The Importance Of Customer Service
Good customer service is arguably the most important factor that makes your brand stand out, especially in a crowded marketplace. It also ensures you retain loyal customers while attracting new business through word of mouth.
However, providing good customer service has become a lot trickier than it used to be. Gone are the days when customer satisfaction simply meant being polite.
In today’s world of ecommerce, customer expectations are rising with the increasing number of new online options. And, with the increasing use of social media, word of mouth travels a lot faster, meaning negative publicity can quickly spread.
Thankfully, you don’t need to take on this challenge by yourself! Here are a few tips for excellent customer service that you can start implementing today.
6 Tips For Ecommerce Customer Service
1. Personalise your brand
You may be surprised to hear that personalisation is still incredibly important in the ecommerce industry. While customers can’t form an opinion on your brand by going into a physical store, they still like to know who they’re dealing with.
Customers want a brand they can trust and relate to. By giving your brand an identity, you help them form a connection to your company – key to building customer loyalty.
Start by making it clear who you are on your website. Having a recognisable ‘face’ (not necessarily literally) will immediately make a brand feel like a realistic physical presence rather than an anonymous entity. This includes creating a website design with a consistent colour palette, high-quality images, a professional logo, and complementary typography.
It’s also important to have an ‘About Us’ page so people can get a better understanding of your brand’s values beyond its logo and products.
If people know up-front who you are and what you aim to provide, they are more likely to have realistic expectations about your products and service delivery.
For example, a customer may be more willing to accept a minor flaw in a product when they know it was handmade by the residents of a local old-age home.
Alternatively, they may know that your business is located outside of central areas. In turn, they now have a realistic understanding of why the delivery times listed are slightly longer than those on other sites.
2. Automate your logistics
Offering a service that you know you can fulfil in a reasonable time frame is crucial in ecommerce customer service. Nothing is more frustrating than waiting for a parcel that isn’t going to come.
This is where automating your logistics process comes in handy for an improved customer experience.
Automating your logistics process can result in:
- Optimised inventory management: Automated systems ensure that you always have stock before a customer makes a purchase to avoid delivery delays.
- Reduced delivery costs and faster order fulfilment: Efficient packing and routing lowers delivery costs while speeding up the process – a no-brainer when it comes to increasing overall satisfaction.
- Improved order tracking: Real-time order tracking creates transparency, keeping clients more in the loop over their orders.
If you want to maintain consistent customer service, automation is the way to go when it comes to logistics.
While we’re in the warehouse, let’s talk packaging. Every time someone receives their order, they are unwrapping a present. Now, a present that was carelessly thrown in a box versus one that was thoughtfully wrapped creates a very different customer experience.
3. Be contactable
Accessible customer service builds stronger customer relationships. It’s human nature to want to be heard and valued, which is why being contactable is so important when you have an online store.
Being able to receive feedback, provide support and answer customer queries creates brand loyalty. People trust an ecommerce business more when there is an open line of communication that goes both ways.
To ensure that your ecommerce business is easily contactable, here are some practical tips:
- Offer multiple contact channels: Live chat, phone, email, social media, and even a chatbot can provide diverse options for customer convenience.
- Display contact details prominently: Your contact details should be displayed clearly on your website, marketing materials and social media.
- Ensure prompt response times: Set realistic expectations for response times and stick to them. Aim for immediate or within-the-hour responses for time-sensitive queries.
- Train your customer support team: Equip your customer service teams with the knowledge and skills to handle inquiries effectively and efficiently.
- Personalise your interactions: Address clients by name, listen actively to their concerns, and offer helpful solutions.
4. Value customer feedback
Receiving customer feedback is an important aspect of customer service. It ensures that issues in your business model are promptly addressed to avoid more dissatisfied customers.
Additionally, it can turn an unsatisfied customer into a satisfied one. For example, if a customer provides negative feedback on one of your products, you can rectify this problem to ensure they receive a product or a solution they are happy with.
However, with the ever-evolving world of ecommerce, it’s more important than ever to incorporate newer technologies into your processes. This includes automating your data-driven insights into your customer feedback.
Collect and analyse consumer feedback from multiple sources, including online reviews, social media and your own support line. Once you have compiled this information, you can identify common queries and pain point areas. This can include product quality, delivery delays, and customer service interactions.
An online business can then implement strategies to prevent these issues from reoccurring, which will undoubtedly increase customer satisfaction.
Social media has allowed buyers to have an omnichannel experience with your brand. This means that a buyer can interact with your business through multiple channels, be it Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
But it’s not just a way for a customer to interact with your business; social media allows you to create a two-way dialogue with your customers as well. While the thought of negative feedback going viral can be off-putting, being proactive on social media is far likelier to be your chance to show off your great customer service skills.
By having a prominent presence on social media, you can provide real-time support to your customers. This also provides an opportunity for you to showcase your effective handling of complaints.
Potential buyers can gain an idea of your customer service by seeing how you interact with your existing customers.
However, managing customer experiences on social media can be quite daunting, especially seeing that the audience is so large and that there is a higher risk of negative feedback going viral. On top of this, according to the 2023 Sprout Social Index, around 70% of customers expect a response to their queries on social media within 24 hours.
To overcome these challenges, you can invest in help desk software to streamline this process. For example, with Help Scout’s Facebook Messenger software, you can handle all your Facebook messages in one place.
6. Let your customers know you appreciate them
Showing your buyers that you value them and appreciate their business goes a long way in building strong customer relationships and improving your service.
Here are some simple, yet effective, solutions that your online business can implement so that your customers know that their business is appreciated:
- Send personalised thank-you emails: Once a purchase is made, send an automated thank-you email that addresses the customer by name and acknowledges the order.
- Offer exclusive benefits: This could include creating a loyalty program that rewards returning customers with discounts or early access to new products.
- Showcase customer testimonials: Collect positive customer reviews and display them on your website, social media, and marketing materials. This lets a buyer know that you acknowledge and appreciate their reviews.
- Surprise gifts or promotions: Occasionally send surprise gifts to a random selection of customers. These could include free samples, discounts or exclusive offers.
- Personalised product recommendations: Use customer data and purchase history to provide personalised product recommendations to your buyers. This demonstrates that you understand their needs and interests, fostering a more attentive and positive customer experience.
What is the customer service process of ecommerce?
The ecommerce customer service approach prioritises replying to product queries, processing returns and deliveries, updating customers about delivery times and attending to client feedback.
What is the fastest way to improve ecommerce customer service?
Being responsive is the fastest way to improve ecommerce customer service. When buyers need to wait for answers to their questions or updates on their products, their customer satisfaction score falls. In turn, they will instantly view your business as having poor customer service.
While ecommerce offers vast opportunities, it also demands excellent customer service to stand out. In this competitive landscape, exceptional service isn’t just about efficiency; it’s about forging personal connections, exceeding expectations and fostering brand loyalty.
By personalising your brand, automating key processes and embracing open communication channels, you can create a seamless, supportive experience that results in happy, paying customers.
Remember, every interaction, from packaging with care to actively seeking feedback, can contribute to the customer experience. Invest in these six strategies and watch your ecommerce website thrive.