While the advent of technology and the emergence of eCommerce has transformed the way we live our lives and shop, it has also become the cause of a great headache for eCommerce business owners and sellers. Back in the day, proving good customer service was relatively simple. There was a human element to customer service – You could interact with your customer directly, analyse the needs of the customer and give the customer what he or she wants to be given.
What do you do if you are dealing with one thousand website visitors on a daily basis, but are only a small team of people running the show in the background? It is simply not possible to cater to the demands and needs of so many customers all at once. This is where the perks of technology and eCommerce really come to the fore – process automation and widespread appeal give you an opportunity to get more by doing less, scale as they technically call it.
Having said that, the way you interact with your customers online often becomes the make or break factor between remaining a small time online seller and a big time brand selling to customers all across the world. Data from Microsoft shows that 95% percent of customers credit good customer service to brand loyalty. As a result, it is vital that you as a business owner understand its importance, identify various aspects of customer service, and work towards optimizing each one to maximize your chances of making a lasting impression on your customers.
Dissecting Customer Service
Simply put, customer service can be defined as the means with which you can add value to a customer’s experience of either buying your product or accruing your services. You can do so through the likes of solving a customer’s problem, giving a helpful answer to a query, keeping the customer informed or buy giving them what you promise them.
If you delve a little deeper into the tethers of customer service, there is a plethora of avenues that you can tap into. Customer service, when assessed closely, is the action of tapping into a customer’s sensitivities, their emotions and their pain points. It is the act of being clear yet concise, providing utmost convenience to them and saving their time, and giving them an experience and value that none of your competitors can give to them.
Let’s dial it back down. We have segregated customer service for eCommerce businesses into three sections – before making the purchase, during the purchase process, and after making the purchase. eCommerce customers have their expectations going through the roof in these highly competitive times for businesses. Thus, you ought to be efficient, smart and spot on to lure customers in and keep competition at bay.
We have compiled a few crucial pointers that you can use as a guiding light to provide an enhanced, valuable and tailor made customer service to your customers.
Get the house in order!
Let us start with the simple bit. Customer services is a game of timing. Customers want their problems to be resolved quickly, and resolved well. To do this, it is best to get as organized in-house as possible.
Depending on the business type, there are numerous ways you can set things in order, save time and be more efficient at providing high-quality service to customers. You can begin by training your staff and putting a potent system in place to train them on. You can develop message templates to engage with customers electronically and automate as many processes as possible.
The more customers you make happy in a day, the greater your chances of broadening your consumer base.
A solid website can do wonders
According to Think With Google, over 63% of shopping occasions happen online. This essentially means that whether consumers buy your product online or in brick and mortar stores, their journey almost always begins online.
As a result, having a solid website that is not only functional, but also communicates your brand’s beliefs, its value and its use easily and effectively to customers. This entails getting both the front end and back end in order. Having a strong online presence increases your chances of getting discovered, and an even higher chance of convincing customers of buying from your eCommerce store.
A good website serves as step-one on a customer’s journey to being brand loyal. Based on this, you might want to give your website a thorough review – analyze your website from a customer’s lens and pick out areas of improvement in your UI/UX.
Build a strong social media presence
Where would eCommerce businesses be without social media?
With more than half the population hooked on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok etc., it is almost important for eCommerce businesses to be active on social media as it is for us to breathe. 71% of small-to-mid-sized businesses use social media to market themselves, and of those who do so, 52% post at least daily. Brands garner over 10 times more engagement on Facebook than on any other social media platform.
Besides its commercial benefits, social media is vital for customer service also. Primarily, it provides a platform for customers to get in touch with your businesses. They can easily drop a DM on your Instagram and ask the status of their order, and when it would be delivered to them. If you have an active social media management team in place, they would reply to this query within minutes. Problem solved.
In addition, customers want to remain as informed about a brand they are loyal to as possible. Social media serves as the most convenient platform to keep customers updated about latest product offerings, a business’ status, changes in policy etc. An informed customer is a never a problematic one, and always shops with confidence.
Delivering on time and delivering well
You might be doing well on the sales front, getting orders in thick and fast. However, if you cannot deliver them on time and in line with customer’s expectations, what is it really worth?
Undermined by many business owners, order fulfillment is perhaps the most important leg of an online purchase. Think of it from a customer’s perspective – you have ordered a product online, and are eagerly awaiting its arrival. It could be as simple as a bar of soap or shampoo, or as complex as a life-saving drug. Either way, you expect the right product to arrive and in as less time and cost as possible. 69% of consumers are less likely to shop with your business if you fail to meet your delivery window. Also, 23% of consumers return products because they received the wrong item.
Order fulfillment is not something you should be taking lightly. Customers base their judgements of a brand or service based on how quickly and effectively their order is fulfilled. Therefore, it is probably wise for you to choose third party fulfillment providers like OGOship to do the job for you. Our systems are technological and data oriented, keeping both you and your customers informed at every step of the way. Whether it is a local customer or one thousands of miles away in another part of the world, expect top class service and efficient logistic solutions with every parcel delivered.
Engage with customers post-purchase
Ambitious eCommerce businesses should never treat the fulfillment of an order as a completion of transaction. In fact, you ought to treat is as a beginning of a long and fruitful relationship with your customer.
Interacting or engaging with a customer after they have purchased your product sends a positive and lasting impression about your brand like no other. It shows that you care about customers, and value their feedback of the purchase. A show of concern is always received positively by customers, and allows you to resolve any issues promptly, if any.
Seek customers to give reviews about your products, ask them if there was any part of their experience that they wished was any different, and how you can make their shopping experience even better. Studies show that over 68% of online sales come from existing customers, making post-purchase engagement all the more important for sustained growth and scale.
Customer service is undoubtedly the backbone of your business. Reinventing the shopping experience of your customers and incorporating some of these highly efficient customer service best practices will pay dividends across multiple avenues, both short and long term. It will help you retain customers, acquire new ones, and steadily build your business into a solid and stable force to be reckoned with.