Customer support is essential for business success. No matter the industry or marketplace, it remains the number one trend and competitive advantage for different companies. Everyone understands it, but a few know how to implement it. Excellent customer service helps increase sales and turn first-time buyers into valuable returning customers. So, why not get it right? In this article, we share seven actionable best practices that will help you deliver sensational eCommerce customer support. Learn how to automate your business without losing the human touch. Discover how to communicate with customers in a way that will make them love your brand. Explore all the dos and don’ts of eCommerce customer service in this brief guide.
What is eCommerce customer service?
ECommerce customer service describes technologies, best practices, and strategies in the world of online store assistance. It is different from retail client service in terms of the following:
- eCommerce customer service is done online. Considering that 80% of online purchases happen through mobile, good eCommerce customer service should be mobile, too. This entails click-to-call, SMS support, and live chat.
- eCommerce customer support is quick. Online shoppers have high expectations, and they need only a few clicks to start shopping at your competitor’s store. That’s why eCommerce support agents should respond to customer questions as quickly as possible..
- eCommerce customer support is convenient. Online customers are unlikely to take the time to search for the means of contacting a brand. That’s why most online stores have several channels of communication — most often phone, email and a social media page.
- eCommerce customer support is a problem solver. Apart from quick responses, clients expect their issues to be solved fast too. So, time to resolve is another battlefield for online companies.
eCommerce best practices to try out:
Create a self-service
Online customers have high demands. They expect businesses to be there to address their queries 24/7 and if a company fails to satisfy them, they rarely give it a chance to make it up.
That’s why many eCommerce businesses choose to empower customers to find a solution to their problems on their own. The opportunity to keep the satisfaction rates decent while cutting down support expenses is one of the many benefits of a knowledge base. However, a poorly managed self-service can be as harmful as not providing any customer support at all.
To avoid confusing your clients, invest enough time into the creation and categorization of solution articles and FAQs. Make sure all the documents are centralized and accessible to your website visitors and mobile app users. Use widgets to help customers quickly find helpful information, and pull links to the most popular sections into your chatbot.
Choose an inbox that integrates with your eCommerce platform
Quality software is the foundation of solid customer service. Email is still the most popular channel for customer support, so make sure your tool makes it easy for your team to stay organized.
For the best eCommerce customer service, it is important that an inbox has an integration with the store’s platform. Thus, your team will be able to track and collect all the customer-brand interactions and get a total breakdown any time they need it.
Also, a good inbox tool will make it easy to service those customers who prefer other messaging solutions. For this, ensure your tool is omnichannel.
Some other commonly used features of an efficient inbox are:
- Personalized folders
- Priority sorting option
- Automated channel-based sorting
- Time-based sorting
Master eCommerce customer analytics
Providing a good customer experience is a trial and error thing. You make an assumption regarding what your potential clients may need, try it out and watch the reaction.
To make it less a guessing game and prevent a potential disaster, marketers track customer data and look for patterns in behavior. The extent of the data depends on the tools and tool combinations you choose to rely on, as well as your ability to determine the key data points. Most often, eCommerce marketers want to know the following:
- Customer journey areas in need of optimization. There might be places on your website that tend to go unnoticed or categories that are never used. If they are, you should think of removing that category or changing your WooCommerce theme because the layout is too complicated.
- Items that are often bought together. With this information, you can grow sales and improve your marketing strategy.
- Buying habits. Customers value relationships with companies they choose and expect businesses to remember their preferences. With behavior tracking tools, you can give your clients the desired experience.
Be responsive on social media
Social customer service is a staple for an eCommerce business. It is low-cost and loved by consumers. Also, according to the stats, people tend to spend more time with brands that actively respond to queries on social media. Hence, provided you have an established following, it is also an easy way to get more customers. So, here are the basic steps to get started with social customer support:
- Leave no comment unanswered. Whether it’s a tweet, a comment, or a direct message, make sure to address it. Sometimes it’s as simple as supporting a customer’s excitement with an emoji. Other times will require a certain share of creativity.
- Be quick. Social media is about immediate responses. Checking out your notifications once in a few days may harm your performance.
- Be proactive. Leverage social listening and find where there is a discussion about your company. You may face an upset client there and use the chance to transform their experience and keep up your appearance.
Note that social media allows for the collection of a massive amount of data. So, follow social media security tips to make your interactions safe for both your company and customers.
Acknowledge cultural differences of your customers
Global businesses often face the danger of getting lost in translation. But even among English-speaking audiences, English can be incredibly different. A perfect solution would be to build a diverse, multilingual support team. Yet, that’s often impossible.
Here are the tips to attest clients’ cultural differences:
- Adapt your response to the customer’s tone. This seems intuitively evident, yet, there are two types of formal inquiries. The former uses a standard greeting and politely unwinds towards the issue, and the latter gets straight to the point. To provide an empathetic service, reassure the first-type sender that their question is welcome. For the second one, you can jump straight to the solution.
- Prefer active voice. Active voice makes it clear who does what, which is crucial for EAL (English as an additional language) customers. In written conversations, use precise but common words and write in short sentences. Thus, you’ll make it easier for a reader to decipher and avoid confusion in case your response will be run through Google Translate.
- Test your written response in Google Translate. There are many specialized translation tools but Google Translate remains the go-to app for short and quick translations. So, if you have extra time, check if your text translates adequately before sending it. This trick will help you keep your sentence structure simple and clear to the reader.
- Rephrase and ask to confirm. If you’re not sure if you understood what the client is saying, repeat it in your own words and ask them to correct you. Alternatively, you can assume several variants and ask the client a series of yes-no questions to see if you got it right. Yet another option is to offer a client several solution variants to choose from, based on your assumption.
Automate everything you can
With automation, you empower your customer support to serve more customers on a more personalized level. The first things that you should automate are transactional messages and common low-value tasks like inquiries about order status or shipment.
There are a lot of WooCommerce plugins that can automate virtually any processes on your website. However, too many plugins may lead to slower performance and even a security breach, so focus on the most time-consuming things.
Don’t lose the personal touch
While speed and convenience matter the most, 82% of U.S. customers express the need for human interactions, as shown in this PwC report. That means the technology should not be the final answer, but a tool to provide seamless and personal interaction. Here are a few tips to ensure you’re not just saying you provide personalized support, but are actually doing it:
- Use names. Asking for the customer’s name and referring to it has become a golden standard. But do your support agents always introduce themselves too? Especially with emails, let your clients get responses from a person rather than a faceless “Support team”.
- Know the customer’s history. Many companies celebrate clients’ birthdays but you can take it even further. Collect and display customer information in your help desk to appreciate another milestone of their loyalty, them trying your new product or upgrading their service package.
- Follow them on social media. Monitor your followers and acknowledge when a customer follows you. While it’s not necessary to follow everyone back, sending a note of appreciation can mean a lot in terms of a personal relationship.
Online shopping has been enjoying a boost and this means more competition in the eCommerce niche. And customer service, in its turn, has become the new battlefield as businesses strive to exceed clients’ expectations.
Remember that things are constantly developing when it comes to customer support. So, watch the trends, track your metrics, and don’t be afraid to test new ideas. We hope that the above tips have given you some inspiration.