Changes in technology, customer behaviors, and the economy have drastically changed the definition of customer service and raised the standards that customers expect to experience, especially for eCommerce companies that rely on online transactions. Customer service encompasses all touchpoints of the decision making process starting before the purchase is even made, from browsing and check-out to shipping and returns, all the way through warranty and usage issues.
Poor customer service leads to a poor customer experience which has serious financial and reputational consequences for a business: businesses lose an estimated $75 billion a year because of poor customer service. eCommerce vendors can avoid this pitfall by developing an omni-channel strategy and making themselves available to customers at any time or location. One survey found that businesses who have an omni-channel approach see 91% greater customer retention rates compared to businesses that don’t utilize this approach. Whether through social media, live chat, email, your mobile app, or a phone call, providing customers with a variety avenues will allow them to receive quick answers and improve overall customer satisfaction.
Equip your call center and in-store reps.
Ensure customer representatives have all the data they need at their fingertips to help new and existing customers. An effective CRM will ensure they can see customer history, previous communications, and special offers for that individual. Presenting a seamless experience for the customer will maximize their customer experience.
Personalize your emails.
Personalizing emails provides specialized draw for the customer, resulting in a higher open rate, providing a better customer experience, and ultimately making the customer happy by creating content that is customized to their specific needs and desires. Leveraging data to find out what customers are interested in, using buying and browsing behaviors to provide insight into what they are looking for, and providing them with personalized special offers at just the right time will allow an eCommerce business to catch customers just at the right time in the buying process to help close a sale.
Get mobile right.
Many customers today use their mobile devices, as oppose to a desktop computer, to browse and make purchases. In addition to creating a seamlessly desktop experience, website developers need to ensure that customers have access to a mobile platform or mobile app that allows them to access, browse, and purchase items from the palm of their hands. Ninety percent of customers say their mobile customer service experience was negative. Gain the competitive edge by providing the opposite of that trend.
Be fast on social media.
Social media use has been increasing among all demographics over the last decade, and many consumers use social media as a method to research, purchase, or ask questions about products. Having a social media presence is now a virtual necessity for any eCommerce business, but slow response times can end up doing more harm than good. 42% of customers expect a social media response time of 60 minutes and another 32% expect a response time within 30 minutes, yet only 8% of companies are meeting those expectations. Increasing speed improves the customer experience and ultimately reduces churn. Gartner found that companies that do not respond to social media messages see a 15% increase in customer churn.
Be a “social listener.”
Customer service via social media isn’t just about waiting for the customer to send a message. Being a good “social listener” means you proactively find and contribute to conversations about your brand. Automated tools like Google Alerts can monitor what’s being said about a brand without having to sift through reviews and questions by hand.
Customer service via email has been available for years, but many companies are slow to adopt texting even though 52% of consumers say they would like to have the ability to send a text message to a customer support agent. SMS is perfect for sending reminders, special offers, or order confirmations straight to the palm of someone’s hand.
Ensure live chat is optimized.
Live chat allows customers to immediately ask questions without the wait that often comes with a phone call or email. One survey found live chat has the highest level of satisfaction (73%) out of all customer service channels. Live chat is an effective way to communicate throughout the sales lifecycle because customers can use it if they experience and issue immediately during the ordering process or long after their purchase if an issue with the product arises.
Whether via mobile, texting, live chat, or email, giving providing customers with a variety of contact venues is the best way to ensure that all customer service requests are addressed, which in turn gives customers the best shopping experience possible. However, an influx of requests across multiple channels can overwhelm staff and lead to some requests slipping through the cracks. In Terrace’s next blog, “Automating Key Customer Service Requests,” learn how implementing practices like chatbots, AI, and voice recognition can help automate customer service responses and optimize customer experience.
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