Everyone know that customer service is important, and Amazon is no exception, but how can you create truly inspiring customer service experiences?
Join me as I host Michael Melgar and Tygh Walters of SellerSmile as we discuss how to create a truly exceptional customer service experience to boost sales on Amazon.
Shannon: Hey guys, welcome to the webinar. I’m your host, Shannon Roddy, founder of Marketplace Seller Courses, online courses, resources and tools for Amazon sellers. And I have with me for the first time today, two special guests, Michael Melgar and Tygh Walters of SellerSmile, a one-stop customer service solution for all of your e-commerce channels, including Amazon, eBay, Shopify, Walmart and more.
Michael’s experience, very similar to mine, has run the gamut from majoring in criminal justice to product manager, director of customer service and certified Scrum master. He grew up in a bilingual home speaking English as well as Spanish, heavily influenced by his Central American roots.
With his unique and diverse background, Tygh was raised in Wisconsin, and his passion for sports and football led him to study Kinesiology, eventually ending up at Seller Labs in Athens, Georgia where he met Michael, his future business partner. And together in 2017, they teamed up to form SellerSmile, a US-based customer service agency for Amazon sellers. In addition to selling his own quartz coasters on Amazon, Tygh recently started learning how to play the banjo.
Michael: Thanks for having us, Shannon.
Tygh: Amazing introduction – amazing introduction, man. Wow, excellent! Great to be here and I’d love to talk a lot about great customer service, something that inspires all three of us, something that we’ve connected on in the past.
Shannon: Yeah. So, we had met originally at Seller Labs where I had met both of you guys. And it was so cool because there was a part of me that was really disappointed when you guys have left to pursue other business ventures. And I was so excited when we reconnected and it was together all three and I think you know we actually met at coffee shop near our home in Atlanta and talk probably for something like two-and–a–half or three hours about the customer service experience, how passionate we all are about that. It’s such an important concept, not just for Amazon but for any e-commerce seller, for any business really but we know how impactful and how important it is on Amazon. It’s so critical for myriad of things. So, what I want to do is let’s jump right in and let’s talk about why customer service is so important specifically on Amazon. Michael, you want to start with that one?
Michael: Yeah, for sure. Again, thanks Shannon for having us. And yeah, the meeting at the coffee shop, we were just speaking out for two plus hours on customer service and we’re just like on the same wavelength. And it’s exciting because the reason why we – why SellerSmile was even born, the reason why we believe so much in offering great customer service is that I kind of believe that – we at SellerSmile believe that it’s the biggest after the sale touch point there is. And there’s all of this like setup work that goes into like making great listings, you know like having optimized PPC ads, all these work that goes into like getting sales.
And then I almost feel like there’s this undervalued portion of the other end of that customer service center that where people are reaching out to you via messages, people are leaving feedback on your seller feedback page and then product reviews, all these places and those interactions can really make a big difference in whether those people come back, whether they influence others to shop from you. And we really feel that, that’s something that’s extremely undervalued in the e-commerce world today. And that really needs a sharper focus.
Shannon: Absolutely. Tygh, what are your thoughts in terms of the importance of Amazon and maybe you can speak a little bit to the metrics side as well.
Tygh: Yeah, certainly. Thanks, Shannon. So, I’m telling on what Michael said, we see customer service and great customer experience being a differentiated factor. Some competitive aspect of your brand that allows you to make a sale over your competitor and especially as we go further into the future, we’re going to have more and more competition in every category in Amazon. There needs to be some type of way you can wave your hands to your buyer and say, “I’m the best product, buy me.” And it’s evidenced by great customer experiences in your product reviews, in your seller feedback. So that’s why it’s so important. And Michael and I really had a lot of chances and saw people – see people doing it in a bad way, maybe they didn’t know how to do it or they just weren’t that type of person that would write out their thoughts in a clear and concise manner. And therefore negative experience has resulted.
In terms of the metrics, we always urge sellers to check out whatever is in their Seller Central account. Amazon is going to be displaying the dashboards and the metrics that they care about because they want you to care about them, right? But what Michael and I have seen over the past several years and months is that Amazon is always changing those dashboards around. They’re hiding metrics. They’re revealing new ones. So, to tell you today which metrics you should track and care about, I want this to be evergreen content. Go to the source which is Amazon. They’re going to tell you. But there are some general metrics that you should be paying attention to if you want to do great customer service. That’s your first contact resolution rate, your time to first reply and responses rate in times. I mean anything that’s getting a customer out faster is going to be better. So, in a nutshell, that’s what we think sellers should focus on.
Shannon: Yeah, absolutely. I mean just in my experience, one of the reasons why customer service is so important is it directly impacts your seller rating. And all of your seller account health metrics impact number one your ability to win the buy box, if you happen to be in competition other sellers. Beyond that it simply builds brand equity. It builds consumer confidence. If I go and I happen to click on that seller and go to that seller bio and there’s no logo. It’s not built out, it’s a generic default you know, we believe in good customer service, like the one-liner that Amazons provides. And then got two star ratings in the last 90 days and one of them is negative. That just builds no confidence for me. It tells me that they’re not a serious seller. They may or may not respond.
Well, we have companies like Table-Mate that we work with. Our customer service rep is phenomenal. We got I think like 99% to 100% rating on there. She keeps up–to–date with that so well and she knows how to navigate the Amazon system that when we people go there and they see all of the positive feedback, really short, concise information bio and you know the really strong star rating, it makes a difference in terms of viability. So, absolutely, there are all these different aspects that are so critical. And Amazon is very unique. There’s no other marketplace that monitors your involvement and engagement with customers like Amazon. And so, I think just understanding that aspect is first and foremost.
Let’s go to the next section which again is something that we’re all super passionate about and familiar with. Let’s talk about creating a strong customer service experience and what that looks like. Tygh, why don’t you kick off with that one?
Tygh: Yeah, I think the strongest experience is one that takes the consideration of the customer’s time as paramount. We all understand that – just imagine if your phone takes a little bit too long to load or an app is downloading too slow. Those seconds are infuriating. And the same goes with for shopping experience. So, strong strategy is one that hits customer’s resolutions down as quick as we can, as quick as possible but making sure there’s still high quality. So protecting your time, making sure that you’re responding to your buyer’s messages seven days a week, maybe multiple times a day that’s going to get customers in and out in the fastest amount of time.
And part of that is being proactive. If you can prevent a customer service issue from occurring in the first place, no news is good news. If they don’t have a reason to lash out against the company or complain or write in to customer service, they’re happy and they can move on. So, being proactive and protecting time are probably the biggest ones that we would think of there.
Michael: And to answer that to what Tygh is saying is that a kind of misconception that we heard a lot especially when going to trade shows and stuff is like, well, you know, I reply to all their messages you know it’s pretty – it’s a fairly simple thing to do. But I think that something that we try to focus on is you know that proactive part of it which is like there’s all these other touch points that engage, interact with your customer, right, with your follow-up emails, your product listings like whether they’re clear and concise and offer valuable insights. Even like your package inserts, right? Are you including enough instructions on what you’re sending?
And so, something that we feel as part of being proactive is like creating the regular cadence for like reviewing that whole experience like just getting someone that knows nothing about your product to just – just to buy it maybe like a family member or something like that and see what are some of the common confusion points that they have.
Shannon: I love that. And I think it brings in a couple of points and we’re going to hit on what those specific things are. So, if you guys are wondering like, tell me more about inserts and reviews and stuff. We’ll get to all of those and we’ll hit those on point. But the idea is it’s not enough to just have one thing. It’s not enough just as you said to be responsive and say, “Well, I respond to their inquiries.” That’s not a brand differentiator. What you want to do is have an entire system of customer service touch points, of brand touch points. We’re actually going to – we’re going to do a whole topic on this one of our next upcoming e-com bootcamp which I’m super excited to announce shortly. But the whole idea is there are multiple places where you can interact with the customer, not just one and it’s not when they reach out to you. There are so many ways to do it totally in line with Amazon TOS.
And you need to have a sort of familiar theme or brand. It has to be thought through. It has to be strategic. And once you do that, the cool thing is even it is systematized, it can still be personal. And there was a principle I learned years ago from a business top leader, Andy Stanley, he talks about you know, even though it’s systematized, it’s still a personal interaction. So, don’t think like “Well, it’s systematized. They’re just going to feel they’re moving through emotions.” Obviously, having a human being on the other side of the customer service aspect is important.
And if we have found, just as I know, it is so important to ask somebody who gets your brand, who understands your tone, your thoughts, your conceptions because we’ve outsourced to customer service people and they did not care. They – like they were so disinterested that the replies were so blase. We were mortified when we looked over what they are doing. And we immediately took it in-house. We found somebody we could trust, that we could work with, that could give it our brand experience because literally guys, Amazon with over 300 million customers – that sticks. That is a brand platform before this e-commerce platform, customer service is huge. So…
Michael: Something that you just touched on Shannon, I just want to add to that it’s like that the – it’s like the opportunity to showcase your brand, right? Because like you can showcase a certain tone, a certain type of language using an empathetic language and what have you. I just – for example, I always think about like Chewy, if anyone ever shops on Chewy, literally you hear nothing about love about their customer service and how they really go above and beyond. And it’s what drove me to shop with them because I didn’t even know about them until I heard about their customer service.
Shannon: Yeah, we – I love customer service. I’ve got so many different stories and I’ll get into this some of those you know later in the webinar but any other thoughts in terms of the customer service experience, if not, we’ll jump on to the next title section.
Michael: Yeah, one thing I’ll say it that I think that it’s important to like listen to your document, your buyer’s feedback because you know, I like to think about the fact because I used to like work in a market research firm as well like back when I was in high school and you know big companies literally pay to get everyone’s feedback and how they feel about something. But one of the amazing things about Amazon is that you have their feedback right there, right? It’s easy to kind of like feel discouraged when you see a poor review about something but most of the time there’s actually good concrete evidence that will – or good concrete stuff that will help you come back and make a better product iteration.
Shannon: Absolutely. Let’s go ahead and talk about some of the specifics now. I know some of you guys who are listening to this or watching this, this is the part that you’re like, “Yes, give me the meat.” So we’re going to get to the meat part. Let’s cover this sort of in order. Let’s start really simply with seller bio. What’s so important about the seller bio? And then let’s talk about some best practices that we’ve used in our companies for creating a really great seller bio. Why is that important?
Tygh: Yeah, I can take that right away. Shannon, we worked with dozens of sellers and we see just internally in the ways in which we interface with them. They have very unique strategies when it comes to sharing about who they are. Some of our sellers almost seem like they have an urge to remain anonymous while other sellers are out there sharing every aspect of who they are, their origin, why they do what they do. And usually the ones that are sharing more have a very humanistic approach. They want to help the world. They want to do something better and bigger. And these are the stories that get customers excited. Well, we all have a disposition to narrative. So the more that I can share about story and my origin, the more I know that I’m going to appeal in an emotional sense to my customer. And the customers receive – the sellers that share more are raving. They love the fact that they’re shopping from them. They are super disappointed when something is out of stock. And those are the types of customers that you want.
And you know, I tried to do this, you mentioned I sold quartz coasters and I have an Amazon handmade account. And in that we actually – Amazon grants us a little bit more freedom with what we can add to our bios and it’s a little bit different than a normal seller profile. But you know I – there’s so many more ways that I can maximize that. We just saw Amazon release the ability to live stream to your customers. How crazy is that sharing your bio and your experience? So, whatever the bio is, whatever you can share about your experience and you story, get it out there and make sure you’re telling it in a way that you’re proud to say to people and that covers everything and shows the struggle in the story and arc of your path. You know, that’s my two cents on it. Michael?
Michael: Yeah. What I’ll say about that is that like especially if like you had a lot of competitors, right? When customers come to your listing and they see the Sold By, I typically like you can just – even before I knew about this as much as I do about customer service, I click into those and see like who is selling what. And then I will quickly scan what people are saying about this seller. And the seller bio was always something that was really cool because we get into immediate glimpse as to how operate as a company because I know immediately OK, if I were to have a problem they’re really helpful because obviously the feedback shows that the bio is very warm and inviting versus like the other side of that where I can tell real easily if someone is not as engaged.
Shannon: Yeah. Three quick tips on best practices for seller bio. This is just from our experiences, what we teach in our courses. Number one, keep it concise. Sometimes people like write entire pages, nobody cares about it. They’re going to read it. If they have to click the More button, I always tell people, if they have to click the more button, you need shorten them. But I think it’s about 500 characters or so. It’s really not a lot. Keep it really concise.
Don’t talk about your product, OK. If you have one or multiple products, you’re talking about you as a seller and that’s really important. People always rave about the product. That goes on the product detail. So, talk about you as a seller. Talk about you as a brand. Why did this company start? And most importantly, talk about upfront your proactive, insane dedication to phenomenal customer service, right? Because the expectation you guys have seen this, the expectation with customers is there is no customer service out there. The customer service is dead. People get right in and they go, “I’m going to blast them on Twitter. I’m going to hammer them on Facebook. And I’m going to call them and complain and stuff.” And the company is if they’re a good company, they’re like, “Hey, we’re totally willing to fix your problem. You need to bring it to us first.” Because people don’t even expect that companies can do that. And I’ve had situations where I’ll call the customer service hotline and I’m like, I’ve got my whole story ready and you guys better be refund. And they’re like, “Sure, we’ll fix it.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me? Like that was it? It was so easy.
So, if you put that in your seller bio, let them know, “Please contact us. We are so committed to customer service and 100% satisfaction.” Keep it short. Keep it simple. Put it in the bio. We recommend, if you have a seller logo, you know, put your logo up. And this is my personal recommendation, if you have a customer service phone number that is dedicated, that someone will actually answer, add that phone number, right? So they can call you. If it’s just sort of an outsourced thing that’s Google voice and via voicemail, that doesn’t actually do any good because they’re still going to get a response later. They’re just going to send the message. So, only put a phone number in if they can get live customer service – my two cents, any other thoughts on this?
Michael: Well, what I will say is that Amazon really kind of makes it difficult to know who you’re shopping from so like as a regular consumer, it’s really easy to just think like “Oh, this is just from an Amazon.” So, again, any opportunity to take that – to really show them that you’re not going to be combative with them but it will be helpful, it’s going to be I think in the long run could be very helpful for you getting more sales.
Shannon: Cool. Let’s move and talk about and I want to go too long on this but let’s talk about warranties and satisfaction guarantees. Because this is something that we’ve seen a lot of best sellers do. And a lot of brand owners they just – it’s not top of mind. What we see typically is private label sellers were like so committed to this, they do every single best practice on Amazon and brand owners are like doing the bare minimum. Like they just – they’re not keeping up-to–date with Amazon because it’s not a priority focus. But let’s talk about how people can add a warranty in it, a satisfaction guarantee and why that’s so important.
Michael: Well, warranty I feel is kind of like just provides like just safety and confidence because as a consumer, if you are confident enough about your product to offer a warranty, I immediately feel like OK, cool. I could save some $10 or however much by going to this other guy but you obviously care more about your product and I can tell that you’re really making an easy experience. So, right off the bat, that’s something that improves your buyer’s trust or your potential buyer’s trust.
But also you know like you mentioned, especially like I would say like depending on the type of product that you offer, it should be a no-brainer in most cases because you know, if you sell a good product it shouldn’t be something that you have a lot of overhead and a lot of like oversight with. And if you sell maybe you’re thinking of a low cost item, it’s just such an easy way to increase your buyer’s confidence and you could still kind of use you know, you can send replacements. You can do whatever. But a warranty again is going to be something that your buyer is going to feel really secure about.
Shannon: Yeah. Any thoughts, Tygh?
Tygh: Yeah, actually I did some writing about this and one thing we advice sellers to do because some of us – some sellers ask us what their warranty should be on their website off Amazon? And in that context we recommend well, if Amazon is the best company in the world for a customer experience and e-commerce, you should mirror their policies. So, that’s the first recommendation we make with warranties.
The second, and I’m going to say this in a nuance, I think sellers are hyper focused on the few items they lose in a refund and a warranty in liberal policy. It’s amazing. We have to talk to them – we have to talk them down and say, “Listen, the short term, these little items that you don’t want to give away they’re making our job so much easier interfacing with their customers and they love you for it because it’s delightfully unexpected. They sent me a new one and I didn’t even have to send them a picture?” You know something like that.
Now, however, please evaluate that advice with your product. There are some products at a higher price point and you can’t simply have that experience with. But in your SOPs thresholds, if the product is this dollar amount, we have this policy. This dollar amount, we have this policy. And so anyway, I don’t want to get too long on that but that’s our advice. Follow Amazon but then make it as – the policy as liberal as you can because that’s going to be ultimately the best customer experience. And if you’re feeling pushed back against that, run an analysis, see how many refunds your team is sending in a month versus sales. Is it significant? Is it rising? Is it falling? Some of those things we’d recommend a seller to do.
Shannon: Absolutely. I want to highlight something you just said, “delightfully unexpected.”
Shannon: And I would say if you’re listening to this or you’re watching this that is the key aspect to successful customer service on Amazon, delightfully unexpected. I’m going to go back to that a dozen times probably throughout the webinar but you know you mentioned a company that you guys worked with and I forgot the product, maybe we can recall but basically which I was like on a road trip I think in a bike trip in the middle of like Colorado or something.
Shannon: You guys were tracking them and send a replacement where he was going to be that like…
Shannon: That’s a plain customer service. And there’s a couple things about this that I just want to highlight. In terms of the satisfaction guarantee, the best place that we’ve seen to do a customer service or satisfaction guarantee is in the product image. It’s just a really clean, simple way same with the warranty, Amazon does have some restriction and requirements in terms of where you can do warranty use or satisfaction guarantees in copies so make sure you read the Amazon’s up-to-date policies on that, available on the Seller Central Help articles.
But you know an image is really, really simple. It’s visual. It’s eye-catching and as long as you back that up, it’s going to hold weight. I worked with a couple of companies and you know the head of their customer service would literally argue with me about “I can’t believe that customer wants me to send them another $11.99 t-shirt because they had a badexperience. And I’m like, “Are you crazy? Like you have no idea, one bad customer service experience can equal to loss of thousands of dollars down the line.”
Shannon: And vice versa an unexpected – delightfully unexpected customer service experience can turn a customer even if they didn’t like the product, even if they didn’t like the product. And I’ve had people who had that experience. The product didn’t work for them and they just didn’t like it whatever the case may be. But the customer service experience was so phenomenal, they go, “I will buy from you again. And I will try your other products just because I know it was – you made it so easy.”
And so we tell people, do whatever you can. Bend over backwards for customer service. Because Amazon is a platform that’s going to reward you and the customers are going to reward you with word of mouth. Guys, social media is out there and all the marketing materials in the world is out there, word of mouth is still the number one, most valuable weighted thing for brand awareness. So, make sure you back that up and take care of it. But it really is…
Michael: OK. Add to that Shannon, I feel like one small downside to being an Amazon seller or to like kind of be in this world is that it’s really easy to forget what it’s like to be a buyer because you start to think about so much about what does this mean for my sales? What does this mean for my bottom dollar? But think about like if you are purchasing your own product, what would be like a – what would be a warranty that amount that you feel comfortable with? What is something that could make you feel like you can trust your – trust the seller that you could buy from them easily and with confidence, you know? But really put yourself in your buyer’s shoes as much as possible.
Shannon: Yeah. OK. Let’s go to the next topic. This is a huge one and we’re going to break it down into two sections. But first, let’s talk about feedback emails, OK? Why are feedback emails so important? We’ll talk about some best practices. But Tygh, I want you to go ahead and kick that off and start on feedback emails and what that looks like.
Tygh: Yes. Thank you, Shannon. Michael and I have a lot of experience with feedback emails and he’s probably even more knowledgeable than I am but I have a certain perspective on this. First of all, I would advise sellers, if you’re already sending feedback emails to actually get in there and understand what you’re doing. A lot of sellers we see they forget how many emails they’re sending and what’s the content of those emails because they have been set on autopilot. So, go back in there and do an audit in that way.
And then first of all, to make sure they’re in alignment with all of Amazon’s policies. Are you requesting a review in a biased way? Well, that’s grounds for account suspension and that would be devastating. And it’s a poor experience too. Customers are savvy. They know when they’re trying to game the system and coerce them into a positive review. So, do an audit of – audit of your messaging that’s currently setup. Make sure is compliant. We also recommend sending one message per order. Now, this is in alignment with some other large companies that we follow some thought leaders in the space because Amazon is already sending multiple emails per order and you don’t want to spam your customers either.
But if you had to boil, the most important thing you want out of your customer as a call to action, coupled with the most important information you could give them then that would be the best email we would see. It’s usually an after delivery message here – or, maybe after order message saying, “Here’s your PDF guide. Here’s everything you need to use your product. Please, please, please contact us like you said and we hope you have a delightfully unexpected experience.” And in that way, so one email in policy and if you’re not sending these messages yet there’s a lot of different systems that you can use with different pros and cons so make sure you test each one. But that’s where I would start. Michael, what would you add to that?
Michael: Well, what I will say too that, there’s just – in Amazon, specifically, like if there’s not very many chances you get to interact with your customers directly because there’s just kind of limitations, you couldn’t even know what their buyer email is, you don’t really always know it’s the official one. So, that makes your communication that you do have with them all that much more important. And so, with a feedback email, I’m sending one per order, for example, it needs to be focused on providing the highest value and being as helpful as it possibly can be because that literally your only – that is literally one of your only opportunities to connect with them.
And so, and I also kind of want to challenge the notion of like email should be focused on your customer. It should not be focused on me, right? Like we did a webinar not so long ago and we kind of had side by side comparisons and you know audit your messaging and make sure that your email isn’t focus on like, “Oh, as a small seller, please leave us a review because we need…” us – you know like there’s me, me, me, us, us, us again. Make it about them and see what you can do to offer them great experience.
Shannon: Yeah, I agree. And I’ll just highlight there some stuff because my favorite feedback tool that I use and we with all our clients is called Feedback Five. And there’s three reasons why that’s been our favorite. Number one is it allows us to really easily see out open rate which is critical. Like the open rate is the most important thing. I can send a thousand emails but if my open rate is like 2% or whatever then that’s just going to not be very effective and I need to have that data to be able to make changes to the email.
The two things that most impact our email open rate are your subject line and the time of day that it’s sent. So, the other cool thing about it is you can actually select the days that you want to send your email and even the time of day that you want to send your email. And they do really cool small things which seem insignificant from a social standpoint but you can add emojis to your subject line and people think, “Well, that’s so, you know, so millennial.” And you’re like, it doesn’t matter. It increases your open rate. So, on average, they get a 26% open rate from their clients that use their service. So, that’s just been our recommendation. They do a lot of other things that are really fun. You can do a product review link and it will automatically pull in the product image and information so you don’t have to like create those graphics or anything.
But a couple of other things that I think I’ll mention for feedback emails. We did a webinar not so long ago with Feedback Five and this was like the number one follow-up question. I talked about this, this sort of strategy that we use. And it’s a two-step strategy but I want to lay it out because this is also critical from customer service standpoint for two reasons. The first step is adding a product video to your detail page. There’s two ways to do it. If you have brand registry, you can actually add it to the top. If you don’t you can add Related Video Shorts underneath usually upload them as a seller. Or, there’s a tool called AMZ Product Video that will allow you to purchase that, add it to multiple ASINs that’s a little more efficient if you have multiple ASINs that that applies to.
What we recommend is doing a sales video at the top which again is super important for customer service, highlighting the product, highlighting the brand like covering all those aspects of it in the video, people love to watch video. And under Related Video Shorts, having some like not only customer testimonials but you can do unboxing, you can do assembly like training boot, how to use your product. That’s so critical, especially if it’s not like a pen for example. It’s a little more complicated, requires a little more time and energy. Those videos are insane in terms of what we call pre–customer service, meaning we’ve provided the information upfront, the customer never has to contact us and they have a phenomenal experience. So, pre-customer service is huge. Those videos can be super helpful.
Here’s the cool strategy that we use. We upload the video to AMZ Product Video. They add it to our listings. And that video get’s its own detail page. It gets its own ASIN. And what’s cool about this is in the Feedback Five email whatever email service you use, we do a screenshot of the video. You’re not uploading the video. It’s just a screenshot with a little graphic for a play button. And that play button links to the video on Amazon. And we said, “Hey, your product is arriving tomorrow. We’re so excited for you to watch this 30-second video to learn how to use it correctly.”
Do you guys know how much time that saves for customer pre–service, people who are able to watch video? And the coolest part about it is it’s 100% in line with Amazon TOS. We’re not redirecting them outside of Amazon. We’re not sending them to YouTube or Vimeo or to a website. We are sending them back to Amazon to show them how you use it. And any customer that come across that Detail Page, they get to see that video as well affording them by and they go, “Wow! That’s so easy to assemble. That’s so easy to use.” So, that’s one of my favorite tips for both the detail page as well as the feedback email strategy. Any other thoughts on that in terms from the emails or the video aspect of it?
Michael: Not off the top of my head, Tygh?
Tygh: We’re just – we’re a big fan of cool unique strategies. That’s sounds like a very interesting tactic because like you said that definitely it acknowledges TOS and it does in a very helpful way. And whenever Michael and I question ourselves, is this TOS compliant? We go – or is it not? We just think is this good customer experience? Are they – is the customer enhanced delighted somehow of the fact we’re doing this? And in this case, with the video, it’s very helpful. If it prevents a problem they have or an issue or them contacting customer service. As you said, it’s that pre-customer service. The best example we have is we worked with outdoor goods company and they sold tents. And at first, customers were complaining like, I don’t know how to set this up. It’s my first time camping. So, that led to we need to create some content around this and send it out. Here’s the guide to setup a tent. But yeah, over a visual guide will be the video setup. So, I really like that strategy.
Michael: Yes, short and concise, easier to digest.
Shannon: Yeah, people love watching video. I mean look at how much people watch YouTube. So, super, super important. And again, it’s really important to stay along with Amazon TOS. I always say that there are two things as general guidelines to keep in line. What are Amazon’s goals and what’s your intent? That’s just always the question we ask. Amazon’s goal is to keep people on the Amazon platform and to create a phenomenal customer service experience. So, if you can do those things and say, “Hey, all we’re doing is keeping them on the Amazon platform. We’re not trying to draw them off through a website. We’re trying to get them to sign–up for our email list. We’re trying to keep them on Amazon or we’re trying to provide a phenomenal customer service experience.” Amazon is typically we’re going to defer to that and typically would be in line with TOS.
Let’s talk about my next newest favorite subject, Amazon product inserts. We just came out with a brand new free course on our website MarketplaceSellerCourse.com. You can click on courses and go to the second page. Using scannable QR codes on product inserts. And the first time I tried this out, it literally blew – blew my mind. It blew me away. So, the idea is that QR codes and those little crazy looking graphics, nobody ever really uses them. People, you know brand owners, Nike or you know Coca-Cola may put on some insert but nobody has a QR code scanner on their phone. Like you have to download a separate one like I could just type on a website or what I use the QR code scan.
The cool thing about the Amazon app is it has a QR code scanner contained in the app and all it does is ask permission to use your camera. And it will scan any QR code that contains a link inside Amazon. So, this means if you’re doing a product insert which we’ll talk about just generally as well. You’re doing a product insert, you could say, “Hey, you know, can you leave us a product review?” Well, that’s great but like, “OK, I’m looking at this product insert, now, I’m going to log in to Amazon over here and search for my orders and find the product and click review.”
If you’re sending now a specific product insert per product, you can literally include a scannable QR code, they can open the Amazon app, scan the code and then on your phone, it takes them right to that product review page. It’s so simple. You can do the same thing about contact us if you have questions, same thing for seller feedback and same thing for those videos. We’re talking about videos like “Hey, your product just arrived, open your Amazon app and scan this code and watch the video to learn how to use it.” Is that not the coolest customer experience ever?
So, first of all, I want to encourage you guys, we’ll put the link below but go watch that course. It’s a free like 15-minute course. That said, let’s just talk about product inserts in general. Not everybody – they’d want to use QR codes, that’s cool. But let’s talk about some of the best practices just for product inserts themselves and then we can expound it to some of the best practices.
Michael: Well, I just kind of want to lift off what you just mentioned, Shannon. It kind of goes back to what we were saying earlier is that there’s not very many opportunities for customer touch points where you get to directly influence how your customer feels about your product or about the service. And so, that’s a great opportunity to reduce your customer effort that’s like a phrase that we tend to use a lot at SellerSmile is customer effort is how do you get them from point A to point B as fast as you can? And like you just mentioned like a QR code is a perfect example of that.
And so, product inserts on my end one of the like some of the most helpful thing that I have seen on my end is that I’ve seen sellers who offer like a warranty on their product that comes with their product. And that seems so simple like you might think that it’s like a very, it’s like a given, “Oh, yeah, I offer warranty people know.” But a product insert that kind of expands that kind of expands on that is perfect because so many people will have questions about what it entails? How do I come back in? Like how do I come back and use it if I need to? If you have a quick 1, 2, 3 step guides right there, that’s perfect use of it.
Shannon: Absolutely. Tygh, any thoughts on product inserts?
Tygh: Certainly, maximize them as much as you can as a seller. I will say that in my shopping experience, product inserts are the space where I see sellers who violating TOS the most often. And it’s – and some of these inserts are like, “Are you kidding me Amazon?” And so you know so whether – and I don’t think Amazon is intentionally allowing that. I think there’s just so much activity going on and to monitor this is difficult. So, that seems risky to me as a seller and I would – again, evaluate your inserts to make sure they’re compliant with TOS.
And then secondarily, us Shannoen’s strategy, that seems very, very effective. If I remember correctly, we did a Secret Santa, a gift exchange, internally with SellerSmile and my – my – whoever had me got this gift wrapped by Amazon and I believe Amazon’s default gift wrapping for last holiday season had some QR codes on it to say, “Go and leave a review for this product.” So the fact that they’re doing it and we know they test everything to make sure that it’s effective and useful I think indicates that maybe you should be doing it too.
Michael: I think it’s another opportunity to differentiate too. Because like that’s so key especially when you’re selling stuff that’s very popular especially when you’re in a popular niche is that you need to find every opportunity to differentiate. And that’s definitely one that would catch someone’s attention.
Shannon: Yeah, and so, again, we look at it – there’s two sort of standpoints and you know again, you’re using them in conjunction. So, again, if you’re sending a Feedback Five email or feedback email, and the product insert, feedback emails is you got probably like a 30% opt-out. People will just opt it out and receiving emails. And then within the ones that get sent, even 26% open rate is good but it’s not everybody. While for the product inserts, you have a couple of different options. One, it’s a 100% open rate. Nobody can opt-out and receiving an insert. It comes with the product, right?
Shannon: In terms of the scannable QR cards, you can include or not include them or you can also use some other really cool codes. And I think those can be helpful. So, right now, we know data why there are about 30% of people who use the Amazon app. Well, that’s going to increase every single year I’m moving for. I’m shocked that it’s not more people, you know, it’s not 50% or 60% but you know right now it’s 30%. So if you combine a feedback email with a product insert, you’re just able to get in front of more people you’re increasing opportunity to get that customer touch point. Like you said, these are Amazon’s customers. You need to respect that they’re Amazon customers. They’re not your customers.
And Tygh, in regards to your comment about product inserts, sometimes sellers maybe doing something unknowingly. They’re like, “I didn’t know that I could include that you know a link to my website with a promo code to buy this.” That’s what I do with all my other orders. But you have to understand the Amazon, so make sure you take the time to understand the Amazon policies for people who are doing it intentionally, stop being stupid, right? Amazon is going to open…
Shannon: They’re going to find them and they’re going to suspend their account. So, please don’t come back to us and complain. Do your homework and make sure that you’re keeping in line with the best practices. One, because it’s ethical. Two, it creates longevity for your account.
- Let’s cover our next topic, this is a huge one. We could probably spend all day but let’s kind ofcover ita few minutes. Let’s talk about buyer-seller messaging. What it is? Why it’s so important? Some resources and stuff to make that easier and then some best practices.
Michael: Well, you want to kick it off, Tygh?
Tygh: Yeah. Certainly, certainly, certainly. So, buyer-seller messaging, Michael and I when we started SellerSmile, we operated exclusively in buyer-seller messaging which is Amazon’s native customer service messaging platform. It’s where customers can write you an email. It’s where you can response to it. And what we’ve seen is that Amazon holds a seller first – responsible to respond within 24 hours typically before they mark that message over SLA. We’ve seen this metric missing for some accounts recently but the fact of the matter is this is where there conversations are happening so you need to be aware of if you’re a smaller seller, you might get one message a month or maybe you’re not seeing messages at all. But the sellers you work with and as your business grows we can get 10, 20 even 60 messages per day. In the holiday season it spikes even more.
So, what we recommend sellers to do especially if you’re selling multichannel is to use some type of third party ticketing system like Zendesk, like Desk by Salesforce whatever the case may be and funnel those messages into one location. Because you’re going to be receiving eBay messages, maybe Shopify messages as well but you can reroute your buyer-seller messages from Amazon into that common ticketing system.
And then from there, you’re going to be on top of it. You want to make sure that you’re responding appropriately again, at least within 24 hours. I delete it within several hours or instantly. And you’re making sure that you’re within Amazon’s TOS again, you’re not sending links to your business’ contact page or your warranty site. We’ve made those mistakes before and we’ve gotten slaps on the wrist. So, creating unique templates for buyer-seller messaging that are Amazon compliant messages that are maybe different from your current messages you’re using on your own website. Michael, you want to say anything on that?
Michael: Yeah, and to kind of add into that is that because this is a place where if people are contacting me they’re likely to have questions or they have trouble so it’s like the interaction starting off possibly like a potentially negative note. We’re very cognizant of that and use very empathetic language. Don’t be combative whatsoever. Like I think this is one potential downside of being a seller is that you might feel defensive about all these hard work you put into it for someone to just make a side comments about it.
But you have to again, put your stuff in their shoes, try to answer politely. Try to be clear and concise and fast. And one really, really easy thing that you can do is download Grammarly, Grammarly is like a Chrome extension, just make sure that you sound, you know that you sound clear and concise in your response. That’s a super easy. You don’t want it to be full of errors and what have you.
Shannon: That’s a really good point, you know, Michael. And we’ll talk about this in a few minutes but you know that might be one of the most important reasons to outsource some of your customer service simply because you can train somebody to get your culture and your ethos without the defensiveness because they don’t care in the same sense. They care about the customer. They care about the experience. But they’re not going to have that made like “I can’t believe you didn’t like the product. I can’t believe you didn’t know how to set it up. It’s so easy.”
You want to kind of remove all that emotion, in the same way you want to remove emotion when you’re corresponding with Amazon. You just want to get fast. But I think empathic is really important. And Tygh, something you said reminded me of this I think it was like an Oprah magazine cover. And it said, feel better instantly or even faster. I’m like, is there anything faster than instantly, like that’s impressive? If you could do it faster than instantly…
Michael: That’s for your customers.
Shannon: Yeah. In terms of customer service tools, one of my favorite is the one I’ve used because I haven’t used all of them is xSellco Helpdesk. And just so cool, they’ve got, I mean all of these different integrations and they have streamlined it to literally take hours and hours of customer service and streamlining 15 minutes a day. So even if you’re outsourcing and using somebody else, the amount of time that you’re going to pay them hourly goes down significantly. So again, there are thresholds where if you’re just doing that couple of hundred orders a month, maybe it’s very, very minimal, you’re hardly getting any. It probably doesn’t make sense to invest in a tool like that.
Once you grow, once you build which is why our courses are so important to learn how to optimize your listings and launch products and build and grow then you’re going to increase sales and you’re going to need some of these tools. And you’re going to need to outsource some of this because the whole goal of Amazon on any business is make it scalable, right? I was listening to a podcast on Burt’s Bees yesterday. And he said, “How did you go from 30 million to 60 million in one year?” And she said, “We were scalable.” That was it. So, creating infrastructure to make your business scalable super helpful.
One other tip on buyer-seller messaging: even though you want each email to be unique to the customer, use template. Start with the template and modify it. We do not want to waste time writing these things every single time. Even with the Amazon messaging, you can create some templates right in there so if you only send a couple a month or a couple a week, that’s fine. Create some templates because you know what the common things are. People have a question about how to use a product. They want to start a return so on and so forth.
Michael: There is a balance there too like you’re – even if you are using a template, you can use language that you know is a bit more conversational, is a bit more kind of put like less canned, you know when something sounds canned. And you know something that we do at SellerSmile every time especially if there’s something that we could send that we have a response saved for, is that we’ll take the time, address something specifically about what the customer mentioned. And if you think a set of instruction is going to be how to like process a return then we could – that’s a perfect example of using a canned response for something like that. And then personalize the rest of your message.
Shannon: You know, and this is an important point. This is both for the feedback emails as well as customer service emails. Personalize it. Say who it’s from. I know we live in a world that everybody wants to remain anonymous. And let you know, “Your Amazon Customer Service Rep” and you’re like, “Who’s that?” you know. But if you actually put a name and personalize it – so, we actually just started doing this with one of the companies, they’ve got two girls who are handling the customer service. And it says, you know, from so and so and so and so. And it’s cute and it’s simple. And then when they start messaging with them, they’ll see their names pop-up and they’ll say you know, this is who it’s from. You’re corresponding with a real person.
When people feel they’re not just an object and they’re actually in conversation with the real person, who’s not just slapping template emails like Amazon is known for doing, it makes them relax, right? It gives them a sense of trust. And especially if you’re replying empathically and human-like customer service experience, well they can relax and not be defensive because they know I’m going to be take care of. OK?
Michael: And that can be simple as like, “Hey, Shannon, thanks so much for your message. That’s a great question.” and then kind of go and answer that. It’s just little, little things like that. Think about like when you had a really good interaction with a company online try to emulate that sort of interaction, right? Your customers want to give you that same thing. They don’t want something that sounds canned, that sounds impersonal, sign off on your messages, things like that, it can all make a difference.
Shannon: Absolutely. All right. Let’s talk about customer service best practices. Now, this can be specific to Amazon but some of these can also just really practical principles. I have a couple stories to tell and some are personal, some of my recent ones. But let’s talk about customer service best practices as a whole, in general. And then you know some ones that can apply to Amazon specifically.
Tygh: Yeah, I have something great to start off with. So, back in the day when I used to work with Michael as Seller Labs, we had it as a top priority that we would stay on top of messages all day and it got to a point where sometimes the messages for that day were bleeding over into the next day. So, we weren’t quite finishing our entire backlog. And we got to a point where processes and templates were built out to where we were resolving all their messages in one day everyday at the same time. And the rest of the day is spent just doing other tasks or even just kind of handling messages that come back in.
So, I think in terms of best practices, a backlog is one of the worst things to have and unfortunately we do see sellers, some of them that we don’t work with but we’ve had the opportunity to see kind of behind the scenes is that they have backlogs that are weeks or sometimes even months long. And that is the worst customer experience to take that long to get a resolution for some issues. So start there. Make sure all your issues are cleared everyday and then you’re starting the next day with a clean slate.
Shannon: Yeah, Michael?
Michael: Yeah. So, I think that’s like probably just like one of the simplest way to start that’s keeping responses in the 24 hours. Again, going back, think about how you as a shopper would feel if you happen to wait days to get a response. And then if your response isn’t helpful, that makes it all that much worse, right? Like try to cover as much as you possibly can in that interaction. Try to anticipate like future buyer like their future question, right? So like the buyer might have a like a problem that would require replacement or a return. Try to explain some of that upfront as quick as you can, maybe in that first interaction. Because again, it goes back to that term of reducing customer effort on if you know that that’s where it’s headed. Don’t just beat around the bush. Your customer wants to get in out quick so try to be direct, try to be helpful by offering these solutions very like upfront.
Another thing that you’d want to start keep track of this, stuff like the amount of refunds or replacements that you do offer, Particularly with replacements for example, something that we do is anytime like we create perhaps like a replacement through what’s called an FCF order replacement like a multi-channel fulfillment order. If we are replacing order, an Amazon order, we will add an R at the very beginning of the order number because at the end of – at the end of the month, or however often, we’d come back and download and list up all these orders. And you could come back to your supplier if it’s something that was just like an issue with the supplier say, “Hey, here’s what happened. I – you would have pictures, I have the order numbers, I have the exact customer comment on what happened.” any stuff that’s perfect for you to get reimbursed and things like that. But also like, it’s good to see that and measure that against your sales, try to find patterns like did I get more or less messages when I made this change, when I released this product iteration? That’s one thing.
Shannon: Yeah, you have to make the shift from how you feel versus the fact. We talk about this all the time. So, I don’t care how you feel. Look at the fact, people, “I feel like we’re getting all these returns. I feel like I was like it doesn’t matter. Have you looked at the facts?” “No,” “OK. Well you – will you just stop looking at your feelings and look at the facts,” So, I absolutely love it to look at the facts. I want to highlight back again to this delightfully unexpected.
One of our customer services best practices is if anything goes wrong with their order, whether it was our fault or not, we automatically give a 15% refund, automatically. My order was late by three days. It was a birthday present. It was UPS’s fault. It doesn’t matter. We give them a 15% – sorry not 50%, a 15% refund. We just do it through it their order. It’s super simple and it’s so proactive. It blows people away. It blows their mind. They come back and give rave seller feedback and rave product reviews. And they’ll go, you know if they’re looking at it short term in their mind it would be like, “I’m not going to give away 15%, look at that product margin, right?” You have to think long-term.
And so, if we have situation where again, somebody contacts us about a product, they may not even be asking for anything. They’re just telling, “Well, I got his product and it was damaged ad da-da-da-da.” OK. And we’ll say, proactively, “We can send you a free and immediate replacement. We’re not going to charge you. And if we do that, again if there’s defect or any other issue, we’re automatically giving a 15% refund. We can just give you a full refund. I’m so sorry you were unhappy but we want to make it right.” And just giving them those solutions ahead of like you know when they contact, being proactive and saying, “Hey, we’re going to help you do everything.” It just completely disarms the situation.
And I can tell you we have had situations where those – what started off as a negative customer service experience, if you can turn them, if you can flip it, not by manipulation but by offering authentic, real customer service. They will be with you for life. And I think I actually sent this to you guys after our conversations, Southwest, in the book Nuts – talking about Southwest Customer Service, They were – talking about this idea of if you take somebody who’s have a negative experience and you’re able to convert that into a positive experience and win them over, they will literally be like lifers because it’s so impactful that they remember that. And it’s going to be so powerful and again, you go back to human emotion and word of mouth and just the implications of Amazon. It’s the leading positive seller feedback for product reviews. It makes the biggest impact long-term on your brand and your business.
Michael: I remember you said, I mean even just as simple as like I’m a very clumsy person so I drop my phone a lot, I have to get a new case every so often. And I just remember like I come back to this one seller consistently because of that exact same scenario where you know I had bought something, this other person was completely unhelpful. They were trying go back and forth like four or five email threads versus this other seller who I reported an issue to them and they said, “Hey, we’re so sorry that happened, we’ll just send you a replacement. It will arrive in two days.” It’s like I don’t even have to reply this message. All it takes is me just hanging out a problem, fixed. It’s in the mail and good to go. Now, that’s where I come to.
Shannon: Yeah. And people are shocked by that and like you said, it’s so simple, I mean one of my favorite recent customer service experiences, and again it was mostly customer pre-service. I never even had a problem. But Headsets.com I ordered awesome headset that I absolutely love. It’s wireless and I can walk around my house and switch between like my computer and my phone and I rave about it all the time. But it was a customer service experience. They went through and they were so proactive. And they sent this great little letter with an insert and they’re like “Hey, you know, let us know if you have any issues. When you check your headset, make sure the sound quality is great. If you have any issues, they said, you can call us anyways and we like to tell you mildly funny jokes.”
And it was just so funny like it was amusing but I absolutely loved it that the other part of the insert was they had a customer service phone number sticker in the inserts so you could put it on the bottom of the product. And I’m like, so helpful. That is so proactive. And customer pre-service. So, I called them and talked to the customer service team, raved about it.
Michael: They have great jokes?
Shannon: I didn’t ask them some.
Michael: Next time.
Shannon: I’m not interested in mildly amusing jokes. I want like hilarious jokes. But anyways, you know again, when people are not expecting it, that’s actually what makes biggest difference. I want to – I’ll tell two brief stories. One was we had this woman who we sent her the product, she couldn’t figure out how to assemble them. It’s pretty simple it was four screws. She could have figured it out. She was older woman, and she said “I’m just having trouble with it.” And we went back and forth for email.
I took a product. I assembled the thing. I put it in this giant over sized box that cost $45 to ship it – they come from Florida. And she raved about it. She changed her feedback. She’s like, “I can’t believe these people went out of their way. You know, here I am this grumpy old woman, can’t figure out the product. They put it together and they shipped it to me assembled and it cost them probably a fortune.” And that customer service story will get told over and over and over and over again. That’s how you win people just by being good customer service.
Tygh: Right. Shannon, and I totally value that story. You know, we’re all customer service geeks but if you’re a straight number seller and you see finances aspect of it, what you’re comparing is the $45 cost and maybe an hour of your time versus the future sales that it generates. And if you said that like you said, that story is going to be told over and over, that’s potentially thousands of dollars of future sales. Compared to that $45 to $100 you spend is well worth it.
Michael: And just to add to that, like my girlfriend and I were about to go traveling, and so I’m looking at all these Airbnb reviews and it’s so funny because – I’ve gotten to the point because a lot of the ratings seemed to be similar. I’m looking at how the person who listed it response to reviews. If they’re really helpful and you can tell they’re being authentic, you give them so much more trust versus you can tell when someone is like well, this is somewhat kind of your fault because that XY and Z. It makes all the difference. It makes the difference to me handing over all – all my money to you know trust them and then purchase.
Shannon: Let’s talk real quickly about that because I don’t want to miss this. There are two aspects in terms of responding. One, let’s talk about seller feedback. So, we got a process, we teach you how to do this in the course, we won’t go into it in-depth. If somebody leaves a negative product review in the seller feedback, Amazon will remove that. It’s actually outside their TOS. You have to know how to request it. We still recommend reaching out to the customer though to make it right. They weren’t happy with the product. Reach out to them and make sure you’re – you know they’re satisfied even though that doesn’t stay on your feedback.
Amazon allows you to go in and fix whatever is the problem with the seller you know buyers system whether it was delivery of the product, whatever the case may be. You can go in and you can fix it and you can ask them to remove and/or update seller feedback, very, very important. Knowing how do you that well. If not, you can just go in and respond to it and say, “Hey, I’m so glad you got your product on time, you know. It’s important to respond to that, make it authentic, don’t do a boilerplate again, make – each time people smell that from a mile away.
In terms of product reviews, same thing. Accept that you cannot under any circumstance ask somebody to remove a negative product review. Don’t do it. It’s a bad idea. What you can do is you can respond to that and say, “Hey, I’m so sorry, it sounds like you might have received a defective product. If you contact us, don’t put in a phone number, don’t put in an email address, just say, “If you contact us through your account, we’d be happy to issue a free replacement or you know, a full refund. Just let us know.” Every person than reads that negative review, because my wife, she only does that. She’ll read all the negative reviews. While I look at this product and it seemed great but I read all the negative reviews. If you’re addressing all these issues and they go, “Wow! This company actually offers great customer service. They just never took them up on it.”
Shannon: It gives customer service encouragement and confidence.
Tygh: You know and…
Shannon: No product is perfect, right? No product is perfect. So, it’s more important that I know I’m going to be taken care of than to get a perfect product every time. So, responding to the seller feedback as well as the product reviews is really helpful and you know we not – we used to not do this but I read an article that basically said, “You know a huge percentage of customers perceive a brand’s interaction when they respond to everything authentically. Again, authentically and uniquely that they care, that they’re engaged, that they well – it’s not just like, “Well, if you have a problem contact us.”
We are actually excited when you leave a positive product review. We are so thrilled that that worked for you. You know we’d love – you know about your next you know experience whatever the case may be. Anyways, initial thoughts on that. Any other thoughts real quick in the responses to seller feedback and product reviews?
Michael: One quick tip is that you know, on your public seller feedback page like where customers can see like all of your seller feedback and your rating, your seller bio, there’s a Contact Seller button. What we usually do is we copy that link and that’s something that we might use for like maybe at the seller feedback response or product review response. It goes directly to your buyer-seller messages.
But you know one thing I want to add to that is that your buyers are not stupid, you know, even if they see you like a poor one star, two star review, we’re looking at what the reviewer actually said to see if there’s any, there’s actually anything that’s being said that’s true. That could – is this sound like the person is just upset about something or does it sound like they’re actually talking about a product defects something that legitimately is something I want to be concerned about. And then again, looking at your response to it right? If you’re not being helpful then people will be able to tell that. They’re not – they’re not stupid, they’re seeing stuff everywhere so make sure that you’re responding in an authentic fashion.
Shannon: Yeah. I want to – go ahead, Tygh.
Tygh: I just got two points to add to that. So, we’ve been talking about seller feedback and the context of typically someone who’s using FBA but if you are selling new products merchant fulfilled you are going to care much more about your seller feedback because then that’s a reflection of your business and your services. When I sold coasters, it was part – FBA part merchant fulfilled. And we were tasked to get that seller feedback in order to improve the ranking of our listing. So, that part is important to interact with especially. So, understand who you are as a seller and if it might be important to you.
Conversely, just a great reminder when responding publicly to product reviews, don’t include any again contact information that’s leading back to your website. What we tend to do is either insert the link to your Amazon contact page or the steps to find that button in that page, So then you resolve the issue in private and you’re not revealing those details in a public forum because then future customers might expect that. Well, that person got to replacement or refund I saw but why not me?
Tygh: So, yeah just a pitch there.
Shannon: Yeah, really helpful. I’m going to share briefly. One of the best customer service experience that I ever have and I won’t go into detail because it’s a little too emotional for me. But you know it was actually with Capital One and we were going to delivery with our first kid. And we had situation where we missed payment and all these stuff. And I had this whole thing mapped out and I contact them and I’m like, begged – getting ready to beg them to give us some grace. He’s like, “No problem. I just took care of it.” And then they went above and beyond. And they sent flowers to my wife’s hospital room. And it was like for me, one of the most impactful things that you know a week later, they sent us a gift card to buybuy BABY. I was blown away because delightfully unexpected in a really you know challenging time of our lives.
Michael: And you still talk about it to this day.
Shannon: I still talk about it to this day, you know, I mean since before. So for me, that’s the kind of situation where one, I’ll be customer for life. If they maintain that culture, I’m never going anywhere. Second of all, I just you know, release that information and tell their brand story to thousands of people for free because they care and I responded to that. You know, and I care because they cared. So, customer service is huge.
Guys, let’s move into the last part. There’s going to be different situations for different brand owners, private label sellers who need additional help. And we talked about using services like xSellco Helpdesk like kind of minimize that. You can use that whether you outsource or do it in-house. But I want to talk about SellerSmile and I want to talk about what you guys do and the problem that you solve and the problem that you solve. And how you helped take the customer service element off a brand owner’s plate so they can focus on building their business while you guys handle things in a way that’s proactive, that reflects their brand, that reflects their values and you know the core fundamentals of how they operate as a company. Can you guys take a few minutes and let’s talk about that.
Michael: Certainly. So, some of the stuff that SellerSmile does is number one, the main portion of our offering is responding to your buyer messages and it includes buyer messages in Amazon, in eBay, Walmart, all of your – you know even your website as well. We have systems in place that will make it really easy to route those message to us. And then on top of that, we also do is we handle the product reviews and your seller feedbacks. What we mean by that is something where we talked about earlier today what we called reputation management which is removing seller feedback you can remove, commenting on seller feedback that you know was warranted. We are sending them a follow-up message, doing what we can in the same way with product reviews, right? Replying to these product reviews, addressing that customer’s issue and then pointing out those trends to the seller.
And part of what we do is like you know, we have this survey that we built out but asks you know everything from their brand tone to your policies, some of those stuff that you currently do. And then depending on where you are and kind of your experience level with customer service, us being kind of customer service geeks, we like to consult you on this services and try to tell you maybe the best practices and you know, and try to again like improve your customer’s experience, save you time, knowing that you can outsource confidently and as well and then know that your customer service is only improving and improving from there. So, that’s some of what SellerSmile does.
Shannon: Tygh, you want to expand on that?
Tygh: Yeah, I do. The way I see SellerSmile operating is we’re allowing sellers some type of freedom and it’s on the poster behind me. Sellers that are successful are usually trapped in their offices seven days a week because the customer messages never stop. I’m assuming a lot of people get into selling into selling on Amazon because of the freedom aspect. I can work from anywhere. My income is limitless. I have this potential. I’m an entrepreneur. And then your customer messages, pull you back in you know what’s – it’s almost worst than a cubicle.
So, outsourcing in how we use it today is not necessarily sending an aspect of your business offshore but it’s giving it to an entity like SellerSmile that specializes in it because they do it better. And just as a really quick kind of explanation of that. Michael and I are product guys. We’re not so technical but one weakness we definitely have is like technical accounting and finances and things like that. So we recently just outsource our bookkeeping and our accounting to a firm local here in Wisconsin and they specialize it. They’re CPA’s they know what to do.
The benefit is that since it’s not an employee, we are – we follow different laws. The text regulations are different and we pay them differently instead of having to add a full-time employee that might be high five low six figures, we can outsource an aspect to a company for the fraction of the cost. So, it’s a win-win for us. We save money and we get s service on that’s very critical. We get it done by the experts who know what they’re doing.
Michael: So that’s one of the things too is that like we want to reduce the amount of overhead for sellers and we do that by asking the right questions and making sure we understand your policy so that within a few days, we can responding to your messages as if we were kind of a copy of you, right? And you know any time that we come across anything that we maybe didn’t cover during our onboarding, we’ll connect with the seller and try to get that information. And we build it into this ongoing what we call a master SOP, like a Standard Operating Procedures document where everything about how we interact with their customer it’s all listed and it’s kind of in a way that’s going to be continuing to scale. We want to remove the bottleneck of being a seller even like if you’re a bigger company, being a customer service manager whatever, those better things that people in your company could be doing while still being able to confidently outsource that task.
Tygh: And if I can…
Tygh: If I could just put it into that. Michael and I and our whole team lives and dies by great customer experiences. We celebrate the ones just like you do Shannon and just like people who are really passionate about their company. We love it. We share those internally in slack and we’re really disappointed and disturbed when a customer is upset and angry and it affects us. So, since we’re those types of people where we’re just dispositions to be able to perform customer service well and teach people how to do it because we really care about it.
Shannon: Yeah. I did a webinar recently with Connor Gillivan you know co-founder of FreeeUp and we talked about this idea of outsourcing. And there are so many different levels. One of the cool things that their service does is we can pick US-base versus non-US based, if that’s a priority for you, if that’s important. Some people I understand they outsource their customer service all over the world. I know certainly Amazon does. But there are certain things with certain brands, certain sellers. They may just feel more comfortable with US based rep. And you know I know for me there’s a lot of thing where it’s like, “Yeah, I don’t care if graphic design that can be done anywhere but customer service really is important. And language is a huge issue, also just sort of cultural understanding with just cultural awareness.
Shannon: But your guys’ team currently is fully US-based and that’s huge because you can outsource with a high degree of confidence and knowing that the quality is there without the cost being the same because you guys built a system to make it really simple. So, I absolutely love it. We’re going to have a link below. If you guys are interested, I learning more, you can go to SellerSmile.com and click on the Learn More button right there on the home page.
But guys, thank you so much for joining me today. Super excited. And I can’t wait to share this webinar with all of our audiences and beyond. Wish you guys best of luck with the company. And thanks for being on the webinar.
Michael: Same. Thanks so much, I really appreciate it. Giving us the time to geek out in customer service, you know, anytime – we like to put ourselves out there and just answer questions. Even if we were just stuck on that – that not sure how the way to handle a certain case, we’ll be glad to help you out, just let us know. And yeah, thanks so much for having us, Shannon.
Shannon: Absolutely. And if you guys have purchased Marketplace Seller Courses or Amazon Brand Success Academy, these guys will part of our private Facebook group and so if you have customer service questions that come up, we can tag them in it and they can help you with their expert advice and opinion. So, Tygh, Michael, thanks again for joining me. And love having you guys on today.
Michael: Thanks so much, Shannon.
Tygh: Thank you.