Dropshipping Issues can occur. So that’s when you have to make sure that your customer service; and also your dropshipping supplier’s customer service; is on point and work together well. You do not ever want to lose complete control of your customer service.
When you buy your wholesale products in bulk and ship them out to your online customers you are in charge of every aspect of your customer service. You can ensure that every order is filled accurately and packaged with care. You can see to it that each and every one of your customers’ orders is shipped out in a timely manner. If you see that you’re running low on an item; you can be sure to re-order more in plenty of time to avoid getting caught in a back-order situation. You alone have control over the way that customer will perceive your business. From start to finish.
Common Dropshipping Issues
However, when you use a drop shipping wholesaler, you are giving up control over the logistical aspects of your customer service. If your drop shipper doesn’t send an order out on time, your customer is going to be upset with you. If the drop shipper packages the product flimsily and it gets broken in transit; you are the one who will wind up with an angry customer. Or if your drop shipper runs out of an item and can’t fill your customer’s order; you are the one who could lose a customer and miss out on their repeat business.
With all this potential for disaster, you might think I’m suggesting that drop shipping just isn’t worth the risk. But there are actually several steps you can take that will greatly minimize these risks.
Minimize Dropshipping Issues
The most obvious way to minimize risk is to make sure that you are only using reliable dropshipping suppliers, and there are a couple of ways to do that;
First, most dropship suppliers who are willing to sell to you without requiring that you are a legal business are not real wholesale drop shippers (even if they claim to be). Real wholesale dropshippers are just wholesale suppliers who offer dropshipping as an additional service. And legitimate wholesale suppliers won’t work with you unless you have a reseller’s license (sometimes called a sales tax ID). So the middlemen from the search engines who don’t require proof that you are a legal business, are not giving you real wholesale prices that will allow you to profitably drop ship.
The second thing you can do to make sure you are using only reliable drop ship wholesalers; is to test their services yourself. Before you put any supplier’s products up for sale, place an order with them and have it sent to you or to a close friend or family member. Then pay attention to how well the supplier handles your order and how the process works:
- Do they provide your tracking information in a timely manner?
- Does the order arrive in the specified time frame?
- Was the box filled correctly?
- Is the product in good condition?
- Was the packaging satisfactory?
Lastly, it’s a good idea to call & email the supplier’s customer service, while your order is in transit, and test them out as well:
- Are they helpful and friendly?
- Do they have the answers you need, or do they get you those answers quickly?
The way your drop shipper handles a test order lets you see what your customers will experience when they receive their order. This tells you whether you want to move forward with a supplier, or whether you simply need to move on to the next one.
Avoiding Dropshipping Issues Best Practices
Besides only working with reliable suppliers, there are some other best practices that will help you avoid running into dropshipping issues. One is to study your supplier’s policies and become very familiar with them. In particular, their terms and conditions of sale, their shipping policies and their return policies and procedures. Because these will impact your own shipping and return policies, so it’s very important that you understand them inside-out.
Let me say that clearer.. YOUR RETURN and SHIPPING POLICIES for YOUR SITE, will need to match what the suppliers policies are for that product if you are using them as a dropshipper.
For example, if your drop shipper’s policy states that they ship products out within 2-3 days of receiving an order; you need to factor that into your own shipping policy. If you advertise that your orders all ship out the same day they’re placed, you’re going to have some disappointed and probably angry customers whose orders don’t arrive as soon as they expect. And in this case, it’s not because your drop shipper isn’t reliable – it’s because you aren’t doing your homework.
Dropshipping Issues Best Practices 2
The next best practice is to address any potential shipping and delivery issues before they become real problems. Each time an order ships out, your dropshipper should provide you with the tracking information for that package. You, in turn, should immediately pass that info on to your customer. Even though you are passing that info along, you still want to monitor the status of your customers’ orders.
The customer is entrusting you to get the product to them. So if you see a package that should have been shipped is still pending, you can let your dropshipper know right away. If you see there’s a delay in shipping, you can find out what’s going on, and then contact your customer to let them know about it.
The point is, you need to be proactive in resolving potential customer service problems, rather than waiting for your customer to come to you and complain that they never received their order. Even though dropshipping limits your ability to control some aspects of your customer service, you can still excel at the functions you do have control over.
Issues Best Practices 3
Another good dropshipping practice is to monitor your suppliers inventory levels, keeping in mind that (unless you have exclusive distribution rights to a product), you’re not the only retailer drawing from their supply. When you see that they only have a few of a given item left, you may want to consider pulling that item until the supplier restocks. Some suppliers will even allow you to request notifications when their inventory on the products that you sell drops beneath a certain level.
Paying careful attention here will ensure you don’t have customers ordering products that your drop shipper is out of. Be sure to pay special attention to the supply levels on your fastest-selling goods, because telling a buyer their product they’ve ordered is out-of-stock is never fun. Holiday buyers, in particular, want to know that their orders will arrive on time, so this practice becomes even more important during the holiday selling season.
Best Practices 4
The last good practice we’ll cover is to have product back ups. You should actually STOCK a few of your best-selling items. Because in the event that you do find yourself in a back-order situation, you can fill your customer’s order yourself.
And on a side note, if you aren’t paying attention and find yourself with a holiday order that neither you nor your drop shipper can fill; you may want to consider picking up the item at retail or even ordering it from another website. While you’ll almost certainly lose money on the sale, you will save the customer relationship. In fact, you’ll most likely create a loyal customer for life and you’ll enhance your business’ reputation for customer service.
If you follow these dropshipping tips; you won’t lose control over your customer relations and you’ll find that the benefits of dropshipping FAR outweigh the limitations.
Never Lose Control or Give Up All of Your Customer Service
We recently received an email in customer service that asked.. “Do any of your dropshipping suppliers handle all the customer service for me? I just want to sell and earn profit. They can do everything else.”
I think what you would really want here is an affiliate relationship. Because you would create a lot of customer confusion if you sell products on one website and all of a sudden your customer is contacted by a completely different company.
I mean I would probably think that someone stole my card information if I was expecting communication from mikessstuff.com after buying something from there. But I was contacted by hammerssandthings.com telling me that they are processing my order? Hmm… I would also feel like I was just ripped off because maybe I could have purchased it cheaper from hammerssandthings.com?
With an affiliate relationship you are referring customers to those other websites to buy. So it makes sense to them to also get customer service from these sites and not from you. This is also what social influencers do. They are telling customers to go to a website and buy and use their promo codes when they do. Those promo codes earn them money per sale.
Never lose control or give up complete control of your customer service to outside parties. This is your business and customer service is the forefront of your operation. That is the face of your company and you need to always keep an extremely watchful eye of what goes on there. So if you are selling products on your own website, regardless of if you use dropshipping suppliers or not, maintain that customer support control and keep it professional, polite and to high standards to keep those customers coming back.