Acing ecommerce customer service is no small feat. In fact, according to research by the Harvard Business Review, customer service was among the hardest-hit company functions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This takeaway resulted from an analysis of over 1 million customer service calls, which demonstrated a dramatic increase in customer anxiety and frustration, along with customer service reps struggling to respond effectively.
In today's 'Customer-first' era, delivering an excellent customer service experience is crucial for ecommerce businesses of all shapes, sizes, and forms. This is supported by research data that says customer service is the number one factor determining a client’s confidence in an organization. Not only that, but for about 95% of consumers, customer service is key to their brand loyalty, and a staggering 89% of consumers are more likely to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience.
Not focusing on ecommerce customer service can turn out to be a mistake of gigantic proportions. In this blog, we will decode everything to know about ecommerce customer service, including:
What is ecommerce customer service, and why is it important?
Understanding the various types of customer support channels
Tips and strategies on how to improve customer service in ecommerce
Understanding customer expectations in ecommerce
Gathering tips on building the best customer support team for an ecommerce store
What is Ecommerce Customer Service?
First things first, let's start by defining ecommerce customer service. Quite simply, ecommerce customer service refers to the process of supporting online shoppers via ecommerce platforms and channels throughout their life cycle. By 'support,' we mean:
Catering to a high volume of support and service requests instantly and to the customer's satisfaction.
Addressing key common queries relating to the product, returns, delivery, etc.
Monitoring multiple online channels and managing the expectations of digital customers with accelerated response times.
This leads to the next most important question:
Why is Customer Service Essential in the Ecommerce Business?
Ecommerce Customer Service Importance: In Numbers
It is estimated that ecommerce sales will surge past$7 trillion by 2025. With the scale of customers shopping online increasing, the lines between personalized and chaotic customer service can be blurred.
It can become difficult to respond to every customer promptly and efficiently by adding fuel to the fire. This can lead to rising customer frustrations due to slower response times. In other words, providing a seamless ecommerce customer support and streamlined sales should be every ecommerce business' raging priority:
Brand loyalty: Customer service is important for brand loyalty for a whopping 95% of consumers. The same study suggests that 60% of consumers deserted a brand and switched to a rival company because of poor customer service. This shows that brand loyalty can only function to an optimal level if it is supported by good customer service.
Human touch: According to another study, 75% of consumers prefer interacting with a real person even as the technology for automated solutions improves.
Instant resolution: As per Statista, one-third of all consumers consider the most important aspect of good customer service experiences to be the ability to get their problem solved in one single sitting (regardless of the amount of time spent).
Bad publicity: Salesforce predicts that six out of every ten consumers share bad experiences with others, which can cause an ecommerce brand a lot of undue reputational damage.
More revenue: As per HubSpot, around 68% of consumers are willing to fork out more for products and services from a brand that’s known to offer good customer service experiences.
Importance of Ecommerce Customer Service: 4 Compelling Reasons
Brand personality: Customer service is representative of a brand's values, mission, goals, and overall personality. It 'humanizes' the brand in the customer's eyes and eliminates any guesswork.
Growing loyal customer base: According to research, 72% of customers will share a positive experience with six or more people. In other words, building positive customer experiences can guarantee positive word-of-mouth publicity. It also encourages customers to stay loyal to the brand.
Insights-driven high, quality service: One of the biggest advantages of staying on top of the customer service game is that it allows reps to provide invaluable and actionable insights about customers--from their likes and goals to their pain points and motivations. The sales, marketing, and customer support teams can benefit from these insights.
A stellar customer service experience can boost the customer lifetime value (CLV), one of the most important key performance metrics for any ecommerce business.
Types of Customer Support Channels: A Quick Comparison
Here, let's look at the available customer support channels and make a side-by-side comparison of each channel:
Helps agents deliver critical data such as delivery info, date, order status, etc., in real-time.
Helps in providing instant answers to customer questions and ensures a
direct form of customer support.
Helps build a relationship with the customer by providing complex and meaningful information
that the customer can read on their own time.
SMS is useful for brands wanting to keep their customers in the know by proactively
providing relevant information in real-time.
A phone is useful for customers who voluntarily wish to speak directly to live agents
to express their concerns or provide feedback.
Email is useful for brands that prefer churning out quality content and maintaining a personalized,
long-term bond with the end-user.
Help desk/self-service portal
Helps provide instant answers and personalized service to
customers without letting them wait. The biggest advantage of live chat is speed.
Helps cater to the ever-growing social media customers and monitor the brand's
reputation across all channels and platforms.
Helps agents to see all channel tickets in one dashboard,
which eliminates back and forth of windows.
Live chat is useful for customers who don't want to spend too much time or effort
looking for an answer to their query.
Social media is useful for brands with an active social media user base. The
brand can encourage customers to provide real-time feedback and reviews via social media.
A helpdesk or a self-service portal is useful for customers who prefer
self-serve and like finding their solutions.
Worrying about managing All channel tickets? Here we have smart customer service helpdesk
solution that helps agents to see all channel tickets in one dashboard, which eliminates
back and forth of windows.
Proven Ways to Improve Customer Support for Ecommerce (With Examples)
Looking for time-tested strategies on how to provide exceptional customerservice for ecommerce?We will outline some of the best customer service tips for ecommerceto leverage to elevate the customer experience. Here are some real-life examples to consider:
At this point, let's understand what the common ecommerce customer complaintslook like and what these tech-savvy customers want from ecommerce brands today:
The exponential rise in ecommerce customer expectations for a seamless multi-channel customer journey: Customers today want a seamless online-offline experience. For instance, say a disgruntled customer is on the way to the store and is talking to a customer representative on a call about returning a product. They then walk into the store. Instead of explaining the whole story again, customers expect the store manager to know about their issue immediately. In other words, brands need to go omnichannel as Best Buy did. The brand focuses on building a strong omnichannel presence with a large online and offline store footprint. Customers expect brands to have contextual and latest information across customer service channels and platforms in real-time.
Mobile checkout: One of the biggestcustomer service issues in e-commerceis not offering a mobile checkout option. With 79%of smartphone users purchasing online using their mobile devices, this number will only rise. Ecommerce brands must provide a single checkout option and make it easier for customers to shop online at all costs.
Personalization is the need of the hour: Around 70% of consumers will willingly share personal data with brands to gain a more personalized experience, and 72% will onlyengage with personalized messaging. That's the power of personalization in a nutshell.
Tips on Building Best Customer Support Team and Addressing Customer Complaints about an Ecommerce Store
When it comes to dealing with ecommerce customer service challenges,building a robust customer experience (CX) team is a great starting point. Take into account the following tips and pave the way for a killer customer experience:
Extensive product knowledge: First and foremost, the ecommerce customer service team should know the products like the back of their hands. The more in-depth their product knowledge, the better and the speedier their query resolution time. An honest response will go a long way if the rep does not know the answer. The agent can redirect the customer to a senior or someone else with the required answers.
Training and empowering: Ecommerce brands need to drive quality training sessions for the team with respect to new software being used, changes in the product line, evolving brand goals, and so on. Without routine and consistent training, the CX team can become outdated or incompetent.
Problem-solving and critical thinking capabilities: At the core, the CX reps are problem-solvers and, by extension, should be critical thinkers. So, hire people who like to problem-solve actively and will not crumble under pressure. While focusing on the employee's ability to demonstrate patience and empathy is key, do not negate the value of having logical reasoning capabilities.
Customer service tools: Finally, arm the team and amplify the team's strength with a customized CX tool that can simultaneously cater to the business needs and customer goals. The right software will streamline the workflow, accelerate the support process, and help the team focus on more high-value work requiring a human touch.
In the end, ecommerce customer service support should be able to 'wow' customers. It's all about going the extra mile to cater to its customer's needs. It's about demonstrating proactive (and not simply reactive) customer support.
It's about showcasing the brand's unique voice and capabilities in a sea of sameness while ensuring that customers are the brand's priority in every initiative, effort, or program that the brand launches. Keep the customers at the front and center of every CX operation, and set up a winning CX program.
Grow your business with exceptional customer service