Handling Customer Support In An E-Commerce Store

Regardless of where you operate, good customer service is recognized everywhere. Whether you work in an e-commerce store or run a local one, focusing on customer support has become a winning strategy. And rightfully so, today, most customers know exactly what they want and don’t need extra information about the product or service they’re about to get. What matters most, is how you deliver that tangible or intangible good. Which is precisely what we will talk about today.

E-Commerce Customer Service Is Key

While many consider e-commerce customer service the same as traditional commerce, that is not entirely the case. First off, everything takes in the online space, meaning that there are absolutely no interpersonal connections whatsoever. Secondly, your customers are always viewing a picture of the service/product, a description, and occasionally some video meaning that your site is practically identical to the other dozen. There’s little you can offer in terms of uniqueness.

However, what you can do is provide exceptional customer service and support. Something that cannot be replicated by technology. Your customers return to your store cause of your service, not cause of your prices or products. There is always a place where the exact same good is sold at a lower price, which makes service all the more meaningful.

Having the ability to provide good customer service is what makes you stand out in today's world. To help you out, we’ve gathered a list of some of the most effective customer support strategies for you to examine. Keep in mind, not all of them are universally applicable but they will surely come in handy.

Provide Options

There was a time when companies only offered one support channel for their customers to use. There were no knowledge bases, no live chats, no nothing. You had what you had and it was perfectly fine. Today, however, that is not enough. One of the most important things you can do to improve your e-commerce customer service is to provide your customers with options.

"The more communication options you provide, the more customer influx you can expect."

Your customers want to see you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, and live chat. You must establish all these systems to satisfy your install base, as well as to be able to compete with other companies. The more communication options you provide, the more customer influx you can expect. And it’s not just the amount of customers that will increase, the average satisfaction rate will do as well.

E-commerce customer service advice

Speed is of Essence

Next on our list is speed. What we mean by speed is the amount of time it takes to order a product/service from you. If your customers spend more time filling out the details, you are doing it wrong and you are most likely losing customers as we speak. While it’s important to gather as much information as possible, you must also take into consideration the fact that your customers are buying online because they don’t have the time to stand in a line, search a dozen stores, or talk to a representative.

"Your customers want to save time and get the job done."

In an infographic posted by Tinuiti, around 80% of customers prefer to buy goods online cause of speed, topped only by the price. If your site takes more than usual to process an order, it would be wise to invest some time and money to improve this.

Help Your Customers

One of the best things about e-commerce is that customers can leave messages/questions and get answers later. Some of these requests will be simple, others more specific, regardless, creating a Knowledge Base is essential. This will help your customers help themselves and more importantly, offload work from your sales team. You can use this extra force to solve things machines can’t or expand another service.

When buying something for the first time, Americans especially value the ability to compare prices and ask questions
Pew Research Center

And it’s not just about you, a study published by Aaron Smith and Monica Anderson over at the Pew Research Center states: “When buying something for the first time, Americans especially value the ability to compare prices and ask questions”. Your customers will appreciate that you took the time to answer all their questions, which can lead to a positive word-of-mouth outcome.

Personalize Everything

Just like your business, your customers are unique and demand a personalized approach to service. They want to be the only important customer and they want to feel it on every stage of your website or mobile app. It goes without saying, the more you take time to custom-tailor your site to your customers, the more likely you’ll sell more. In fact, as noted in this Forbes article, personalization leads to more revenue and loyalty, and loyalty is your fuel in these harsh economic conditions.

"It goes without saying, the more you take time to custom-tailor your site to your customers, the more likely you’ll sell more."

In fact, it is estimated that people wouldn’t care if 80% of businesses across the globe would just suddenly disappear. It seems crazy but it is, for a fact, nothing new. In 2018 in the US, more than 3800 stores closed due to bankruptcy or shift in business scope. Having a strong brand will make your business sustainable in the long run.

E-commerce customer service practices

Gather Feedback

There is no way you can improve if you don’t know what your customers want from you. Gathering information is critical as it will help you understand where you fall short and what are your strengths. But this is old news. What you probably don’t know is how you can gather this information without looking obvious.

You may also like: Why You Should Never Ignore Positive Customer Reviews

Many companies employ a help desk system of some sort to support their activities. They are perfect at gathering information from across different sources. Whether its social media or website data or even sales data, with a help desk on your side you will be able to gather all this information more effectively. From sending out automated emails to specialized forms, they are perfect for such purposes. You can also crunch those numbers as well, making it an all-in-one analytics center.

Bottom Line

Last but certainly not least, you should definitely not forget is to repeat the whole process. It might seem tedious but knowing what your customers want from you is critical. You must never stay in one place and always try to improve. Staying competitive is all good but if your customer support is like a broken leg, it’s best that you take care of it first. But that’s all for now, be sure to drop by again as we cover more stuff like this.

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