Price and the product itself no longer play the main role in the buyer’s decision. An average customer has an incredible number of options to choose from, meaning that businesses must be willing to put a lot more effort to provide them with exceptional service, too.
Good e-commerce customer service is one of the key elements of the whole buying experience that shapes customers’ opinions about the specific brand and influences their future decisions by either leaving them satisfied or disappointed. It might result in loyalty, satisfaction, positive word of mouth (that we all know has been working very well for ages), customer retention, and many other things that definitely add value to any business.
That’s why in this article, we will go through some key tips on how to keep your customers happy and stay ahead of the fierce competition in e-commerce. Ready? Let’s dive in.
How to improve your e-commerce customer service?
- Build an inspiring customer support team
No customer service strategy will ever achieve its goals without the people who are always ready to deliver great experiences. It’s a tough job that not only requires having specific character and personality traits but also a clear understanding of the key customer service ideas.
Being one of the most valuable assets of the company, customer service representatives should feel motivated not only to just serve customers but to actually help them on a deeper level.
Where to draw that motivation from, you ask? There’s no need to look far for solutions. They are actually pretty basic and universal, yet the lack of these conditions might result in poor performance:
- Work environment. Make sure they feel safe and comfortable in the workplace. Ensure proper lighting, at least some personal space, consider noise levels, etc.
- Try to understand what makes them tick. Learn what keeps them going and how you can help them with their goals.
- Pay attention to everyday challenges. Observe (or ask) what makes the team members happy or frustrated in their everyday jobs.
- Provide a sense of direction. It’s very difficult to do the job well if you see no purpose in it.
- Trust them. Give them the freedom to operate on their own.
- Implement reward systems. Spice up the motivation game with some tangible outcome.
Employees that feel valued and cared for will not need an extra push to do their best.
- Provide self-service options
81% of all customers attempt to solve their problems themselves before trying to contact a customer service representative. That‘s exactly why it‘s important to remember that customer service starts long before your first direct interaction and fill the gaps in advance to reduce the chances of disappointment.
People don‘t mind switching brands, abandon their carts as soon as the slightest issue occurs, or simply leave without getting their answers now. Hence, you should provide a wide range of self-service options to help them answer their questions whenever it‘s convenient for them, thus increasing their experience and your chances of seeing them at your checkout page. Some popular options of self-service include an FAQ page, knowledge base, or use of AI (e.g. chatbots) to solve some common issues.
- Allow customers to use the channel they prefer
Yes, that extra Facebook or Instagram account might take some time to set up, but giving customers an option to communicate with your business on their own terms can definitely pay off later.
Because juggling channels and even devices is a thing now, and no one wants to search the internet for too long just to find that one email address hidden somewhere on your web.
The key is to provide your prospects and customers with an option to contact you instantly, from where they are – be it social media, live chat on your website, or anything else.
Of course, managing tons of interactions across different channels doesn’t really sound fun, but there are solutions, which brings us to the following.
- Leverage customer support tools
We’ve already established that without a dedicated customer support team, no business can survive for long. Yet no matter how passionate those people are, they will never be able to keep up with the growing customer demands without the right customer service tools.
Although there are many different options to choose from, such software usually allows to automate some of the support tasks, filter, categorize requests, see any necessary additional information about specific orders, provide quick communication solutions, etc. It can noticeably improve the way customer support reps work, reducing response times, and expanding the team’s capacity.
A good example of such a solution could be a ticketing system. It serves as a management tool that collects and lets you easily access all customer service requests from different channels in one location. This means that all relevant information that a customer support rep should have about the customer is accessible without the need of switching platforms, which is already a huge step towards a better customer experience.
- Make use of automations
The proper use of automation can noticeably increase both business efficiency and customer satisfaction. So many processes related to better relationships with customers can easily work on their own, with little to no manual intervention. And while they do, you can keep focusing on other things that also matter.
For example, chatbots can help maintain conversations with customers even if no one from the team is online at that particular moment. There’s no guarantee it will lead to a sale, yet it won’t definitely leave anyone unassisted. Even though it’s mostly for pre-defined, common issues, you should see what some of them are capable of nowadays…
Another option is email automations. In some specific situations reaching out to customers via email cannot be done without the human touch (e.g., when you have a very specific request to deal with), yet regularly sending automated email notifications to gain new customers and generate leads is a common business practice. Moreover, automating such processes as order tracking can help to prevent the possibility of post-purchase anxiety, boost your business transparency, and keep customers calm.
Whether you use automations we’ve just mentioned, pre-made templates, or anything else to communicate with your customers, there’s always a risk to appear just too generic, or even robotic. Besides, customer service isn’t just quickly answering recurring questions, processing refunds, or taking care of tracking challenges – sometimes what your customers really need is your thorough guidance and sincere efforts to help them make their decisions.
Believe it or not, but 71% of customers feel some level of frustration when they go through an impersonal shopping experience, according to the Segment’s The 2017 State of Personalization Report. Meanwhile, 44% of them are willing to come back and buy again after receiving personalized customer service. Learning their behavior, addressing them by their name, and going that extra mile can help to build closer connections and increase their trust with your company.
- Pay attention to feedback
Listening to what your customers have to say actually works well for both sides. First, you get to learn what might be going wrong with your processes and start working on fixing them. Second, your customers will notice that their opinion is valued, which will not only make them feel more involved but also raise their opinion about your brand.
According to Microsoft’s report, 77% of the consumers view brands that ask for and accept customer feedback as more favorable. It shows that they care, are down-to-earth, and are willing to change for the better. Such an image can make it way easier for customers to start doing business with a specific brand since they know they might be coming back later for more, too.
- Enjoy what you do
Although it’s crucial to always enjoy whatever in life you do, this rule applies to customer service quite a lot.
Sometimes, a customer service representative is the only person from the company that the customer interacts with. That particular moment can make an impact on his or her future decisions, not to mention that a dissatisfied customer is willing to share the poor experience with friends and family, according to various researches.
So if the customer support team is not happy about what they do, that would definitely reflect on customer experience with the brand. Keeping a positive attitude might even work if there’s no way to solve the problem.
An unhappy customer service team, inefficient processes, and caring just too little would not go unnoticed by a customer who’s trying to ask for help. Therefore, it can cause damage to your business that can be difficult to resolve. Acknowledging the importance of dedicated people and implementing the right customer service solutions are very likely to boost your customers’ satisfaction with your brand, resulting in continuous business growth.