There are a lot of benefits to running an online store, but the customer service aspect of e-commerce and controlling the customer experience from afar can be challenging.
When you operate a brick-and-mortar store, it’s easier to have clear and direct communication with customers and influence their experience from start to finish. However, when someone is browsing your site while sitting at home, and never coming face-to-face with you, it’s easy for the customer service side of things to slip and falter, and for miscommunication to arise.
Thus, customer service has become a very important area of focus for e-commerce entrepreneurs. It’s a massive determinant of whether your one-time buyers will turn into repeat customers, and how the brand loyalty, among others, can foster for your business.
Continue reading below as we dive deeper into why your online store needs a solid customer service strategy, and give you some tips to improve your existing systems to foster more e-commerce growth.
Customer service in the online world is one of the largest factors that contribute to the customer’s experience with your brand. In any setting, we’ve all gone through a terrible customer service experience that changed how we view a certain brand or store. But with an e-commerce store, a negative or weak customer service interaction with customers could be quite costly.
With the amount of competition out there today, customers have plenty of options should they feel the relationship with your brand become sour. Thus, your customer service processes must be top-notch in order to keep your store ahead of competitors, foster e-commerce growth, and boost sales from loyal long-term customers.
So given what we know about customer acquisition costs, and how it’s much more expensive to get a sale from a new customer rather than nurture the relationship with your existing buyers, customer service becomes a very valuable and important part of your business.
Even if you feel like your store has solid customer service practices in place, you can’t get stagnant. Over 65% of people expect more out of customer service teams than they did five years ago. Therefore, you need to continually improve your customer service systems in order to keep customers feeling valued and listened to, and overall create a better customer experience when buying from your store.
Clearly, any e-commerce store can benefit from investing in its customer service practices. To keep customers satisfied and coming back for more, you need to provide them with the help and assistance they need, when they need it.
In today’s modernized economy, customers’ preferences and standards are constantly changing. So, you must stay up-to-date with the latest in customer service to see the best results. Read below to learn eight ways that you can improve your customer service processes to see e-commerce growth.
One of the most utilized customer service tools today is live chat. This can be very worthwhile for your business, given that having a live chat feature on your site can improve conversions by 3-5 times.
Powered by AI and machine learning programs, adding a live chat feature oftentimes won’t add to the workload of your team, though still provide customers with immediate responses and feedback to their comments or questions. So rather than sitting around waiting for an email or message response for up to 24 hours, customers can get real-time support and feedback, improving their satisfaction rates and brand loyalty.
Nowadays, many online sellers are opting for live chatbots over phone support given the greater efficiencies it can provide for the team. Plus, if you choose to have a live customer service rep responding to customers rather than a bot, they can keep multiple chats going at one time rather than sitting on the phone with just one customer at a time.
Thus, in a market that is fueled by convenience and instant rewards–e-commerce–make sure your customer service processes are built to match customers’ expectations, which a live chat feature can help you with.
Seemingly everything today is customized and personalized to your unique needs, and customer service is no different. Personalization is one of the most used techniques in the online space today, given that it’s a powerful tool to help customers feel valued and unique.
Above all, customers want their online shopping experience to be seamless and easy, which personalization can help online stores to accomplish.
Customers appreciate when they don’t have to repeat themselves to multiple customer service representatives. Even better, by utilizing a customer service tool that tracks customer information like past purchases, your customer service team can deliver personalized care that is customized to the unique situation of the buyer.
Personalization like this can help the issue be resolved quicker, take less time from your team, and overall lead to a more satisfying customer experience.
Transparency is another way to help improve the customer experience. While this may seem like a given, many e-commerce stores look over this aspect to focus on other features.
There are certain things that customers want to be able to access regarding their accounts, like their order history, the status of their orders, and their preferred method of payment. Allowing your customers to view their order history and billing activity for several months or years can help retain customers by showing that you’re transparent and open.
While this shouldn’t add too much work for your store, it’s a simple improvement that could make a large difference with your customers.
Having an omnichannel strategy for your customer service team is an excellent way to improve the customer experience. Customers want to be able to access your team in a number of ways that provides the most convenience to them. These channels include phone, web, social media, and chat support options.
One of the challenges with operating an omnichannel customer support system like this is to ensure that the messaging across each channel is consistent, and doesn’t send customers mixed or inconsistent messages. However, the messaging still should be customized for the given channel. For instance, the same script your phone support team follows will not be the same way your representatives respond to customers in Instagram DMs.
Additionally, when customers are passed on from one channel to another, like from Twitter replies to the website, the customer shouldn’t have to repeat their question or comment. This goes along with the personalization we discussed earlier, meaning that your systems should track interactions with customers to ensure that they’re receiving the most timely and helpful support possible.
The last thing you want is for your comprehensive customer support strategy to frustrate customers even further. So, prioritize being easy to contact over a number of channels, and invest in a system that will help manage customer interactions across each medium of communication.
You should be setting and tracking KPIs, key performance indicators, to monitor customer satisfaction and see the ways that your internal team can improve throughout the entire business. Without setting goals and tracking performance, your team could be inconsistent and miss the mark without even knowing it.
Thus, prioritize KPI tracking in a way that doesn’t impede the efficiency of your team, though still monitors valuable customer support and satisfaction data. Through these insights, you can see where there are any pain points throughout the customer journey, and determine where you should rethink any bottlenecks or consistent issues that customers voice.
For instance, pay attention to consistency in customer complaints. If you receive multiple calls a day about the wrong items being delivered to a customer, it’s probably something worth looking into on the fulfillment side. In doing so, you can work on preventing future issues like these, improve customer satisfaction, and receive fewer complaints.
So when you’re able to solve these common issues on the back end, you can allow your customer service team to focus on more complex issues rather than solving the same problems over and over again that could be fixed through system improvements elsewhere in the business.
Either through a loyalty program or following a particularly complex customer interaction, you can keep your existing customers engaged by providing them with discounts or rewards.
As we’ve discussed so far, it’s more expensive to attract new customers than it is to nurture and retain your existing customers. Thus, it’s very worthwhile to invest in how you reward your repeat buyers, especially after they’ve voiced a concern or made a complaint.
Following a negative experience, you may want to provide the customer with a discount or coupon once the issue is resolved. This can show that you care about them and don’t want to lose them as a customer. It’s important to not rely on this tactic too much, as you don’t want the customers to feel like you’re buying their loyalty; however, it is a useful tool to right a wrong that a customer has experienced from your store.
For best practice, reach out a few days later to provide them with a discount or promotional code. This will help keep your brand top of mind, and keep them as a loyal customer.
Every online store should have policies and procedures laid out for their customer service team to follow. This helps promote consistency across customer interactions and ensures that the team is providing practical solutions.
However, this doesn’t mean that your team should be restricted within these bounds at all times. There may be scenarios where your team members could use some flexibility to help out customers in a way that wouldn’t be permitted by the systems in place.
Again, it’s expensive to bring in new customers to boost sales, so you want to do the most with the current customers you have. So, if your team can resolve a problem the buyer is having and keep them as a customer, it’s likely a worthwhile investment. Thus, give your team the authority to make flexible decisions in order to keep customers happy.
Across any industry, speed and convenience are trends that won’t be going away anytime soon. Especially in the e-commerce industry, 89% of customers have voiced that speed of customer service responses and resolutions are some of the most important parts of customer service to them.
Thus, you should be implementing a customer service system that allows the team to provide quick responses, no matter the channel. So if your team can only handle chat support and phone support, you may want to skip out on the social media response teams for now until you expand your team.
In most cases, it’s more important that customers receive quick responses and resolutions over a given channel rather than being available over a dozen different mediums, but not receiving a response for up to 24 hours.
It’s clear that customer service largely contributes to your customer retention and the overall customer experience. The above tips are not the only ways you can improve your customer service, though they are a great place to start to ensure that you’re doing all you can to serve your customers effectively and grow your business.
Through each of these strategies, the throughline is that it’s more efficient and profitable to keep the customers you have, rather than lose them and focus on acquiring new customers. Thus, you should make it a priority to always improve your customer service to keep your customers happy and your business more profitable.
Aside from investing in your customer service processes, taking advantage of growth opportunities of any kind is a major priority for most e-commerce businesses today. However, both of these endeavors require access to capital that many early-stage online stores won’t have. Thus, securing external forms of funding can be very valuable to e-commerce entrepreneurs.
Though many financing options for businesses are rigid and would disqualify online sellers, asset-based financing is a way that merchants can get the funding they need, when they need it. Particularly, when working with Myos, online sellers benefit from:
So, online sellers don’t need years of business performance to qualify for funding with Myos, and don’t need to put their own personal assets at risk. Instead, we will analyze the products you sell and what your future prospects are based on the current market. This makes it a much more accessible financing option than other choices like bank loans or equity financing.
Boost sales and grow your business today with Myos asset-based financing.