of the necessary information here, and be as clear as possible – this will be sent directly to your supplier, so give them all the information that they need to help you resolve your issue together.
Also, if you have any images which are relevant for your case, then you can attach them here. This is an especially useful feature if a customer is complaining about receiving the wrong product, or if they believe that the product has arrived damaged.
The important thing here for you to remember, as the store owner, is that your role is to relay the concerns of your customers in a calm, professional manner to your supplier.
Help them to help you.
How to Manage Your Disputes
Once you’ve submitted a dispute it’ll be handed over to your supplier.
If you ever want to check the status of any ongoing disputes, then you can use Oberlo’s “Support Tickets” tab, which you can find under “Inbox”, as shown in the image below.
Once you’re on the Support Tickets page you’ll see that there are three different options: action required, awaiting response, or closed.
But what do these mean? Let’s take a look:
- Action Required. You have an open dispute which requires your attention. Perhaps you’ll need to get back to your supplier with a message, request a refund, or just close the ticket. These support tickets are high-priority, so we’ll send you a daily email summary if you have any tickets that require action.
- Awaiting Response. This is where you’ll find tickets that need attention from your suppliers. If you and your supplier cannot find a resolution within 10 days then the Oberlo team will step in to mediate the situation. Suppliers promise to respond within 2 business days.
- Here you’ll find your support tickets which have been resolved.
If you find that any of your tickets fall into the Action Required section, you might need to message your supplier about the dispute. Here’s an example of what that could look like:
So, that’s it for opening and handling disputes with Oberlo. Not so tough, huh?
Remember, the relationship between a supplier and a store owner is an important one, and the Dispute Management feature allows you to communicate directly with your suppliers to try and find a prompt resolution to any issues you may face.
Also, you won’t always need to reach out to your supplier for help. There’s a good chance that you’ll be able to answer your customer’s queries yourself.
Let’s take a look at how you can work to reduce the number of customer queries you’ll receive.
Set Clear Expectations
Setting clear expectations is one of the best ways to ensure that your customers have a great shopping experience.
Honesty it’s the best policy when it comes to running a store, so be up front with your customers about what you’re offering them, and when they’ll receive it.
I was recently doing some online shopping and I placed an order for a product from an overseas merchant.
The advertised shipping time for that product was more than two weeks.
Sure, it would have been better if I could have received my package in a few days, but clear expectations were set, so I was prepared to wait, and I knew what I was getting myself into.
And guess what, the package arrived after eight days – earlier than expected – so I was delighted, and left a glowing review for the business.
Create an FAQ Page
When a customer can’t find the information that they’re looking for, contacting customer support is generally their next best option.
That’s why creating an FAQ page for your online store can go a long way in reducing the number of customer queries that you receive.
If you’re looking for inspiration for your FAQ page, check fitness giant Gymshark out.
Their FAQ page is easily found, and as you can see in the image above it has a clean, simple layout which enables shoppers to browse through different topics.
So, flesh out your FAQ page and give your customers easy access to the information that they’re looking for.
Handling Generic Customer Queries
While the Dispute Management feature opens up a direct line of communication between you and your suppliers, it’s important that you can handle some of the more generic customer queries on your own.
If, for example, a customer has a question about your stock levels, your shipping prices, your returns policy, or something else specific to your store, you’re totally fine to answer them on your own.
Be confident but kind – you’re the one who knows the most about your business, so make sure that you do your best to help your customers in a professional manner, and use the resources available to you if you run into any issues.