Updated: Nov 16, 2020
We all have been shipping more wine than ever these past months and many of the customer complaints received are centered around shipping. How do you manage these concerns and help resolve issues? Here are few tips:
Delayed shipments. We all know the carriers can take longer for delivery than anticipated these days. As the holidays approach, these delivery times could get even worse. It is important to be clear with your customers on how long it will take for their wine shipment to arrive – manage their expectations upfront with a special note in their confirmation email, on the website and through social media. If they reach out to you for assistance, answer them promptly with the information you have and assure them you will monitor the package (and then follow through!).
Lost or damaged shipments. Losing a shipment or having a shipment damaged in transit happens more than we would like but it happens. Have a plan in place for both filing a claim (if you use a fulfillment company, they will help you with this) and for reshipping the wine. Assure the customer that they will receive the reshipment of wine as promptly as possible and thank them for their patience. Most customer are understanding about this type of delay as long as their concerns are being addressed – and some are even the ones to report the damage, which gets them engaged in the process.
Returned shipments. The last thing you want is a wine shipment returned to you because they were unable to deliver to the addressee. Be proactive before you even ship – make sure the customer knows that they need to sign for the wine by law (it is not some whim policy of the winery) and encourage business addresses, if appropriate. If the wine does come back, be sure to have an established policy on reshipments. Do you cover the cost? Does the customer cover the cost? You need to be consistent and communicative on how you deal with returns. And if you have a fulfillment company, you need to work with them on restocking or putting the wine aside when it is returned, depending on how you handle your inventory.
Packing errors. Hopefully, this is a rare complaint – and one that needs to be addressed immediately. If a customer does not receive the correct wine in their package, you need to resolve the issue right away. If you use a fulfillment company, make them aware of the error and ask them to reship any missing or bottles at their expense (since they were the ones who made an error). If it is a widespread error (i.e. the wrong wine goes out in an entire club shipment), you need to do damage control and contact the customer before they are even aware there is a problem. Depending on the type of error, you should establish a plan to fix the issue and communicate directly and often with your customers.
For the most part, all customers want is good customer service. Delays, damage and mistakes happen and the best thing you can do is acknowledge them and try to fix them as quickly and efficiently as possible. Customer are very forgiving if you communicate – happy shipping season!
Need help managing your fulfillment? Contact us at 707-738-1301 or firstname.lastname@example.org.