In the past decade, the eCommerce industry has been rising — about 15% year over year. This growth was exponentially accelerated when the pandemic hit — in the UK, non-store purchases accounted for 77.7% of 2020’s sales.
While this might be a good thing for online retailers, it demands more attention from customer service functions. Customers nowadays have complex needs, and they demand timely responses to their queries. They no longer base their loyalty solely on products or services they buy, but also on the level of experience they receive.
With that in mind, eCommerce businesses need to step up to deliver excellent customer service. Bear in mind that up to 40% of customers are likely to spend more when you offer a highly personalized experience. Plus, the competition out there is pretty fierce — 80% of customers are likely to buy from a competitor if you don’t offer personalized experiences.
Here, we will detail tips you should consider when approaching your eCommerce customer service strategy. You’ll learn what you need to deliver quality experiences, while, crucially, minimising your costs.
Tip #1: Personalise your support
Customers will always want human support to some degree. As such, it’s vital to personalise the experiences your customers get. This involves catering to your customers’ exact needs and wants whilst also tailoring your communications to answer specific questions and provide expert solutions.
Bear in mind that 33% of customers abandon business relationships because personalization was lacking. Delivering customised services is more than addressing customers by their names and tracking their packages. A personalised experience impacts every touchpoint of the customer journey. Basically, the whole setup of your customer service function needs to be designed with your customers in mind to achieve this.
You need to bring in trained and high-quality agents that know your business and industry to provide expert solutions. The agents need to have effective communication skills, and they should be empathic. They should also have a great memory and should be calm when under pressure.
Pro tip: Remember, not all your customers will need personalized support — sometimes their queries will be much more basic and require speed. After all, 90% of consumers will always check a website to find solutions by themselves before contacting a company. So in these instances, having ‘self-service’ support is vital. This could be —
- FAQ pages
- Online forums
- Product reviews
- Password change functionality
- Size charts
Setting up self-serve features such as these will leave your phone lines unclogged for the customers that need personalized care. Access to around-the-clock, self-service care can boost overall customer satisfaction, shorten transaction time, and save you money. Plus, these features are super easy to set up in-house! It’s a win-win for everyone!
Tip #2: Optimise response time
Customers tend to be quite impatient — they always want help as fast as possible. Over 80% of customers expect a response to their queries within 24 hours. On social media, most customers expect a response within an hour. eCommerce is all about speed and convenience — with competition increasing, you can’t afford to be slow, or your customers will go elsewhere.
To optimize response time, you also need to provide an omnichannel approach. Today’s tech-savvy customer is all over the place, leveraging social media, live chats, calls, and email to interact with businesses. Importantly, they expect the interactions to be seamless, regardless of the devices or channels they use — be sure to create a mix of channels your customers use the most.
Another way to reduce response time is to improve your agent base. Yes, this can be costly, but worth it. Working with on-shore customer service providers lets you access high-quality agents on-demand. In addition, you can scale up or down as needed to adapt to seasonal changes and control your costs.
Tip #3: Realise review potential
Reviews are powerful — when fully leveraged, they can improve your reputation and sales. Online reviews incite trust! Positive reviews allow businesses to win the trust of customers, and they also boost the conversion rate.
According to a report by BrightLocal, up to 82% of consumers read online reviews. Most of them (48%) pay attention to reviews written within the past two weeks. This means that customers rely on one another to make informed purchasing decisions — they’re the best social proof tool in your arsenal! As such, you should give your customers the freedom to review your products/services. Whether the review is positive or negative, it offers the opportunity to get valuable, productive feedback from customers. Plus, reviews also inform the Customer Success team of the customer’s journey.
You can leverage the feedback to improve your offerings and customer experiences, all squarely as part of your customer service strategy. Keep in mind that 77% of customers have a more favorable view of brands that ask for and accept customer feedback. So be sure to invest in your review process, not just the platform but the right agents to monitor and manage it, too.
Tip #4: Be self-reflective, always!
Regardless of your investment in customer service, there’s no ‘perfection end-point. Like any other business process, customer service is a continuous function that depends on internal and external factors. Therefore, you have to continuously analyze your performance and make adjustments based on customer preferences and market dynamics.
Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), such as volume by channel, busiest hours, trending topics, consolidated reviews, and brand reviews on socials, can be pretty insightful. You should also look at the customer satisfaction rate, revenue growth, response times, conversion rate, complaints, call success rate, etc. Strive to review your performance quarterly to identify improvement opportunities.
Tip #5: Outsource! Outsource! Outsource!
The seasonality of customer service demands means you’re likely to be overwhelmed at some point. For example, holiday seasons, such as Christmas, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and New Year, tend to be quite busy for eCommerce businesses. Or, if you’re a startup, you might need help with the different facets of customer support you don’t understand.
Who’s in a better position to help with that than an onshore outsourced customer service provider? Outsourcing to an onshore service lets you tap into local talent and expertise to supplement your customer service team.
Revitalize your customer service strategy
As more shoppers move online, the importance of eCommerce customer service can’t be overemphasized. The modern customer is quite complicated, and they’ll base their loyalty on the experiences you offer. This is something that eCommerce customer service managers must understand.
As an eCommerce business, you need to go above and beyond to offer satisfactory experiences. Whether handling orders, shipments, returns, or complaints, your customer service should be consistent.
About the Author: Aamir Baloch is one of the Co-Founders at Odondo, where he obsesses over the details to deliver a strong and compelling proposition for each of his clients. Before Odondo, he was CTO at one of the UK’s largest price comparison websites, with contact centers in the UK and India. In his spare time, he loves reading, politics, tennis, and playing the piano (badly).