7 Best Practices for Great eCommerce Customer Service
August 30, 2022 •Andrew Reiter
While eCommerce has changed how customers shop for products and services, the importance of customer service is as significant a factor to success as it has always been. Excellent customer service is a driving force in not only gaining new customers, but retaining them, and customer retention is vital to business growth.
Customer service can effectively make or break a company. Unfortunately, it only takes one poor interaction to lose a customer or get bad publicity, so holding your customer service team to a high standard is important to ensuring pleasant experiences for your customers and maintaining a positive reputation for your brand.
Here are some tips for creating an effective customer service strategy for your eCommerce business.
1. Create a customer service process (and stick to it!)
There are two keys to ensuring your customer service team provides consistently exceptional service: training your team and standardizing their responses. Every single customer service representative must know how to handle a variety of situations and questions, and they cannot do so without proper training.
When it comes to creating standard responses, an effective strategy is to use templates. This doesn’t mean that all responses should look exactly the same though. It’s important to maintain a conversational, human tone and not to structure responses so much that they sound robotic.
Customers catch on quickly and will notice if a response is a template if there isn’t also some thought and personalization put into it. However, creating many templates for common issues, and then allowing customization to tailor them to each specific customer can help save time, improve efficiency, and provide consistency.
2. Provide omnichannel support
Customers expect to be able to interact with your brand on many platforms, so it’s important to provide support through all the channels where they can find your product or service. Make sure your customers can contact you through your primary social media channels and find you through shopping search engines. It’s important to offer support on your eCommerce website, by email, and phone as well, but make sure that all channels are coordinated for streamlined management.
Using multiple interfaces engages customers where they are, instead of adding steps to the buying process. Providing omnichannel support is a great strategy for simplifying (and therefore improving) your customers’ experiences.
3. Personalize your customer service
Strengthening the relationships you have with customers is vital to your business, and to do so requires building trust. Customers want to feel valued, and an important element of that is making each interaction personal. This can be as simple as using names or offering free shipping to loyal customers. Additionally, capturing your customers’ journeys and purchase history can elevate the support with even more personalization.
4. Give real-time support (and timely responses)
While live phone support is still expected by customers, live chat support has grown tremendously in popularity in recent years because of its convenience and ability to quickly resolve issues. Customers expect to be able to speak to a live agent online or over the phone the moment they need help.
This feature is becoming a major differentiating factor among the businesses that customers want to do business with. If a company can solve an issue or get an answer to a question within minutes, it will give customers a favorable impression of the brand, and can increase the likelihood that they’ll continue to engage, increasing the likelihood of continuing on their buying journey.
5. Track the customer journey
Your customers embark on a journey as they shop eCommerce, and it covers six distinct phases—awareness, acquisition, onboarding, engagement, retention, and advocacy. There are unique touch points to each stage of the customer journey which are opportunities to connect with them.
For example, in the acquisition phase, this could include customers opting in for a free trial or downloading your company’s app. Instances like these must be tracked and analyzed to see what is working and encouraging customers to continue on their journey to becoming loyal customers, and also to see what isn’t working or could be improved.
6. Gather and analyze customer feedback
Providing an outlet for customers to share their experiences demonstrates that your business listens to them and values their feedback. Gathering real-time customer feedback is also critical to gain insight that will ultimately help improve processes and better eCommerce customer service.
7. Establish benchmarks and KPIs
Several metrics can be used to track the performance of your customer service team and they should be analyzed to help measure the success of your eCommerce customer service.
Some examples are average response time, average resolution time, and quality of support. After creating benchmarks for each, you can easily identify what areas need improvement or who may need additional training.
Exceptional eCommerce Customer Service
Does your eCommerce business need help with customer service? If you want a team of experts who are experienced in delivering all of the above best practices, consider outsourcing your customer service. Reach out to RUI and we can help get you started.