E-commerce customer service helps online businesses to consolidate customers’ purchases and resolve queries. This overall enhances customer shopping experience leading to a stronger customer base. The following guide discusses reasons to use e-commerce customer service, tips for building great customer service in e-commerce, and more. So, let’s get started.
What is E-commerce Customer Service?
E-commerce customer service defines how online businesses interact and assist customers in their shopping journey.
In other words, it is the process of assisting new or existing online customers whenever they face queries or challenges through their shopping journey. The key goal of any e-commerce customer service team is to offer a hassle-free customer experience.
E-commerce businesses should consider all ways in which a customer may interact with their brand. Based on how they interact, these businesses should provide user-friendly assistance throughout their online shopping journey. It may involve answering their questions on the business’ website, through social media, emails, or telephone calls. An ideal e-commerce customer service ensures customers are always satisfied with their digital shopping experience.
Customer service for e-commerce describes strategies, technologies, and best practices to ensure the best online store experience. It stands out from retail client service in the following ways.
- The e-commerce customer service works online and swiftly
- The e-commerce customer support is convenient, reliable, and quick.
- It always derives feasible solutions to customers’ problems.
After getting familiar with what e-commerce customer service is, let’s go through the reasons to invest in e-commerce customer service.
Why Should Online Retailers Invest in E-commerce Customer Service?
The following factors clarify why online retailers must invest in e-commerce customer service.
An elegantly designed e-commerce website increases your business credibility. The clearly highlighted and elegantly presented customer service details can clear confusion customers may have. Investing in e-commerce customer service ensures your business prioritizes working on customers’ queries and thus creates a credible brand image in the market.
More people are making purchases online
According to Statista, e-commerce will generate 22% of global retail sales by 2023. More than 75% of people shop online at least once a month. You can consider these statistics about customers when formulating an e-commerce strategy. It helps you understand why providing quality service and resolving customer queries matter most.
Accessible round the clock
An e-commerce store lets you sell your services or products to customers 24/7. Staying open all the time can boost your sales. Moreover, it eliminates geographic or time restrictions.
Access to several tools
Depending on your business needs, you get access to several tools to build awesome customer service in e-commerce. You can choose from popular options like Shopify, Shopify Plus, WooCommerce, Magento, BigCommerce, Wix, and Squarespace.
What Are the Benefits of Providing E-commerce Support Services?
Boosts customer acquisition
Online shopping presents a myriad of options. It can become overpowering, chiefly if the product or service in the query is complex and needs several touchpoints to close a sale.
Customer service for e-commerce allows your business to offer quick, all-inclusive assistance to leads from the start of the business deal. Thus, the support system thus established at the beginning builds your customer base.
Boosts customer retention
Customer loyalty is crucial for any e-commerce business. Fast, reliable customer service and support in e-commerce help maintain that. In its State of Global Customer Service Report 2018, Microsoft found that 95% of survey respondents expressed that customer support is significant to them when selecting and staying with a brand. The study concluded that customer service is a foundation to brand loyalty and customer retention.
Providing appropriate assistance guarantees a positive customer experience, irrespective of what issues they face in their shopping journey. This leads to establishing a loyal and reliable customer base.
E-commerce customer service involves advanced technology. It uses tools like software management systems, automation, and integrations to save time when dealing with customer service activities. Sellers can devote this time to offer more personalized care to customers.
How is E-commerce Customer Service Different From Retail Customer Service?
The following factors justify how e-commerce customer service differs from retail customer service.
One of the major differences between retail customer service and e-commerce customer service is the response time.
The response is immediate when a customer visits a physical store. The appointed salesperson will contact the customer and resolve their concerns immediately. Whereas, e-commerce customer service lacks the physical presence of a salesperson. Online sellers must mimic the response in their e-commerce business too.
Your customer would approach another site if they can’t get their concerns resolved timely from your e-commerce store. Consequently, this increases the cart abandonment rate and decreases your business reputation in the market. The agents appointed by an e-commerce store must immediately respond to the customers’ concerns via omnichannel customer service software. A quick response is a key priority.
Customers’ expectations fulfillment
You must remember that customer expectations increase when shopping from an online business. Many customers expect their queries or emails to be answered in just a few hours. This can be challenging for many small e-commerce stores. Customers rate the entire shopping journey ranging from the shopping cart to shipping. Hence, e-commerce customer service should prioritize personalization to fulfill customer expectations.
Choosing the Right Customer Service Channels
Your e-commerce business requires a multi-channel approach to best serves the customers. Knowing your needs, location, and preferences will help you better engage with them. You can consider the following aspects to choose the right customer service channels.
1. Social media
It is one of the prevalent channels to inform your customers how much you care for them. Using social media platforms to respond to customer inquiries provides your e-commerce business with a quick and easy way to engage with customers.
Typically, customers will discuss your products or services on social channels rather than directly communicating with you. The feedback they leave about you on social media can help you personalize your e-commerce business process if required and you can now respond more dynamically.
This customer service channel is well-known for providing quick customer support. Email templates are great starting points if you want to boost your customer service speed. These help to formally and quickly respond to their queries.No need to entirely scrap the human interaction part. This is because customers still prefer to feel that they are communicating with actual human beings and not robots.
3. Live chat
Customers nowadays have high expectations regarding quick responses. This trend is gradually getting more prevalent with the advancement in technology and the inception of new communication tools. Live Chat is one such tool. It allows your team to handle numerous customer issues at once. Ultimately, it increases your e-commerce business efficiency and satisfies customers with quick response time and quick resolution time.
4. Telephone support
It may seem that telephonic support is now obsolete with the inception of the latest communication tools. However, many shoppers still prefer communicating with customer support via telephone. This is because they want to address their issues clearly with human interaction. Ensure to include the customer support’s telephone number on your website to let customers easily contact the support team.
5. Blog content
The blog content can indirectly answer the queries of several customers. This is because your blog content will be centered on your products and services. So, when customers visit your website’s blog content web page, they may get solutions to their queries.
Tips for Building Your E-commerce Customer Service
You can effectively build e-commerce customer service by following these tips.
1. Have a robust omnichannel strategy
The omnichannel strategy helps to create a seamless experience for your customers across all channels you sell.
To build an effective omnichannel customer support strategy, you must focus on three core aspects to make the customer experience seamless. These aspects are,
- Recognize the touchpoints chosen by your customers
- Understand your customer journey and devise a strategy to engage them over those touchpoints
- Provide a consistent experience all through their customer journey
2. Build out a great customer service team
The customer support team becomes a subset of the customer journey when the efforts are included in the right amount in the e-commerce-integrated customer service. The entire customer service strategy is reinforced when you involve a support team to assist customers at each stage of their buying journey. Hence, when your customer service level is raised, it boosts the sales conversation rate.
3. Be consistent
Customers expect e-commerce customer service to be consistent on all communication channels to ensure they don’t get confused about the conversation’s outcome.
Consistent e-commerce customer service helps in the following ways.
- It helps decrease the average response time
- It helps attain deeper insights into the customer journey and profiles
- It helps attain a high first contact resolution (FCR) rate
4. Act on customer feedback
Satisfied customers are the ones who can best advertise your products/services. They can recommend your products/services and support your brand with positive feedback.
Customer feedback is one of the fundamental elements of e-commerce business growth. E-commerce customer service can collect feedback that provides a transparent outlook on how effectively your business performs. The right time to ask for customer feedback is instantly after a customer service conversation or product demo.
Reviews given by customers helps your e-commerce business in the following ways:
- Improves products and services
- Measures customer satisfaction
- Improves customer retention
- Delivers a better customer experience
- Enhances your customer communication
5. Improve your response time
Having a quick and responsive customer service facility boosts customer satisfaction rate. You can develop an accessible email option or telephone calls. The live chat option helps you to save costs by decreasing the customer interaction response time. Therefore, it increases the conversion rate and sales of your e-commerce business. Live engagement tools and live chat software help achieve an outstanding customer service experience.
6. Provide assistance with every step of the way
Online shoppers require assistance at different steps in the order process. Providing real-time support through live chat or by installing an e-commerce bot can assist customers in making quicker sales decisions.
This e-commerce customer service strategy helps you to ascertain that you map out your buyer’s touchpoints to optimize satisfaction at every step. It enables you to discern any typical customer pain points. Moreover, it lets you improve areas where customers may get irritated or confused.
7. Make shipping and return policies clear.
The best method to solve a customer service problem is to prevent it from taking place. However, if it arises, the simplest way to tackle it is to make your shipping and return policies crystal-clear.
The shipping and return policies must include the following
- Order processing times
- Policy on shipping to alternative addresses including PO and APO boxes
- Shipping options with their costs
- Delivery times for different shipping options
- Taxes or additional charges
- Weekend shipping available or not
You can add FAQ pages on your e-commerce website to entail information on shipping, billing & payments, returns, and refunds information policy.
What Makes for Great E-commerce Customer Service?
The following facets contribute to great customer service in e-commerce.
Speed: Fast resolution times and self-service options
It is a crucial requirement for excellent e-commerce customer service. It implies the speed at which your e-commerce store team members can respond to and resolve support tickets. The self-service options help customers quite faster because they eliminate the waiting time for an agent.
Convenience: A multichannel approach
The path to reaching out to your customer service team must not be complex and lengthy. Reducing response time is not enough. You also have to create multiple touchpoints or an omnichannel experience. They help your customers contact you through text, email, social media, etc., irrespective of location.
Helpfulness: Clear, correct answers
All your efforts in improving your e-commerce customer service are unsuccessful if it is not helpful. Though convenience and speed are vital, your customers will not be satisfied if their problems are not effectively resolved. So, make sure to provide clear and correct answers to their queries.
Friendliness: Consistent voice and tone
Your e-commerce store’s customer service representatives are in direct contact with your customers. They are the human voice of your e-commerce store. So, those voices must be friendly, consistent, and encouraging to ensure customer satisfaction.
Measurable: A data-driven approach to help optimize
Great customer service is incomplete without clear KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that are allied with company objectives like revenue generation and customer retention. These objectives define how your customer service adds value to your e-commerce store. Make sure to analyze and optimize KPIs that influence your customer shopping experience.
Feedback-Focused: To continue improving the customer service experience
One of the most effective ways customer service creates value for your e-commerce store is by generating customer feedback. It is easy to collect customer feedback through your support services. Consequently, it helps you to constantly improve your products, customer support, and overall customer experience.