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  • Additional fee for phone orders

    Are any of you charging an additional fee for phone orders? If so, how are you doing so. The only way I can think of is making a product called "phone order", but was wondering if there's a better way or built in feature.

    Thanks

  • #2
    I've never heard of anyone doing that. Sure it's a bit more labor intensive, but you don't want to provide any unnecessary barriers to people ordering from you. If you feel it's necessary, I would just make an item like you said, "Phone Order Convenience Fee", something like that.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the response. It sounds like that could be the only option?

      I'm not here to deter customers from ordering but it's a virtual age and we are here to sell online. If someone found my website/phone number, it's because they have the internet. We are often finding that people call us and ask a question and then place a phone order because they already have us on the phone and don't feel like doing it themselves. This is fine, but also takes up extra time of our employees. Our new thought is to charge $2 extra for phone orders. Thus far when we mention this, they either don't care and will pay the $2 or order it themselves. To my knowledge, this is not an uncommon practice.

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      • #4
        Every ecommerce site deals with this.. it's just the cost of doing business IMO. We do maybe 8% of our orders from the phone. Some people are just more comfortable doing that and we understand. Although it is annoying to have someone chat your ear off for 20 minutes when you could be processing 15 web orders, I just regard it as a necessity to the business model. I feel a surcharge would be a turnoff.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by inspironbattery View Post
          Thanks for the response. It sounds like that could be the only option?

          I'm not here to deter customers from ordering but it's a virtual age and we are here to sell online. If someone found my website/phone number, it's because they have the internet. We are often finding that people call us and ask a question and then place a phone order because they already have us on the phone and don't feel like doing it themselves. This is fine, but also takes up extra time of our employees. Our new thought is to charge $2 extra for phone orders. Thus far when we mention this, they either don't care and will pay the $2 or order it themselves. To my knowledge, this is not an uncommon practice.
          FWIW, I am an avid "do anything to buy online" shopper and often choose companies that sell online over ones that don't, when I have a choice.

          But, if I had a product question that required a phone call and was told there was a $2 charge for placing the order on the very same phone call I would hang up and shop elsewhere. :(

          Just a thought.....IMO, YMMV, every customer base is different, etc

          DaveW

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          • #6
            We offer a "deal" for orders placed directly online. We find that customers are far less likely to mistype their own email address and we eliminate the customer service rep from making a mistake.

            The deal might include a free gift with purchase when they enter a code - or we offer free ground shipping. We do take the time to explain that to reduce the potential for errors we ask that all customers place their orders directly online, which also give you the bonus of XYZ.

            Rarely is it a problem -- but if we charged them for a phone order, they'd get mad.

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            • #7
              I have 2 thoughts. First, I view a phone call/phone order as an opportunity to sell additional items. It's not a pushy sell, but we do ask the customer if they've got everything they need for their event and often times the phone call results in a larger $ sale than an online order might have.

              Second, you could think about offering a discount for an online order. If you think the phone order costs you an additional $2, then you can offer a $2 discount for online orders. That's your chance to let the customer know that they can take advantage of that. Sounds a lot more positive to inform a customer you give discounts than to inform them you charge extra for your time.

              Just another thought.

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              • #8
                You are definitely in the minority with your thought process for being an inconvenience with phone orders. I would run for the hills if i called a site to place an order and they told me there was a phone surcharge. Im sure you have lots of competition with whatever you sell, and as someone said you don't want additional barriers deterring your customers. If you dont want to take phone orders, don't answer the phone.

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                • #9
                  Sounds like there are two discussions going on. Whether the OP wished for opinions on both topics, I don't know... I'll ring in on both anyway :)

                  How would you charge a phone order surcharge? Yeah, I think just create a $2 item. You can hide it from the front end and you can simply add it in when you're placing the order. It will show up on the invoice and everything which would be nice. If you do this I would simply recommend you clearly state that if they'd like to order over the phone that they will be charged.

                  Should I charge a phone order surcharge? This is just me and my opinion, as it relates to my business... I would never do that. Yes, it's a virtual age, but people like to know there are humans behind the curtains who care for and love their business and customers. There are also many people who are simply scared to order online (whether well-founded or not.) I don't charge them for that. If my business has to be so tightly ran, that I can't accommodate a customer that would rather do things in person, without charging them, then I'm not going to like where my business has taken me.

                  Like I said... that's just me. I can't speak for others. If you MUST do that, I think I like the ideas suggested earlier of rewarding the web buyers instead of dinging the phone buyers. At least the perception is positive instead of negative.

                  Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

                  Mike
                  www.KarensCookies.net
                  Cookie Decorating Simplified

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                  • #10
                    For the extra charge for phone orders I would create a shipping method that was slightly higher priced, such as Priority Shipping or Expedited Shipping and then tell people on phone orders that this is the shipping method available for phone orders and you could also tell them that there is a less expensive shipping method for online orders only. This might get them to go to the web to place the order and it sounds like you are being helpful when you tell them about it. You should probably specify in your policies somewhere that the shipping prices seen online are for online orders only or you will get customers that will have a fit over it. I do see the point, we try to get people to order online too. We do take phone orders, but it is very difficult to understand some customers with foreign accents and so we try to direct them to the online store to order that way there will not be mistakes in their address, etc.

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                    • #11
                      We do not charge extra for phone orders. Rare here and we consider them as orders we would not have gotten without the option since people that call in for one reason or another need to call. (questions, reassurance, etc.) We only get maybe 15-20 call a year on our toll free #. At that rate each one cost $7-8 each and it still pays for itself easily. Nearly every one is a sale.

                      The suggestion of shopgirltx shipping add seems to be the best.

                      I would modify that thought by not making any mention of fact that shipping is higher on a call in. Give them the #'s and place the order.

                      If they do say that shipping was less on the site just say something like " Yes, the online shipping is automatically processed so it cost less to ship that way (which is true) but I'll give you the online price, OK?.
                      Last edited by mondo; 06-19-2010, 04:57 PM.

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                      • #12
                        I could not imagine charging extra for taking a phone order. We get at least 2-3 phone orders per day and are thrilled to have them.
                        http://www.pack-secure.com

                        Packaging and Shipping Supply Specialists

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                        • #13
                          I think that's the worst idea I've ever had. Customer service is key in getting business/repeat business. Who would ever charge a fee to place an order over the phone. Bad idea PERIOD.
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                          • #14
                            BTW we receive about 10-15 phone orders a day, we would NEVER think of charging a customer to speak with us, not even for tech support. This is called customer service and is expected in any online store.
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