One of the eternal truths of retail is that things will inevitably go wrong. It’s simply a question of numbers - if you’re lucky enough to be offloading large amounts of stock, eventually some of those units will somehow malfunction, or the deliveries will run into trouble, or some other common problem will rear its head.
The common denominator here is that something will happen that will make the customer unhappy, and you’ll need to make it right. A common mistake many sellers make is thinking the customer journey is over once they click “Buy”.
Post-purchase communication with customers is one of the most important factors separating a well-regarded brand from one with a bad reputation. Good support means the difference between loyal customers that keep coming back and customers that leave at the first sign of a slightly better deal somewhere else.
Amazon’s Product Support Program (PLS) helps brands establish their product support, allowing them to have direct communication with customers on everything from troubleshooting and technical support to parts replacement and other functions, helping buyers fix any issues they may have. The main objective of the program is to reduce the likelihood of returns and let the customer maximize the value they get from their purchase throughout the entire product lifecycle.
Benefits for Brands
Where support is absent, chances are that customers will resort to returning their purchase. This is an area that sellers don’t pay enough attention to - it may seem counterintuitive, but just because you get revenue from sales doesn’t mean you always get to keep it all. Refunds from returns can have an outsized effect on your profits - a return rate of just 5% can result in between 30% and 40% of your margin being cut on any given product, and can bleed out to your wider business.
Diagnosing the issues that are leading to returns, and by extension refunds, is not something that brands are always good at, making good communication even more vital.
Even more distressing - it takes three new sales to compensate for each returned order. The good news is that as of last year, brands that are enrolled in PLS have seen reductions of 68% through Amazon. While refunds may still happen directly with the brand, they cost far less and avoid many of the fees tied to Amazon returns.
This is especially important during new product launches, where customers don’t necessarily know what the product is, how it works, or if it works. At this stage, positive reviews are the lifeblood of your business, and if you start racking up negative reviews at that early phase, you might as well close that product line right then and there. Just 5-10 negative reviews can be enough to render your new venture useless.
Customers will always bring their business back to brands that they’ve had positive experiences with in the past. Here’s the important thing to keep in mind: a good customer experience doesn’t always mean perfect - if something goes wrong, the way that a business deals with it, the way they help the customer overcome their hurdles, can itself be a positive experience.
“I bought the thing and it worked” is good. “I bought the thing, had a problem with it, but the company sorted everything out quickly and took care of me” can be even better. An effective approach to PLS lets you turn a potentially negative experience into something that reinforces brand loyalty - don’t miss out on that chance!
For customers, having a destination you can go to answer your questions as easily as possible will go a long way to making that feeling go away, as the chances of it being resolved improve dramatically. Sellers on PLS are not limited to any single market, either - it’s available in 7 of Amazon’s largest country markets and 6 languages.
Onsite’s Role in the PLS Program
Enrolling in PLS is one thing, but taking full advantage of it is another. You need to have a centralized product support hub - enter Onsite, which delivers a complete, customized solution support solution based on the needs of your business.
Onsite helps brands set up a more personalized customer support experience with a suite of tools designed to alleviate common problems like returns and negative reviews. Onsite creates custom landing pages for brands, where they can centralize all their customer support through one portal. For customers, it means a convenient place where they can sort out their problems as quickly as possible and, hopefully, without the need to return anything.
Onsite lets you add a “Get Product Support” button directly on your Amazon orders page, opening up a more direct link straight to your branded helpdesk, where you have more control. This gives you a huge amount of latitude when it comes to helping buyers with any frustration they may have.
Is the product not working the way they expected? Direct them to a tutorial video that shows them how to use it properly. Are they having technical issues? Have how-to guides and other references ready for them to look at. The name of the game is giving them everything they need to be convinced that they’re better off keeping the item than sending it back.
Even with a great collection of detailed resources, it might not be enough for people to find everything themselves. Make sure you include ways for them to contact you directly - give them the ability to fill out forms where they can include as much detail as they can. You can even build functionality for chatbots that can help point them in the right direction before a human has to intervene (which you can also build in with live chats). Anything you can think of that makes the post-purchase experience as smooth and hassle-free as possible for them should be included.
Ultimately what it all comes to is customer satisfaction, and by extension, loyalty. You want the people who buy from you to stay with you, and enrolling in PLS will go a long way to help you do that. Visit Onsite today to see how your brand can maximize the use customers get from your products.