A Guide to Effective eCommerce Customer Service
Customer service is a vital facet of any eCommerce business. It is essential to your brand’s image as well as marketing and sales numbers. However, implementing support strategies on your website can be challenging.
You can hugely improve your online service by putting the customer at the center of your eCommerce strategies. This can potentially increase customer retention and, in turn, your profits.
In this article, we’ll look at what eCommerce customer service is and why it benefits your online store. Then, we’ll explore five strategies to improve your customer support and experience. Let’s get started!
What is eCommerce Customer Service?
eCommerce customer service is the term used to describe the support provided to online shoppers. This covers everything from pre-purchase questions to issues with your products and potential refunds or exchanges.
Online customer service is typically provided through multiple channels, such as live chat or email. Additionally, businesses may offer different types of support, such as helping customers resolve technical issues, answering questions about products, and providing after-sales services.
Technical support could involve troubleshooting errors on your site. For instance, a customer might be having trouble accessing their account, or they might be unable to complete the checkout process.
Many customers will want to ask questions about your products before they make a purchase. It is essential to have customer service channels in place so you can answer these queries in a timely manner. You’ll also need to be available to resolve any post-purchase issues that may come up.
Customer support is essential to the overall shopping experience. This includes assisting with product returns or exchanges, issuing refunds, and addressing other problems arising after a purchase.
The Benefits of Offering Good Customer Service on Your Site
Offering good customer service is vital for any business. However, it’s even more important if you operate online. Given the growing number of eCommerce sites, you’ll want to offer a more efficient service than your competitors:
Being there for customers can help you win their trust and build a base of loyal clientele. Remember that it’s typically cheaper to retain customers than attract new ones.
Moreover, good customer service can help you gain new clients without having to put much effort into your marketing. This is because word of mouth is a powerful tool.
Good customer service can also help you increase conversions by instilling confidence in potential clients. If people see that you’re responsive and helpful, they’ll be more likely to make a purchase. This is especially important during the final stages of the sales funnel, where a bit of extra reassurance can go a long way.
Overall, providing good customer service should be a key priority for any eCommerce business. Not only can it improve your bottom line, but it will also create a better shopping experience for your customers.
5 Strategies to Improve Your eCommerce Customer Service
As we have seen, offering good customer service online can help you grow your business. Let’s look at four key strategies for providing efficient support on your site.
1. Deliver Real-Time Support
With eCommerce customer service being so important, it’s worth considering adding live chat to your website. This way, you can offer real-time support to your customers:
It will also enable users to resolve issues as they come up, rather than having to write an email and wait for a response. This can mean the difference between a customer making a purchase or going elsewhere.
Fortunately, there are several live chat tools that you can use. If you have a WordPress site, you might want to opt for a plugin like LiveChat:
With this tool, you can speak to your customers in real-time and send personalized messages based on different criteria. Additionally, you can use the chat widget as a contact form for offline messages during out-of-office hours.
Offering live chat on your eCommerce website is a great way to improve customer service and increase sales. By being available to resolve issues promptly, you can create a better experience for your customers that will keep them coming back.
2. Provide Self-Service Support
One way to reduce the strain on your customer support team is to provide self-service options on your website. This can be in the form of a comprehensive FAQ section, online guides, or video tutorials.
Offering self-service support has several benefits. First, it enables customers to solve their issues without having to speak to a representative. This can save your agents time and work.
Additionally, it improves the customer experience by providing users with the information they need.
A comprehensive knowledge base can be beneficial if you sell a technological product:
You can also use a chatbot to reply to customer queries. This can direct the user to the relevant section in the knowledge base.
3. Offer a Personalized Service
Fortunately, there are many ways you can offer a personalized experience on your eCommerce site. For example, simply addressing users by their first name could make a big difference. Whether you’re using chatbots or real agents, it can make customers feel like they’re having a conversation with a friend.
You could also use a customer’s purchase history to recommend the right products when they ask for suggestions. This shows that you’re paying attention to their individual needs and preferences.
Another way to offer personalized service is to send follow-up emails. After a customer makes a purchase, you could send a message to thank them for their order. Remember that addressing them by their first name can make the communication feel more personal.
It’s also a good idea to have live support agents at hand. Many customers feel more comfortable speaking with a real person. While bots can be helpful, they might fail to understand complex issues, leading to frustration.
4. Develop a Multichannel Strategy
As the eCommerce landscape continues to evolve, so too must the way businesses provide customer service. To meet the needs and expectations of today’s consumers, companies should develop a multichannel strategy that includes a mix of digital and traditional platforms.
Different customers will have different preferences. In a recent study, 31 percent of customers admitted reaching out to a company through Twitter, 33 percent on Facebook, and 45 percent using online chat.
One of the most important things to remember when developing a multichannel customer service strategy is that each platform has its own strengths. For example, you might find your website is best suited for self-help support.
Meanwhile, social media might be better for answering questions and concerns in a prompt manner:
When implemented well, a multichannel customer service strategy can provide several benefits for both the business and the customer, namely:
- Increased customer satisfaction. Shoppers who have a good experience with your customer service are more likely to be satisfied with your overall eCommerce experience.
- Improved customer retention. Satisfied customers are more likely to continue doing business with you. Moreover, they may tell their friends and family about their positive experiences, which can help you gain new clients.
- Reduced costs. A well-executed customer service strategy can help reduce your expenditure. For example, you can use chatbots on your website and social media pages to reduce the number of support agents.
Your eCommerce customers should be able to communicate with you through their preferred channels. This may include social media, email, phone/SMS, and WhatsApp.
5. Implement an Omnichannel Service
An omnichannel strategy is a customer-centric approach that considers the shopper’s journey across all channels. The aim is to provide a consistent, seamless experience for customers regardless of how they choose to engage with your brand.
When you offer an omnichannel service, the focus is on the customer and their needs. This approach allows you to provide a more holistic and cohesive experience. For example, if a client first reached out to you by phone, they should be able to continue the conversation through email without having to start all over again.
In comparison, a multichannel service takes a more traditional approach, focusing on each channel as its separate entity. This can often lead to siloed departments and inconsistent experiences for customers.
If you want to improve your eCommerce customer service, consider implementing an omnichannel strategy. Doing so can lead to a better experience for your customers while also reducing costs and improving customer retention.
Implementing effective customer service can be challenging. However, by ensuring that your business is customer-focused, you can retain clients and increase your conversions.
In this article, we looked at five ways to provide effective eCommerce customer service:
- Deliver real-time support.
- Provide self-service support.
- Offer a personalized service.
- Develop a multichannel strategy.
- Implement an omnichannel service.