Ecommerce Customer Service Guide

Ecommerce Customer Service: Best Practices, Software

Team Richpanel
Published on  
July 2, 2022

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Heading and Supporting
Table of Content
  1. What does great Customer Service look Like?
  • What does great Customer Service look Like?
  • What does great Customer Service look Like?
  1. What does great Customer Service look Like?
  2. What does great Customer Service look Like?
  3. What does great Customer Service look Like?
  4. What does great Customer Service look Like?
  5. What does great Customer Service look Like?

Ecommerce Customer Service: An Introduction

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.

Guide on Ecommerce Customer Service

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
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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

  • Cost-effective: Retaining customers is cheaper than acquiring new ones, as data suggests that an increase in customer retention of 5% can boost profits by 25%
  • 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.

Recommended Reading: Guide to Creating Shopify Customer Accounts

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:

SMS Phone Email
Objective: Helps agents deliver critical data such as delivery info, date, order status, etc., in real-time. Objective:  Helps in providing instant answers to customer questions and ensures a direct form of customer support. Objective: Helps build a relationship with the customer by providing complex and meaningful information that the customer can read on their own time.
Useful for: SMS is useful for brands wanting to keep their customers in the know by proactively providing relevant information in real-time. Useful for: A phone is useful for customers who voluntarily wish to speak directly to live agents to express their concerns or provide feedback.

Useful for: Email is useful for brands that prefer churning out quality content and maintaining a personalized, long-term bond with the end-user.


Live Chat Social Media Help desk/self-service portal
Objective:  Helps provide instant answers and personalized service to customers without letting them wait. The biggest advantage of live chat is speed. Objective: Helps cater to the ever-growing social media customers and monitor the brand's reputation across all channels and platforms. Objective: Helps agents to see all channel tickets in one dashboard, which eliminates back and forth of windows.
Useful for: Live chat is useful for customers who don't want to spend too much time or effort looking for an answer to their query. Useful for: 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.  Useful for: 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.

Multi-Channel Customer Service
Multi Chanel Customer Support by Richpanel

Proven Ways to Improve Customer Support for Ecommerce (With Examples)

Looking for time-tested strategies on how to provide exceptional customer service for ecommerce? We will outline some of the best customer service tips for ecommerce to leverage to elevate the customer experience. Here are some real-life examples to consider:

Review: 5.0 ⭐ (97 Reviews on Shopify Store)


Use Case #1: How to Deal With a Surge in the Number of Tickets

To drive self-service in customer support and reduce the ticket flow, consider the use case of Snow, a leading ecommerce brand on Shopify.

Problem areas:

  • The customer service experience was poor and wasn’t on par with the product quality.
  • The seasonal surge around the holidays left the team with more tickets than they could handle.

The solution: Implement a self-service solution that minimizes the ticket volume during peak times and a sustainable customer support solution that scales with their order volumes.

Customer Self-Service Screen
Customer Self Service Portal Powered by Richpanel

The results:

  • Witnessed 87% gain on CSAT, with customers showing great appreciation for the offered self-service experience.
  • Support agents had additional time to engage on the most-critical tickets.
  • Richpanel's self-service solution led to a 60% reduction in ticket volume within the first 30 days of rolling out the automated support system.

Use Case #2: How to Respond to Tickets and Boost the Response Time

BumpBoxx provides revolutionary audio equipment. However, the team was facing numerous challenges:

  • One, it took too long for the agents to collect the required data from customers before the reps could provide support.
  • Two, the brand was facing a rising number of avoidable returns.
  • Third, the team needed to reduce the number of support messages coming in.

The solution: The team needed a way to answer key product questions and reduce the response time promptly. Enter Richpanel.

The results:

  • The self-service tool led to a 42% reduction in tickets.
  • The first response time was reduced to less than 10 minutes as agents had free time to respond pronto.
  • Resolving customer complaints quickly ultimately helped the brand to experience increased customer loyalty.

Use Case #3: How to Improve Customer Lifetime Value 

Puppy Dog and Ice Cream is a children's book publishing company that was struggling to scale its business. Here are the problems they faced:

  • Their customer acquisition cost was increasing gradually.
  • With the surge in delivery charges, they were unable to cut down the cost of goods sold
  • Despite employing many customer service representatives, they did not see many repeat customers and struggled to improve the customer journey.

Solution: With Richpanel's self-service feature, they were able to improve the customer experience.

Results:

  • They saw a 4X increase in repeat customers and the customer lifetime value went from $55 to $70 in just one year
  • They were able to improve customer experience and received 4.9 out of 5 stars in their CSAT surveys.
  • They were able to reduce the size of their customer service team by half, saving a lot in the process.
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Top-5 Tips to Boost Ecommerce Customer Service

  • Focus on building a strong omnichannel customer engagement strategy.
  • Offer live chat services on the website to quickly resolve user queries without letting customers wait.
  • Provide proactive customer service by way of self-service portals to improve the quality of CX.
  • Personalize email campaigns with relevant and useful recommendations and suggestions.
  • Connect and engage with smartphone customers.

Understanding Customer Expectations in Ecommerce

At this point, let's understand what the common ecommerce customer complaints look 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 biggest customer service issues in e-commerce is 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 only engage with personalized messaging. That's the power of personalization in a nutshell.
Recommended Reading: How to Create an Ecommerce Customer Service Helpdesk

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.

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