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Do you want your online store to stand head and shoulders above the rest? Then offer impeccable eCommerce customer service. Here’s how.
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From automating the shipping process to offering multichannel customer service, there’s a lot you can do to improve the experience your eCommerce customers have.
With growing competition and increasing expectations from consumers, it’s non-negotiable to have impeccable customer service.
The following is guide to help you offer the service customers expect in 2022 and grow your business in doing so.
Follow the Trends
Customer service has to be a top strategic priority in a digital-first world. It’s one of the few ways you can really set yourself apart from your competition.
You need to make sure that you’re keeping up with the evolution of eCommerce customer service.
Some of the trends to be mindful of right now include:
- Your customer service is the face of your brand. You no longer have so many brick-and-mortar businesses with an actual human face. Instead, each interaction customers have with your business becomes your face, even if these interactions are with multiple people or even chatbots. Each interaction, every step of the way, creates the image that is outward-facing for your business. There are intangibles like empathy and tone of voice that you have to think about in a creative way.
- Ecommerce businesses of all sizes are trying to figure out how to deal with issues related to talent management and retention. You have to deliver seamless customer service, but you may have fewer employees to help you do that. Many employees are also opting to choose positions where they can work from home. This could mean that your employees have to create a unified voice in dealing with customers, even if they aren’t located in the same space with one another.
- Smart technology and AI are becoming mainstream in eCommerce. This offers benefits for businesses willing to embrace it. You can do more with fewer resources as well as not having to hire as many employees. Then, your employees can deal with more complex issues. Customers expect answers instantly. This might mean using chatbots to solve simple problems or getting to a human as fast as possible if a chatbot can’t offer the solution.
Identify the Challenges
Some of the challenges are touched on above, but in order to rise to the occasion as it currently exists, eCommerce businesses have to be prepared to identify and address challenges head-on.
- One challenge is that the pandemic has changed consumption habits for a lot of people. Because of the digital environment, buyers are increasingly demanding. It’s very much expected that companies will listen to customers and directly respond with regard to how they do things. You have to be a business that’s prepared for adaptability in everything you do.
- Along with having more expectations in general, consumers want more options about how they make purchases. They want to choose how they pay and who they pay. You need to be on as many channels as possible so that every consumer feels like you have something to offer them. Even though you need an omnichannel approach, it has to be cohesive and consistent.
- To stand out, you have to personalize your content and marketing. This year, it’s expected that 90% of eCommerce companies will offer some level of personalization in the content they deliver to the user.
- Having customers find your products is only one part of a complex puzzle that exists in eCommerce. They have to then feel compelled to buy it, based on the catalog content and information you provide them. You need to get into the technical details and offer comprehensive and creative descriptions. Videos and 360-degree photos are also important.
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- Amazon has made it so that even when consumers aren’t purchasing on the marketplace, they expect a similar shipping experience. A challenge that’s arisen during the pandemic is lost shipments and delays. Many eCommerce businesses at the start of the pandemic didn’t necessarily have the logistical structure in place to deal with sudden increases in demand. This is where automation comes heavily into play. You have to be offering different shipping and pickup options. Also, remember that the cost of shipping is a key buying decision for most customers.
- Customers are getting more comfortable with the idea of buying from international stores. However, this increases your logistics challenges as a retailer. You’re going to have to figure out how you can streamline international shipments, reduce the potential for lost items, and also keep your costs in check.
- Sustainability is a top-of-mind issue for a lot of modern consumers. How are you offering sustainability in everything you do? This doesn’t just mean sustainable products. It also includes processes and how you pack and ship items. This is part of your customer service. You’re balancing the demands of consumers for items to get there quickly and be high-quality with their simultaneous requirement that you do so in a way that’s conscious of the environmental impacts.
What Can You Do to Improve eCommerce Customer Service in 2022?
The following are things eCommerce businesses need to consider to improve customer service for the rest of this year and going forward.
Know What Makes for Impeccable Customer Service
Research shows there are four key elements to great customer service, no matter what you’re selling or how you’re selling it. These are speed, convenience, helpfulness, and friendliness.
You can achieve all of these as an eCommerce business. You can offer speed through automation, convenience through live chat, and helpfulness through integrated customer and order data so that your team is giving accurate responses. Finally, you can offer friendliness through unified, on-brand responsiveness.
Offer Multichannel Customer Service
The digitally dominant world has reduced the time that people expect to wait for essentially anything. In fact, they often want what they want in mere seconds.
That’s where multichannel customer service becomes important for your eCommerce store.
Multichannel customer service is increasingly becoming the norm. Your customers can make use of multiple communication channels to reach your business when they have questions or concerns.
Why is this important?
Your customers need to reach you as easily and conveniently as they can. What’s more, they want to do so using their preferred channel.
Customers expect a smooth experience no matter which channel they use.
You need to strategize and determine how you can have the best options for multichannel communication. Considerations will include the channels that are most compatible and effective for your type of business. This will be the case whether or not there are specific channels that are applicable to customer support only and whether you’re monitoring the interactions currently happening.
There are a lot of options you can make use of.
There’s the phone, of course. Using a multi channel contact center is usually your best bet if you’re providing support via phone. Then there’s also email, live chat, social media, and self-service tools.
As you’re getting started with a multichannel approach to customer service, don’t take on more than you can reasonably handle. If you’re taking on too much and you can’t handle every channel efficiently, this is going to end up having a negative effect.
Use Customer Reviews to Your Advantage
Customer reviews are of the utmost importance to your business in multiple ways.
First, reviews from other customers are what people use to make buying decisions. They want to get the opinions of other people. Along with using reviews to help encourage purchase decisions, you can also use them to improve your customer experience.
Reviews are like built-in market research.
You can go to them to see what you’re doing well and where you need to improve. It also creates a positive image in your customers’ eyes if you’re proactively asking for feedback and then responding to it, even when it’s negative.
If a customer is using feedback channels to tell you about a problem, don’t just be responsive. Take action and show them how you’re doing that.
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Build a Robust Knowledge Base to Provide Better Service to Your eCommerce Customers
A knowledge base usually comes in the form of frequently asked questions. You can create a knowledge base in written or video form.
This information should be easy to find and navigate. Plus, you should add to it as often as you need to.
Use your customer support tickets and feedback to create your knowledge base.
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Add Order and Shipping Data into Your Helpdesk Responses
You need to make sure that your helpdesk software integrates with other tools you’re using. In other words, customer service employees need to have easy access to everything they need to allow them to respond appropriately. Order and shipment data needs to be right there where they can get to it easily.
With that information available, you can start to create templates that include things like refund dates and refund amounts, for example, or order and ship dates.
Automate as Much of Your Online Store as You Can
Finally, the more you can automate, the better. If you have the right templates and processes in place, you can actually cut down significantly on when customers need to speak to anyone. And yet they’re still going to be happy with the service they receive.
Things that can be automated include questions about the order delivery or pre-sales questions.
Once you automate these responses in your eCommerce store, your customer service agents can focus on giving the very best service to the people who need it because they’re not spending time in places where automation handles it for them.
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