The online space is always evolving, but one thing will never go out of fashion: exceptional ecommerce customer service.
Happy customers become repeat customers. When your customers trust your brand and feel valued and respected throughout their shopping journey, they are likely to spend more, spend often, and tell their friends and family about your products.
Importance of Customer Service in Ecommerce
An online customer cannot be won over by a warm smile, a strong handshake, or a perfectly-timed compliment. You have to find other ways to build trust and bridge the gap between you and your customers.
That’s why ecommerce customer service is so important. It’s an opportunity to make the online shopping experience feel personal, whether your customer is down the road or in another country.
Here are five tools to help you deliver exceptional ecommerce customer service.
1. Live Chat
Imagine you are shopping for shoes online. You’ve found a perfect pair, run them past your best friend for approval, and you’re ready to click ‘buy now’.
However, when you go to add the shoes to your cart, you get cold feet (pun intended). What if the shoes don’t fit and you need to return them? If only you could talk to a real person to get some reassurance about the returns policy…
Then you notice the Live Chat box in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. Problem solved! After a quick chat with a salesperson in real time, you feel reassured that you can return the shoes if needed. You go ahead with the purchase.
It’s normal for people to seek reassurance from a shop assistant before they spend money. Live Chat gives your customers an opportunity to ask questions in real time so they feel confident about proceeding to checkout. It’s an essential feature in today’s age of instant gratification.
Once you get Live Chat, you’ll probably notice a decrease in abandoned carts and an increase in customer enquiries. People love using Live Chat and are beginning to expect it from all big online stores.
There are plenty of Live Chat platforms to choose from, including Zopim, Olark, LivePerson, and Boldchat.
Still not convinced? See 5 Reasons Why You Should Use Live Chat On Your Ecommerce Website for more tips and insight.
Every email you send is an opportunity to impress your customer, make them feel supported and valued, and increase brand awareness. When used strategically, email is a powerful customer service tool.
Here are some tips for using email to your best advantage:
- Manage expectations. When people fill out your contact form, give them an idea of when they can expect a response. Send an automatic reply or outline your process clearly on your website, e.g. ‘we endeavour to respond to all emails within 24 hours’.
- Respond quickly if you can. In the time it takes you to respond to an email, your customer might choose to buy a product from another ecommerce business. Consider outsourcing email management to a virtual assistant or using a customer experience tool like Zendesk so you can strike while the iron’s hot.
- Personalise your emails wherever possible. Use your customer’s first name, be warm and friendly, and write in a way that makes it feel like an authentic conversation – not like they are speaking with a robot (even if they are sometimes!).
- Follow up if you don’t hear back from the customer. People are busy and often appreciate an attentive follow up email; it shows that you care.
- Don’t be afraid to give your customers extra information they might find helpful. For example, send them links to a few recent blog posts they might enjoy, invite them to follow you on social media, and let them know about any special offers or promotions you’re running at the moment.
Although Live Chat and email support are on the rise, phone support is still essential – especially if something goes wrong. If there’s a problem, the first thing your customer will do is look for a phone number.
Depending on the size of your business, you may be able to answer all phone calls yourself or you might need to outsource phone support to a third party.
As with email, it’s important to manage expectations. Publish your business hours on your website and make it clear when people can expect to hear back from you if they leave a message.
It’s a good idea to keep some scripts handy so you can provide consistent customer service every time the phone rings. For example, follow a script for managing new enquiries, talking to disgruntled customers, and processing returns.
4. Social Media
Social media is a fantastic opportunity to interact with your customers. People are beginning to reach out to brands via Facebook Messenger and Instagram messaging, so make sure you check all your social media inboxes multiple times a day.
If you’re using a social media scheduling app, remember to show up ‘in person’ as often as possible. It looks problematic if you’re posting regular content but not interacting with people in the comments section or responding to private messages. Social media is no longer a place to shout about your brand; it’s a place to have conversations (privately and publicly).
You’ll find some of your most loyal and engaged social media followers haven’t even visited your website (and probably won’t until they make a purchase).
5. Website copy
Our final tool for providing exceptional ecommerce customer service might surprise you. It’s your website copy – for example your FAQs page, Returns page, or Terms & Conditions.
All the copy on your website should be written with customer service front of mind. It needs to be clear, engaging, and trustworthy. You want your customers to read it and think ‘I trust this brand and I feel comfortable spending money on their products’.
When it comes to writing trustworthy web copy, little things go a long way. For example: spelling and grammar. Never underestimate the importance of proofreading your work. A little spelling error could be enough to make your customers look elsewhere.
Your website copy is also an opportunity to show your brand personality. If your brand is fun and light-hearted, write with a sense of humour. If your brand is uplifting and inspiring, choose words that make people feel good.
If your web copy is interesting, helpful, and trustworthy, it will encourage more people to go straight to ‘buy now’ without seeking reassurance. Even though you are not speaking to your customer via email or phone, you are still speaking to them via your web copy. Make sure it is word perfect.
That concludes our five tools: Live Chat, Email, Phone, Social Media, and Website Copy. Which tool do you use the most?
For more customer service strategies, be sure to read our blog post: 10 Ecommerce Customer Service Tips.