Over the past decade, we’ve observed a significant shift in consumer behavior. With increasing competition/options, cost and quality are no longer the only deciding factors. Consumers are looking to invest in brands that provide them with a sense of community or establish a connection with them. This is why brands like Nike or Supreme enjoy continued success, despite being priced higher. These brands have found themselves in a crowded market simply by highlighting their mission statement, which resonates with their target audience. Nike has become synonymous with athletic aspirations, and Supreme has established itself as the choice of street savvy.
But upcoming brands must spend less than millions of dollars to advertise their story. In instances like these, customer service is the most feasible and effective way to establish a sense of connection with your customers.
Customer service is viewed as a way to douse fires rather than an opportunity to increase recurring revenue. When used as a medium to build customer connections, customer service can significantly impact bottom-line revenue. Rather than treating every purchase as an isolated transaction, good customer service paves the path to forming a long-term relationship with customers, guaranteeing steady growth for companies. Customer service is the primary medium to establish strong customer relationships. Most business owners severely undermine the ability of customer service to increase satisfaction and, in turn, retention rates.
Hence, most growing businesses turn to automation to meet increasing demands. On the surface, this helps alleviate customers accustomed to quick responses and 24*7 service.
And who can blame them? Popular marketplaces like Amazon or service platforms like Uber eats have changed the face of customer service for the good. Businesses can't compete with their offerings on a limited budget, and automation seems the only logical solution to this dilemma.
But this short-sighted approach impacts customer satisfaction. When a chatbot fails to understand complex requests or account for the company’s customer service conventions, it leads to frustration. And hey! we don’t mean to imply that automation is the root of all evil. But relying on the limited capabilities of AI to handle one of the most pivotal functions in e-commerce retail does have its downsides.
So what is the solution?
Every e-commerce business should aim to strike the right balance between automation and human empathy. Automation should always be the entry point function, connecting customers to a representative in the need arises. The aim of automation should not be to deflect customers in order to decrease handling time or achieve any other time based metric that CS leaders often get tangled up in. The aim of automation should be to reduce agent interactions without compromising customer satisfaction.
Customer self-service is often overlooked in this conversation. It is undoubtedly more cost-effective than any other medium of customer service. It is quicker, more effective, and the preferred choice of 67% of online shoppers today. And hey! A self-service portal can work round the clock, too, just like a chatbot. Discover more on Customer Self-service
There are several benefits of using a self-service portal on your e-commerce store.
Amazon demonstrates the usability/success of a self-service portal like no other. Every customer has access to their order history and the power to edit their shipping address or cancel and modify their orders with just a few clicks. It increases the purchase process transparency and establishes trust with your customers.
A good customer self-service portal is of the utmost importance for individual brands to meet the expectations set by significant marketplaces like Amazon. Learn more on how to create Shopify Customer Accounts
As a business scales, the number of customer support queries increases exponentially. Most businesses need help to keep up with the increasing demand and the seasonality of e-commerce. They rely on third-party customer support agencies who cannot act as torchbearers of the company values. There are more feasible options than increasing the team size. Self-service provides a way out by reducing agent involvement. It empowers customers to handle simple queries themselves, significantly reducing agent load.
Another benefit of using self-service portals is that they allow you to provide 24*7 customer service even with small team sizes. Even if queries are not resolved instantaneously, it assures customers that their concerns are noted and will be resolved as soon as possible. Of course, the key is to have a centralized system that registers the first interaction with a self-service portal and relays it to the customer support team; that way, your customer can avoid repeating themselves multiple times, avoiding further frustration.
As mentioned above, customer self-service portals not only reduce response and resolution time but also add a layer of transparency and empower customers to take care of their concerns. As a result, it improves customer satisfaction. Learn more on Ways to Improve Ecommerce Customer Experience
As self-service portals allow customers to handle queries like “where is my order?”, order cancellations, initiating refunds,s or even changing delivery address, it frees up the agent’s time. It allows them to concentrate on revenue-generating activities. It helps increase work satisfaction as it will enable them to shift from mundane interactions and dedicate their time to more exciting and value-providing conversations.
Self-service portals, much like customer service as a whole, can contribute to revenue-generating activities. Apart from solving simple queries, a self-service portal can act as an easily accessible knowledge base and enhance the pre-purchase interactions for your customers. It can help communicate your value proposition and eliminate any doubt or uncertainty, leading to improved sales and conversions.
Richpanel is a customer service portal that relies primarily on a unified customer account to create a robust self-service portal that empowers the customers to handle simple queries without compromising on the quality of service. We achieve this by:
Related Read: Top 11 Help Desk Softwares for 2023 - Ultimate Guide
Checkout How Leading E-Commerce Brands are Redefining Customer Service with Richpanel
Zendesk is a popular customer support portal that provides the following self-service features-
However, a Zendesk help desk subscription only gives you access to some of these features. You may have to pay additional fees for Zendesk Guide to access these features, which may not be feasible. Discover more on Zendesk Alternatives
Gladly is an automation-centric customer-support center. Here are Gladly’s customer support features:
Gorgias is another great customer service portal with the following features:
Gorgias’s self-service feature is added as an afterthought and provides very primitive functionality as compared to most of its competitors.
Kustomer is a cost-effective customer service portal that relies heavily on AI automation and chatbots for its customer self-service portal:
Kustomer, much like Gladly, relies heavily on AI-based automation, which deflects customer queries, resulting in lower customer satisfaction.
Richpanel’s Self-Service Portal is designed with e-commerce at the forefront, and it emphasizes ease of use, which is why it only takes a few clicks to set up all self-service flows within your Richpanel account. Follow these four simple steps to set up your self-service flows:
1. Navigate to Channels, then to Self-Service Scenarios.
2. Pick any question in the order scenario and press the display option. As seen in the picture below.
3. Select Add Buttons from the drop-down menu below.
4. You can pick the interlinks from this menu based on the buttons you want to add, such as returns, exchanges, refunds, or order information.
Here’s the best use-cases for each of the option in your self-service setup:
Richpanel allows you to set up personalized canned responses by integrating customer data into the messages and providing answers to queries about order tracking, warranty claims, or return requests.
The automated workflow features allow you to assign specific queries as warranty claims to the responsible agent or team, reducing friction and the resolution time.
Even when agents are not available, Richpanel’s self-service portal allows businesses to reply to customers and make sure they feel valued. It provides businesses with the ability to provide 24*7 customer service.
Apart from resolving customer queries, Richpanel’s self-service portal also doubles as a knowledge base that eliminates any doubts before the sale and allows businesses to communicate their value proposition more easily.
When customers cannot find answers to their questions, they turn to competitor websites or compare features like pricing, which may not play to your competitive advantage. Creating an elaborate knowledge base and providing valuable details makes a stronger case for your products, aiding a fiction-less purchase experience.
Customer self-service portals can be used in various ways:
In instances of warranty claims or reports of damaged items, your agents need to have information about the customer, the order number, and other details before they process the request. Many brands also ask customers for product pictures before they process claims. The self-service portal can help collect information via forms and initiate the process at any given time without human intervention. You can use self-service portals to demonstrate proactiveness and make the agent's job much more manageable.
On the other hand, self-service flows can be designed to collect information about the customers’ preferences, giving your brand a chance to know them better, and provide the right solutions for their issues. Lotus Wei uses Richpanel to understand the customer’s psyche by giving them personalized suggestions based on their answers on a multiple-choice questionnaire.
Instead of diverting customers to email communication, self-service portal allows you to address queries about order tracking, collect feedback and perform other equally important bu monotonous tasks through the canned responses in the self-service widget. You can add pictures, links and even video to your personalized responses in these instances, reducing friction and resolution time.
Your self-service widget can also provide additional information, such as video tutorials and detailed guides or comparisons with competitors, to make purchasing decisions easier. It is an accessible way to give more details when the customer visits the product page, eliminating any doubt about the product or service.
Brute Force relies on Richpanel’s self-service portal to address simple customer queries like “Where is my Order?”, editing order/shipping details, and warranty claims.
Using this platform, Brute force reduced ticket volume by 76%, leading to a Median Resolution Time of less than a minute through Richpanel and improving their CSAT to 96%.
Alaskan King Crab co. struggled to keep up with the increasing volume of customer support queries. With Richpanel, they configured self-service so consumers could track and even edit orders without any human intervention.
This helped the company scale its customer support without expanding its team. The self-resolution also helped them address their most significant pain point, return abuse, by limiting the returns a customer could make in a 6-month timespan.
Apart from ticket resolution, your self-service portal should empower you to utilize the full potential of customer service, impacting sales and revenue generation and adding a layer of transparency to your functions.
Richpanel acts as a 360-degree customer service portal that enhances all customer service functions and ensures a good customer experience through the integration of customer information, knowledge base; self-service features through an e-commerce-centric lens to create a streamlined customer support engine.
Considering a self-service portal for your e-commerce business? Book a demo with us today!