The internet is a chosen place for consumers to shop, yet customers experience a lack of personal interaction everywhere. This grows into frustration when they run into issues that do not get solved for weeks. Adding insult to the injury, the customers are not compensated properly even after getting their issues resolved. All this leads to a customer leaving the brand, followed by bad publicity. And let us all be realistic, every ecommerce brand wants to stay away from the bad press that eventually leads to less retention.
Talking of retention, did you know that it costs seven times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one?
Now, with the above fact in mind, think about all the lousy customer service that brands provide and then try relating it with the most significant threat to online businesses, i.e., competition!
In 2020, Amazon alone represented one-third of all the U.S. eCommerce sales growth.
Fun fact: A majority of customer dissatisfaction root in a bad customer service experience. In an online marketplace, customer service is the pivot on which a brand’s customer experiences turn. Customer support is not just about increasing sales and profits but also about standing out in the marketplace. Weak strategies lead to lousy customer interactions, and they can further taint a brand and cause terrible social media disasters.
If you are an ecommerce stakeholder, improving your brand’s ecommerce customer service should be at the forefront of your business development plans. With proper practices in place, you’ll be able to exceed what customers expect from you. This article aims at achieving one goal:
- To help you provide a unique customer experience that supports your brand’s promise.
Based on the e-commerce customer service trends of 2022, we have collated 10 best practices that you can build a cohesive ecommerce customer service for your brand. It’s time to roll up the sleeve and exceed your customer’s expectations. Let’s start with a quick brief explanation of what ecommerce customer service really stands for.
What is Ecommerce Customer Service?
Ecommerce customer service simply refers to the process of providing support and assistance to online customers. This includes everything from making better purchase decisions to resolving issues— all while creating a seamless customer experience across multiple touchpoints.
You need to offer quick assistance when your customers face any queries while completing a purchase or need post-sales assistance. Ecommerce customer support can help you look after multiple areas including but not limited to:
- Issues like problems faced while completing the checkout process, problems with logging in, password-related issues, unable to add products to the cart, etc.
- Common questions about product returns, refunds, or delivery.
- Consistent experience across multiple communication channels.
- Self-help options in various formats such as knowledge base articles, video tutorials, how-to guides, etc.
10 Best Practices To Deliver an Extraordinary Ecommerce Customer Service
Online shopping has become all “me-commerce” where consumers want to enjoy aspects such as 24×7 support, easy returns and refunds, unlimited offers, and more. Brands need to offer reliable ecommerce customer service at every touchpoint for customers to keep coming back to the online stores and avoid competition. Whether it is about offering a self-service portal so that customers can solve their problems on their own or offering personal attention through live chats, the following 10 ecommerce customer service best practices have got you covered.
1. Find Out What Your Customers Really Want
Assessing the customer needs is the very first step in building and maintaining extraordinary customer service. In fact, it is one of the most impactful priorities in ecommerce customer service. In a more typical fashion, the customer demands in the ecommerce industry usually revolve around:
- Price sensitivity
- Balancing fast and free shipping
- Seasonal discounts
- Quick support and instant replies
- Less response and resolution time
- Personalized support experience
- Empathetic responses
- Self-service tools
2. Proactive Customer Support Over Everything Else
A majority of online sellers focus on providing reactive support, i.e., taking action only after a customer encounters an issue. So much so that they forget the importance of proactive support. There’s a very thin line difference between both. For instance, reactive support would mean confirming a delay in the shipment only when the customers ask for an update. Proactive support would mean that you anticipate a delay and notify the customer about the same at the earliest.
Anticipating customer problems in advance will bring down the overall escalations, and it should be the first line of defense against customer queries.
How to offer proactive ecommerce customer support?
- Announce problems before customers notice the problems themselves.
- Be transparent with the customers about every little update.
- Follow up with customers regularly, especially after the issue has been resolved.
- Set up automated emails to confirm whether the customers are facing the same issues again.
- Take accountability for your mistakes. Accepting your mistake at the time of adversity can turn the situation around.
3. Elevate The Digital Experience
It is quite evident that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation by multiple years. Prior to lockdowns, multiple brands had perfunctory ecommerce websites to supplement the in-store customer experiences. These websites would be used solely for the purpose of optimizing searches or offering just a teaser to the assortment. Besides, the entire inventory was rarely available online, and equally rare was accurate visibility into inventory. But, COVID changed everything. So much so that:
Nowadays, personal interactions are almost entirely supplanted by clicks. This is where brands need to reimagine and push their digital customer journey in order to elevate the ecommerce customer service experience for their buyers. It is no surprise that websites that deliver the most personalized customer journey have received the most loyalty and sales from their customer base.
E-commerce sites that successfully manage personalization on their websites observe a 15% profit boost.
In a nutshell, a personalized customer journey that puts the customer at the center of everything will benefit more as compared to the brands that don’t. Here are some tips on how you can elevate your customer’s digital experience:
- Make sure they can reach out to you easily.
- Make sure you do not use too much automation for the query registration process.
- Your live chats or help widget should give relevant information within seconds.
- Ensure that your knowledge base answers precisely what the customer wants. Adding advanced filter and sorting tools features will help.
- Make sure that your response time for live chats is lower than the average expected time (which currently is within a few seconds.)
4. The Horrors of Managing Multiple Channels & How Omnichannel Fits-in
A lack of communication channels for customers to contact you, can drive off a large number of buyers. Besides, the world has arrived at the much-heralded, but little realized “omnichannel experience” phase. Omnichannel customer support simply means:
- Providing multiple touchpoints to the customers so that they can communicate using the channel of their choice.
- However, at the support end, everything can be managed from a single interface without jumping from one channel to another.
Meet Customers On Their Preferred Channels
If you see your brand as ever-growing and expanding, you should leave no stone unturned in offering omnichannel customer support. If you limit your communication channels to just phone or email, you might eventually make your customers run to your competitors.
65% of customers think that it is easy to contact a business through the phone. 39% of customers find it more convenient to approach a brand via social media.
Customer Preferred Channels of Communication
Nowadays, almost every e-commerce business provides omnichannel support. Omnichannel support ensures that agents can manage the messages, queries, tools, and passwords all from a single dashboard. An omnichannel approach helps you prioritize requests and maintain a redundant system for the same. An omnichannel help desk puts everything in one place and helps you streamline all the incoming queries from various channels like email, feedback forms, self-service, social media channels, etc.
Root For Providing the Best Omnichannel Experience
Go from flipping through various browser tabs to managing everything from a single window. Use DeskXpand to streamline multiple channels like email, feedback form, knowledge base, and help widget.
5. Customer Centricity For The Win
Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers.
Customer centricity should be the core part of any brand’s goals and values. So, how do you put the customer at the center of everything? By bringing together:
- Relevant query assortments (trending assortments)
- Customer data
- Predictive analytics and reporting
These three aspects give brands the ability to be fully customer-centric and allow the customer to dictate how they want to communicate regardless of channel. Building customer-centric strategies involve:
- Active listening through feedback
- Meeting your customers where they are
- Making customer insights accessible to support agents
- Operationalizing customer empathy into policies
- Investing in tools that allow you to be customer-focused
6. Optimize Your Website With Live Chat
Customers tend to have questions on their minds while scrolling through an ecommerce website. Be it questions related to discounts, the sold-out products, or product characteristics; if customers do not get answers on the fly, they’ll exit your website.
*Enters live chat widget*
Offering instant help through a live chat widget can get the job done. Live chat is considered a feature that has one of the best customer satisfaction rates. The majority of the customers feel satisfied when they use live chat compared to any other communication option. Integrating a webchat widget into your online store is considered a great ecommerce customer service strategy. Here’s why:
- Customers can get in touch with an agent instantly.
- Agents can handle multiple chat sessions simultaneously, which is not possible on other channels like phones.
- Generate upselling and cross-selling opportunities.
- You can integrate your knowledge base into the help widget.
- It lets you keep customers engaged and serve them a personalized experience.
7. Empower Customers With a Knowledge Base
In the hustle and bustle of the post-COVID world, customers do not always have the zeal to contact an agent to resolve their issues. They don’t want to wait for agents to pick up their calls or email them back. Sometimes, they want to do the job themselves and much more quickly. The ability to resolve an issue on their own is indeed an empowering feeling.
This is why you, as a brand, should work towards creating a dedicated knowledge base so that customers can simply search their queries whenever they want. Create knowledge base articles on areas such as return policies, shipping, refund procedure, estimated delivery dates, and much more. Many ecommerce sites have multiple online sellers for their websites. They can also include a dedicated knowledge base for the sellers.
Example: Etsy, an online store for crafts and handmade products, has created different sections for sellers and customers.
Delight your customers’ self-service experience; you can include self-help blogs, FAQs, or news about your upcoming services. Besides this, you can also include how-to guides and instructional videos to guide your customers better.
8. Automate Wherever Necessary
Ecommerce customer service agents always have to deal with innumerable support issues, deadlines, pressure, and difficult conversations. Automated customer support can turn out to be a boon here. Automation can help you rise above repetitive, mundane, time-consuming manual tasks. An automated workflow makes life easier for everyone, from support agents to customers. But, bringing in the right amount of automation is the trick.
Sometimes brands implement too much automation, and it hinders the customer experience. Too much automation can also show a lack of empathetic responses. Investing thousands of dollars in artificial intelligence is not how it works. When it comes to ecommerce customer service, brands should start with automating small, repetitive tasks like:
- Ticket registration and creation
- Ticket assignment
- Ticket escalations
- Identifying ticket collisions
- Ticket routing
- Trigger email notifications
- Deleting closed tickets or marking them as spam
- Setting ticket priorities
- Collecting feedback
A simple ecommerce customer support software can help you implement these functionalities and streamline your processes. Some other benefits of implementing automation include:
- You can create thousands of canned replies and save your agent’s efforts.
- You can set up automated emails that are shared with customers after the resolution is met.
9. Personalize Every Interaction
Personalization is the root of every pleasant ecommerce customer experience. Whether it is in the form of personalized emails, product recommendations, or simple greetings on customers’ special days, personalization rules the ecommerce customer support world. A robust help desk software will let you provide personalized support even at scale. Here are some steps to get started with serving personalized support:
- Share your product information regularly with customers via email newsletters.
- Encourage them to always use first names while interacting with a customer.
- Gamify your ecommerce customer experience with staged rewards for your repeat customers.
10. First Contact Resolution Will Always Win Hearts
First contact resolution is the number of customer issues that are resolved by your team during the first interaction only. When it comes to phone support or live chat, this means that the customer’s request is fulfilled before the customer hangs up the phone or terminates the chat session.
A large number of ecommerce experts might have heard about FCR; however, only a handful of them get the gravity of the term. Here are some solid reasons why you should aim for first contact resolution:
- If the issues are resolved in the first interaction, your agents will have to deal with less number of escalations and repeat contact. This saves a lot of time for everyone.
- First contact resolution has a direct impact on the efficiency of the customer support team. You can handle more issues with limited team members.
- First contact resolution is a key driver of customer satisfaction. It is a home run for any growing business.
Ecommerce customer service acts as a guide to online buyers, and it plays a huge role in determining customer satisfaction. Operating your ecommerce customer service without the right tools at your disposal can make things complex to the hundred.
Most ecommerce businesses fail to deliver a satisfactory experience. Save yourself from becoming like them. So, how do you maintain a high standard of ecommerce customer service, meet every customer expectation, and keep your support agents happy alongside growing sales?
The best way out is to use an ecommerce customer service software that:
- Streamlines your ticket queue
- Helps you solve support queries faster
- Helps your customers help themselves
- Lets you automate needed functionalities
- Enables you to serve empathetic responses
- Helps you evaluate your support with advanced analytics
- Personalizes your support encounters
So, if you are an ecommerce stakeholder, adopting an omnichannel ecommerce customer service software with easy-to-navigate self-service elements, automated ticketing features, and robust collaborative features SHOULD be your primary goal. Partner with reliable development experts. We are ISO27001 certified development experts with 15+ years of experience and hundreds of clients across the globe. Do not compromise on good customer service. Start serving your customer with DeskXpand ecommerce customer service software today!