As the name suggests, customer service refers to the help companies provide to their customers at every stage of the shopping journey. In recent years, customer support evolved from a neglected addition into an absolute necessity, and for all the right reasons!
Businesses all around the world understood the importance of customer service! The added value it can have on their relationships with their clients and all the benefits that could come of it are not to be underestimated - they can literally make or break a business.
Satisfied customers tend to spend more and become marketing assets by promoting your brand
As a matter of a fact, the most recent statistics reflect the enormous impact of good (or bad) support:
Q2 2019 Consumer Benchmark Study - 10,000 US consumers in 20 industries
Source: Qualtrics XM Institute
The ratings above clearly reflect that offering an excellent customer experience will push buyers to demonstrate “loyalty activities”. Not only will these boost your brand’s credibility but they’ll also increase your revenue by driving more shoppers and sales.
Customer Service Best Practices
It goes without saying that each industry requires a specific know-how however, there are certain skills that can help you offer an adequate customer service regardless of your business model.
Perfecting the language you use
The first thing you should consider is the manner in which you are communicating with your clients. Whether they’re reading a tagline on your homepage or reaching out to their account manager, shoppers expect an accurate, clear, and positive language.
It’s essential to provide correct information at all times! Don’t make the huge mistake of misinforming your clients about your products or services because it could be a deal breaker once they find out that your offerings don’t match your advertisements.
Avoid miscommunications as well by using clear phrasing to convey the ideas you have. Not all customers are aware of the things you know about your ecommerce business which is why you should keep things as simple as possible.
You should also refrain from using negative language since it can discourage your visitors. Try focusing on the solutions you offer instead of talking about the problems; tell them what they CAN do instead of lecturing them about what they SHOULD or CANNOT do.
Employing the right voice and tone
Each brand has its own voice that separates it from its competitors. You can choose that voice based on your business model: tech companies are oftentimes sophisticated whereas sports labels are motivational.
While your voice generally remains unchanged, the tone you use should adapt to each campaign or situation. In other words, a brand’s voice is usually consistent but a tone is more flexible.
Adjust the latter based on the customer you’re talking to and the reason that led to this exact conversation: apologizing for an incorrect order is certainly different from announcing a new partnership.
“The highest performing companies also top the list of the Most Empathetic Companies”
Showing empathy where it matters
If you think that the best companies in the world got to where they are solely due to their unyielding character, think again! It goes without saying that in such a competitive ecosystem, online businesses should have a relentless attitude but not when dealing with customers.
Displaying a certain level of empathy and relating to the challenges that clients face can go a long way. It shows that you understand what they’re going through which in turn allows you to offer a better service.
It doesn’t stop there though, empathetic employees perform better both in-house and when communicating with outsiders. Shoppers will feel they’re appreciated and that there’s someone by their side, helping them solve their issues - no one likes to feel alone, you know!
Offering an added value
It’s no longer enough to simply answer a customer’s query. One way to overcome the competition is by offering exceptional experiences instead of traditional support. Achieving that requires an added value, and not necessarily monetary. A few examples include:
- Sending out personalized emails to conduct surveys or product reviews.
- Offering complimentary items, coupons, and discounts on selected orders.
- Sharing exciting information with clients to keep them in the loop on all your recent news.
Make your customers feel like they actually matter to you since it’s been proven to increase retention rates and brand loyalty.
Mastering your product/service
Last but certainly not least is knowing the product or service you offer like the back of your hand. When someone comes to you with a problem, they expect you to be the expert and offer the proper help.
Take the time to learn - and teach everyone in your company - all there is about your offerings. Don’t stop there though, a good idea would be for online businesses to educate themselves on the latest ecommerce trends in order to apply them on their stores.
Reflect the confidence you want your clients to have in you by attending to their needs, and then some!
Customer Service Channels: An Omnichannel Experience
Before you start worrying about how to cover all the channels available now, rest assured that you don’t have to! It goes without saying that the more channels you add to your online store, the more visitors you can reach out to.
There are some mediums that you just can’t afford not to have and some of them might be more suitable to your business than others. Understand your client-base and focus on the channels they tend to use.
First Contact Resolution reduces churn rates and costs while increasing customer satisfaction and prospective sales
Social media support
The first thing that might come to mind when talking about customer support is private conversations; this is no longer the case in the ecommerce industry today. Social media is continuously proving to be an invaluable asset to all online businesses and not just for marketing purposes.
Offering customer service on different social media platforms has huge benefits:
- Reach different audiences with varying needs and concerns.
- Display your help to a huge crowd and not just for the person who contacted you.
- Interact with your clients in a seamless and timely manner.
- Take advantage of the additional exposure.
It’s important to note that there’s no specific platform when it comes to customer service. Learn about your clients and find out where they spend most of their time because that’s where you need to be too.
Live chat and chatbots
Another popular channel is on-site live chat. Add a small chat bubble on your homepage and inside pages so that shoppers can reach you with a click of a button (literally!). Live chats are popular because they’re efficient: customers can easily and quickly ask for assistance.
Most of the time, there’s a customer service specialist on the other end of that chat however, AI-powered chatbots are making a huge impact on the ecommerce industry. They’re already capable of offering relatively complex advice and guidance thanks to their machine learning capabilities.
“Everything from booking meetings with sales reps to pushing prospects further down the funnel with engaging content”
An ever-lasting customer service channel is email and for all the good reasons. Customers can describe the issue they’re facing any way they want by adding all the necessary details. This helps you understand the problem and gives you enough time to find the solution.
Contrary to live chat, shoppers are not expecting an immediate reply but the sooner you get back to them, the better. More importantly, they are waiting for an email that perfectly fits their needs. In other words, personalization is key here.
Self-support: Helpful content
Not all shoppers will run to you whenever they encounter an obstacle. A large portion of internet users are resourceful and will try to find a guide or a blog that can help them overcome whatever difficulty they’re facing before contacting you.
The most common form of helpful content is Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). You can also add manuals (if necessary), blogs, forums, or any other form of documentation that can prove valuable in a time of need.
Telephone and SMS
Probably the classical customer service channel yet it remains necessary up until this very day. Customers who are facing urgent matters or want to receive an answer on the spot will simply call you.
While this method exists in both offline and online shopping sectors, it can prove counterproductive especially if someone calls your offices and no one answers. Make sure you publicly display your business hours so consider adding a voicemail feature.
Comprehensive Support in a Customer-Centric Approach
Nowadays, it’s no secret that businesses are adopting a customer-centric strategy which primarily focuses on a seamless and omnichannel shopping experience. An adequate customer service is an intrinsic part of this strategy.
Business owners, and especially e-retailers, should focus on the quality of support they’re offering. Customer service is no longer a luxury but a necessity that you can’t overlook. If done correctly, it can be a huge competitive advantage which will drive more shoppers to your website and keep them satisfied. Don’t forget that a happy customer is bound to come back!
Ecomz is an award-winning ecommerce platform that allows merchants to create their dream store, manage it like a pro, grow it better and faster. It is the only solution that offers the ultimate shopping experience to customers thanks to an AI recommendation engine, a suite of advanced marketing apps, and innovative multi-channel capabilities.
Ecomz operates in more than 55 countries, serving more than 7,000 merchants helping them generate over $50M in sales. Named 2018 Top 5 B2B website by Seamless Conference, 2017 Top 10 Business by ArabNet, Ecomz has also been recognized by Google, Disrupt San Francisco (TechCrunch) and MIT Silicon Valley Program for its achievements and has been awarded by the 2018 Touch Innovation Program (TIP) and BLC Bank’s 2018 Brilliant Lebanese Award (BLA).