Tips to improve customer service in your online store
While eCommerce sites can be extremely convenient, they can fail in certain areas. The most common is the difficulty of providing the same quality in customer service that you would find in a physical store.
However, providing great service in e-commerce is just as important as in any consumer-facing business.
Why is customer service so important?
Ecommerce customer service revolves around addressing customer questions, needs, and concerns before, during, and after online sales.
It means responding to the messages you receive on your website, app, email, WhatsApp and social media efficiently, to close sales and capture leads quickly while they are engaged.
According to Microsoft’s State of Global Service Report, 61% of consumers consider customer service “very important,” a factor that takes the place of price and product as the main differentiator of the brand.
An excellent customer experience helps build store/brand trust and encourages repeat purchases. However, a negative experience can result in lost sales, damaged reputation and negative reviews.
Globally, 60% of consumers said they stopped doing business with a brand due to a poor customer experience. This number increases to 68% for those aged between 18 and 34.
It is estimated that it costs five times more to attract new customers than it does to retain them, so keeping existing customers happy is crucial if you want to have long term success.
9 ways to provide great customer service
When you sell products or services online, interacting with customers to provide great service can be difficult.
However, there are many ways to provide good customer service; it just takes a little more work.
Here are some tips to improve the way you interact with consumers through your online store.
1. Develop a multichannel strategy
A study of Aberdeen Group found that companies with an omnichannel customer experience well-defined have a customer retention rate of 91%.
Developing a multi-channel strategy means you need to be where your customers are, be it Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Live Chat or, most likely, across all of these channels.
You need to provide consistent customer service across all media, ensuring standardization and quality of the support provided.
2. Implement Live Chat
Studies claim that Live Chat helps to generate 3 to 5 times more conversions.
This simple instant messaging software allows customers to receive an immediate response, rather than waiting 24 hours or more for someone to respond to an email.
It is very convenient and less expensive than phone support as customer service representatives can handle multiple chats simultaneously.
3. Make key information available online
If you’re considering making an online purchase, one of the most frustrating things is not being able to easily find the information you want.
To prevent this from happening and the frustrated customer ending up giving up the purchase, make sure that your website has all the information about the products or services offered very clear, as well as payment methods, delivery time, return policy, cost of shipping and everything else that is relevant to the purchase.
Having one FAQ section is also quite useful and can save your customer service team a lot of time.
4. Take advantage of social media
With people spending a good portion of their day browsing social media, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the first channels they use to communicate with a business.
And not only do they expect to be answered, but require a quick response. In fact, research shows that 42% of people who contact companies via social media expect a response within 60 minutes.
Meeting these expectations can be difficult, but it’s important. Engaging with customers through social media allows you to communicate directly, build relationships, and generate positive reviews for your brand, which is quite effective in attracting new customers.
5. Delight your customers
Offering a great shopping experience it’s also part of customer service as it contributes to retention.
According to HBR, increasing customer retention rate by 5% increases profits by at least 25%. Organizations that understand the importance of retaining customers work hard to provide a seamless experience for their existing buyers.
See some ideas that your online business can implement:
- Reward via email or loyalty points after customers purchase products or services, which can be later redeemed.
- Send a handwritten thank-you note with the package, if possible.
- Implement a referral program that will benefit both your existing customers and new buyers.
- Send freebies with their order to your most loyal customers. This could be a dessert in the case of a restaurant, or an accessory in the case of a store, and so on.
- Offer free shipping for customers who live close to your establishment or who reach a minimum order value.
6. Provide app support for mobile users
One thing is very clear – if you are working with online sales, it is absolutely necessary to serve the users who do mobile shopping. If you’re not doing this, it means you’re losing money.
Offering support options for customers within your app is crucial, so if you don’t have your own app, make sure the platform you use has customer support tools that work well on mobile devices.
Keep in mind that over 55% of online searches are now done via mobile devices and that number is expected to continue to rise.
7. Ask for feedback
If you really want to provide the best customer service, knowing what your buyers think about your brand, business, products and services is of utmost importance.
While this feedback is not always positive, it is always helpful as it provides a transparent view of the performance of your business.
Customer feedback is important for businesses to grow in the following ways:
- Measure customer satisfaction
- Helps improve products and services
- Provides a better customer experience
- Increases customer retention rate
The right time to ask for feedback is immediately after a customer service conversation or upon receipt of the product.
8. Provide valuable follow-up
After a customer makes a purchase, send a thank you email, ask for feedback, and make new valuable offers.
Buyers are more likely to convert when your brand is still fresh in their minds. Also, good offers show that you care about keeping them as a customer.
If there was any problem or doubt during the purchase process, it is essential that, even after the issue has been resolved, you contact the client and follow up to ensure that the problem has been fully resolved and that the customer is satisfied with the service.
You can do this through an email or a message via WhatsApp, for example, the goal is to show the customers that you are on their side.
9. Be available
Part of the personal touch needed to ensure customer satisfaction is making sure they can get in touch with you.
Make all your contact channels clearly visible on your website or app, giving the users more than one option if they need support. This helps build trust and makes the consumer more relaxed about the purchase.
Train your team to be able to answer any questions that may arise and solve problems quickly.
Availability and prompt service to the customer is crucial to get a good rating and have your business referred to more people.
Offer the best customer service and grow your e-commerce
Customer service may not be most companies’ favorite activity, but it should be taken seriously by any business that wants to be successful in the long term.
Whether you realize it or not, customer service plays a significant role in most purchases you make. Think about when you want to buy a specific item that multiple brands sell for roughly the same price.
What differentiates the one you select from the ones you pass up? While brand equity and familiarity often play a role, it often comes down to how quickly you get the product, the support the store provides and how comfortable you feel with the brand.
Each of these aspects falls under customer service and indicates the importance of providing the best possible service.
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