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How can proactive communication about supply chain disruptions with customers drive better outcomes, mitigate downside, and generate more loyalty?

Brian Whalley

Co-founder at Wonderment

What surprised me when we first launched the concept of messaging a customer about a delayed shipment or a late shipment was, there were a lot of questions from the merchants around, “Should I offer a discount or something in return for late shipment or a bad customer experience?” We say, you don't need to offer them anything except the positive communication that just shows that you're paying attention. 

We see these examples and it’s not what we expected, initially. We had incredibly thankful customers writing excitedly because somebody was paying attention to them. It made me wonder at how low customer expectations have fallen of most brands. They really didn’t expect any personal service, messaging, or interaction, so when they received one clearly personalized to their exact shipping situation, it was completely out of the ordinary. Even a stalled shipment notification was actually delighting customers. We found that the messages helped especially if they were buying an item as a gift or for a special occasion, so if there was going to be any change or disruption, customers wanted to know so they could make alternative plans. Their delightful reactions to what’s ordinarily not good news, really surprised us.

The other thing we’ve seen is, for some of our customers' products it's actually really important they continue to use them in a really reliable way. We have a whole series of vitamin and supplement companies where continuing to use the product in the prescribed way is really important for the customer to get the benefits.

Having a two-day interruption because shipping was bad can really impact this. We’ve seen merchants, who on realizing that a shipment is running late and the customer is likely to run out of the product, ship them a three-day supply overnight. They know that if a customer's habit around taking their product breaks for those days, the likelihood that the customer stops taking the product altogether, forgets about it, or falls out of using it regularly is very high. So, they treat a three-day shipping delay, for a customer that's likely to churn if the problem isn’t solved, as being worth the overnight shipping of that three-days’ supply just to preserve that LTV of that customer. 

This makes the customer extremely excited that the brand cared about them in a positive way, dealt with the problem, and got ahead of it. It's not what most customers expect from ecommerce merchants, so, when they receive that service, it's a real wow moment. Whether it's gifts or products that take really consistent, reliable usage to work matters a lot.

Find this answer in Brian Whalley, Co-Founder of Wonderment, on Klaviyo's product-market fit
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