Ecommerce is booming for b2b as well as b2c, with more interactions than ever before taking place digitally instead of face-to-face. In the rush to offer a first-class integrated eCommerce platform, many businesses don’t yet have a strategy in place to offer a first-class eCommerce customer service. If your business doesn’t provide excellent customer service and a seamless user experience, online shoppers will simply look elsewhere.
In order to understand how your business can offer excellent eCommerce customer service, you need to understand what it is. How does it differ from traditional bricks-and-mortar customer service?
Technology is key.
Technological innovations, the rapid rise of smartphones and mobile internet connectivity has led to a revolution in how we shop. Ecommerce customer service encompasses all assistance brands can provide consumers throughout their customer journey.
For many, this journey may now take place entirely online. This means customer support needs to cover everything from social media to post-sale support, FAQs to helpdesks. Without face-to-face customer interactions, the lifeblood of brick-and-mortar retailers, brands need other ways to interact with customers.
Here are 5 ways your business can provide the best eCommerce customer service experience:
1. Embrace technology to build trust and loyalty
The proliferation of online shopping means customers expectations of the shopping experience have also shifted. Thanks to standards set by vast eCommerce sites like Amazon, eCommerce businesses need to maintain great customer service and fast response times. This may be whilst also experiencing a higher volume of customer inquiries and requests.
Technology has created this heightened expectation but it can also help with solutions. Live chat software can help advisors interact with customers in real-time. Advanced call handling software can speed up response time in call centres and chatbots can aid self-service customer support. AI-driven software can also save your business vast amounts of time by streamlining data analysis, data entry, and other time-consuming processes.
2. Create a personalised shopping experience
Without meeting consumers in person, online brands must build trust in a different way to keep people coming back to their eCommerce site. To gain a competitive advantage, your eCommerce customer service must replicate the personal service and attentive experience a shopper gets from a face-to-face service.
Again, technology can come to your aid with things like personalised emails or individual customer accounts. Seamless omnichannel customer support (more about this below) takes things one step further.
3. Train your Customer Service team
Your customer support team is key to building trust, delivering great customer service and offering consistent experiences across all support channels. Invest in your team and send staff on customer service online courses. This helps them develop soft skills to build trust and relationships, as well as honing more practical abilities. You could also run product-specific training. That way, your team will know your lines inside out.
Make sure your team has the ability and capacity to deliver short response times to queries, to provide assistance every step of the way and to act on customer feedback.
In order for your team to provide excellent customer service they need to have well thought out and structured tools, systems and processes in place. If you don’t have a world-class integrated eCommerce platform in place, even the best customer service team will struggle.
4. Choose the right customer service channels
Ecommerce businesses must meet consumers where they are. Today’s customers use a broad range of communication channels. Brands need to maintain an appropriate presence across the outlets their customers are using.
Social media isn’t just the domain for b2c brands, there’s an expectation for b2b to have an active presence on social media as well. Business owners and employees are on social media as individuals, and if it’s convenient for them to make contact with your brand through social media, you need to be there! Engaging customers via channels they prefer shows you care and builds trust.
Email is still a very popular means of communicating with customers for online stores. It’s an ideal channel for offering personalisation and can be a more reliable way of reaching your audience, who will have signed up to receive your businesses emails.
Live chat is an increasingly important support channel for online retailers. It ticks the quick response time button which consumers love. If you’re not available 24/7 you can still offer live chat during the times your team is on call and show a ‘leave a message’ button at other times.
Telephone support. Many consumers still prefer to talk to someone in person so make sure you display a phone number on your website. There’s software available to help integrate phone calls and the info they contain to your CRM and other systems.
Blog content can be used as a PR and SEO tool but can also help with customer support. It can be used to answer common questions about your products or to ease pain points for your target audience.
5. Have a robust omnichannel strategy
Customers don’t just use one of the channels above, they may hop between channels during a shopping journey. This means your business must embrace an omnichannel strategy.
Omnichannel support is about creating a seamless customer experience. This means that no matter how or when a customer contacts you, your service must be consistent and high quality. To achieve this, your communications channels must be integrated and unified.
If a customer reaches out by email and then by phone your software should recognise them. One frictionless system means there’s no need to reiterate previous interactions, a common source of consumer frustration.
In summary, what your eCommerce business must aim for is consistently excellent customer service. That means providing seamless shopping experiences within a unified omnichannel system. It also involves speaking in a unified voice across many channels.
If a customer has a bad experience they might move their custom to another company. Or worse, they might also share a bad review on a public platform, which can be quite damaging. It’s only by prioritising eCommerce excellent customer service that a brand can thrive.