The retail market is saturated with countless businesses, and to stand out, one needs to offer something more than just quality products. 61% of the customers say they would switch to a company’s competitor after just one bad customer service experience, and 76% of them say they would switch due to multiple bad experiences. Moreover, 91% of the customers state that they are more likely to buy from the same company if they have a positive customer service experience (see Figure 1). Therefore, paying attention to the best practices for ecommerce customer service is a must for an e-commerce business.
A talented customer service representative plays a vital role in providing a good customer experience. However, an excellent customer service strategy for e-commerce requires many other elements, such as customer data analytics or tech investments. In this article, we will provide the 7 best practices for an effective ecommerce customer service strategy for keeping your existing online shoppers and converting new loyal ones.
Figure 1. The buying behavior of the customers is shaped by the quality of the customer service they receive
1- Multichannel customer support
In today’s hyper-connected world, customers expect businesses to interact theim across any channel. Ecommerce businesses can leverage social customer service software to provide customer support on multiple platforms, such as email, live chat, social media, and phone calls. 40% of consumers state that providing multiple communication options is the most important feature of a customer service department. By offering a choice of customer service channels, you’re catering to individual customer preferences and increasing the likelihood of swift problem resolution.
Further, integrating these channels for a unified customer view is crucial. It ensures that no matter what platform a customer chooses to use, their information and history are instantly accessible, resulting in a consistent and exceptional customer service experience. Indeed, stats show that phone support, messenger apps, and text/SMS have been increasingly preferred by customers in the last few years (see Figure 2).
Figure 2. The stats show that phone support, messenger apps, and text/SMS are increasingly preferred by customers
2- Personalized service
Personalization is the key to standing out in a crowded ecommerce market. Today’s consumers demand that businesses prioritize their requirements and desires. They seek a sense of appreciation and comprehension from the brands they engage with. 90% of customers say they will spend more with companies that personalize their customer service for them. As a result, companies are strategically transitioning towards a more consumer-oriented methodology.
By using customer data, your business can offer personalized service, making customers feel valued and enhancing their overall shopping experience. Remembering past interactions, customer preferences, and purchase history can contribute significantly to personalized service and thus to strong customer service performance.
Companies can invest in technology that can help them collect and analyze customer data to drive personalized interactions. For example, an AI chatbot can analyze past purchases and browsing behavior to suggest products that a customer might be interested in, creating a tailored shopping experience and loyal customers.
3- Use of chatbots in ecommerce customer service
A customer service team cannot deal with all your customers on multiple channels, without using AI across the contact center. The deployment of AI-powered chatbots is revolutionizing ecommerce customer service in this sense. Chatbots can provide instant responses to frequently asked questions, reducing customer wait time and allowing your customer support team to focus on resolving more complex queries.
Moreover, chatbots can operate around the clock, providing 24/7 customer service. They can also handle multiple interactions simultaneously, scaling your good customer service capabilities. However, it’s vital to maintain a balance and ensure that a customer service agent is available when necessary, as chatbots may not be equipped to handle all types of inquiries.
4- Proactive communication
In the world of e-commerce, proactive customer service is a game-changer. Customers appreciate being kept in the loop. Providing updates on product availability, shipping status, and potential issues proactively can save customers from potential frustration and help build trust. 68% of consumers are impressed when they are sent proactive notifications.
Utilize technology to automate these communications. For example, automated email or SMS notifications about shipment tracking or product restocking can go a long way in enhancing customer satisfaction. It can also involve keeping customers informed about updates, changes, or anything that may impact their experience. For instance:
- If a certain product has shown frequent defects after a specific period, companies can reach out to customers to address potential concerns and provide solutions before customers encounter any problems.
- If a website or service is expected to go down for maintenance, letting customers know ahead of time can prevent frustration.
5- Easiness in returns and refunds
An easy and transparent return and refund policy is a crucial aspect of ecommerce customer service. Customers are more likely to shop from an ecommerce store if they know they can easily return an item if it doesn’t meet their expectations.
Invest in technology that makes returns and refunds easy. This could include prepaid return labels, simple online return forms, and prompt refund processing. Making this process smooth and hassle-free can significantly enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.
6- Customer feedback collection
Customer feedback is a goldmine of information for continuous service improvement. 63% of customers express that businesses should improve their responsiveness to customer feedback.
Regularly ask your customers for their opinions and implement changes based on their feedback. This shows customers that you value their opinions, leading to increased loyalty.
Use technology tools to collect and analyze feedback efficiently. Surveys, online reviews, and social media listening tools can provide valuable insights into what customers think about your service. Use this data to identify areas of improvement and implement changes to enhance your customer service experience.
7- Best solution: The implementation of effective CRM and customer service systems
In today’s e-commerce realm, an efficient Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and robust customer service software are crucial. They provide the necessary tools for understanding customer behaviors and preferences while offering exceptional, personalized customer service.
- 44% of businesses state that modernizing service systems is the biggest challenge to delivering high-quality customer service, where implementing customer service software becomes a solution.
- An AI-driven omnichannel contact center solution can automate approximately 70% of customer interactions and close to two-thirds of service-related tasks.
CRM systems track every interaction with customers, collating and analyzing data from numerous sources. This detailed customer view enables personalized communication and service, leading to increased satisfaction and loyalty. Customer service software, with features like ticketing systems, live chat, AI chatbots, and analytics, aids in streamlining customer support, ensuring swift issue resolution.
Combined, these systems provide a consistent service across all touchpoints, improving the overall customer experience. They’re key to implementing many of the best practices we mentioned, such as proactive communication, personalization and customer feedback analysis. When chosen to align with business needs and goals, these systems can significantly boost customer satisfaction and loyalty, ultimately driving sales growth.
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If you have questions or need help in finding vendors, reach out:
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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