Customer service is simple. All you need to do is to provide quick, efficient, and easily accessible support. Never argue with the customer, listen, speak the same language, and make sure they always walk away with a solution. How hard can it be?
In reality, there’s more to it.
In the eCommerce space, customers cannot get to see, feel, or try on the products and have to depend on service reps, their product knowledge, and communication skills.
Considering that 90% of Americans decide if they continue dealing with the company based on the quality of customer service they receive, it would make sense to put extra effort into advancing your customer service department.
If you’ve noticed that despite all your efforts you’re not getting the results you hoped for it’s time to reconsider how you’re organizing customer support.
And don’t rule out any issues that look insignificant — it is often malpractice that ruins hard work.
Underestimating the Role of Customer Service
When talking to e-shop owners we’ve noticed that many of them belittle the importance of customer support. Usually, it is caused by the lack of resources whether it’s time, money, or qualified service reps. Nearly half of the respondents admitted that their customer service could be better but they just couldn’t afford to advance it.
Typically, shop owners try cutting down expenses and either do everything themselves or use the cheapest solution like outsourcing a non-American call center. This is a vicious circle: try saving up on the most important part of your business and you won’t be able to increase your sales and conversions. Thus you won’t make that extra money you were supposed to invest in your customer service to improve the situation.
Hundreds of unanswered emails mean dozens of deals that didn’t fell through. It’s not enough to answer an email, you have to do it on time otherwise your customers will turn to your competitors. More than 80% of customers expect you to answer their email during the first 24 hours and if you’re providing a live chat service, be prepared to answer within 45 seconds (which means hiring at least two reps to work in shifts).
Outsourcing a call center can become a solution but only if you manage to prepare a detailed script and make sure the agents understand your product. However, if the conversation doesn’t go as expected the call center agents can easily get confused and break the sale. And you won’t be able to control it.
At the end of the day, doubts, delays, and poor product knowledge of the underqualified reps cost e-shop owners thousands of dollars.
Solution? If your budget is limited reconsider it prioritizing your customer service. Keep in mind that outsourcing a call center rarely works perfectly. If you don’t have the funds to hire an in-house customer service team, it would make sense to automate your sales and support processes to the maximum.
Leaving Your Customer Feel Uncertain
If after talking to a service rep your customer still feels confused — you’ve got a problem. The main (if not the only) goal of customer service is to provide a straightforward solution and guide your customers all the way through. Surprisingly enough, that doesn’t always happen.
Here are a few things that typically cause confusion.
Impractical Product Recommendations
If you know that your customer is on the budget you wouldn’t want to make them feel uncomfortable recommending products from the luxury sector. The better you know your customer, the more accurate your product recommendations become. And that, in turn, increases loyalty and makes them come back.
Solution? In order to be on point with recommendations, collect customer’s data. Once you know what your customer needs and prefers, you can level up your performance and drastically improve customer satisfaction.
Not Following Customer’s Journey
Business owners also mention that customers often start conversations without any context expecting service reps to know exactly what they’re talking about. Many customers assume that you have all the information about their previous purchases or current orders. And we wouldn’t blame them — nowadays, there’s no lack of tools that allow you to follow the entire journey of your website visitors as well as record historical data.
Solution? Use tools to track your customer’s journey. If you’re not sure which one is a better fit for you, live chat by Markeaze offers this functionality for free.
While advancing your website with the right set of tools don’t forget about user experience. Make sure the interface of your shop is straightforward and customers can easily reach out for help via different channels. Installing live chat software is a basic necessity if your customers are on the younger side.
However, you should consider providing help by phone too. At times when department stores are not as available as they used to be, elderly people started embracing online shopping too. Chances are they wouldn’t know how to use live chat straight away and that’s when phone support can come in handy.
Solution? To help your customers overcome technical issues you need to use tools that track their behavior on the website, anticipate their needs, provide proactive service, and reach out first. Besides, consider providing customer service on the phone if there is a big percentage of seniors among your customers.
Not Using Multiple Customer Service Channels
Providing customer service via phone and live chat is a smart move but it is still not enough. Multichannel communication is what you need to aim for. Whether it’s Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, or even texting — you need to be where your customers are. Meeting them halfway won’t cost you much (some solutions are free) will certainly give you a few extra points.
Apart from that, you need to make sure the solution that you use is also omnichannel. There’s nothing worse than redirecting your customers from agent to agent and losing the track of conversation meanwhile.
33% of customers admitted that they get frustrated by having to repeat themselves to multiple support reps.
Solution? Not only you need to use multiple communication channels but also consolidate the information from all the channels into one comprehensive system. From phone conversations to social media chats, make sure that all the vital information is kept in one place so that your customer service reps are always well-prepared.
Not Doing the Follow-Up
Provide your e-shop visitor with impeccable customer service and you will gain a new customer. Send them a thoughtful follow-up message and you’ll get yourself a return customer. It is a huge mistake to think that your work ends as soon as the customer makes a purchase — return customers cost less but bring you more profit than the new ones. Your job is to make them feel loved and appreciated.
Solution? Answer every single inquiry you get from your customers and continue checking up on them until the issue is fully resolved. And once it is resolved, use this for your benefit and continue the conversation with the customer via email. Offer them discounts, suggest new products, or simply start by saying thank you. One loyal customer costs as much as four new ones.
Believing that Customer is Always Right
Now, that’s a tricky one. For years we’ve been indoctrinated with the idea that customer is always right and we need to go out of our way in order to please them. The truth is customers are people and some of them can be mean, unpleasant, and not right at all. It doesn’t mean that you have a green light to be impolite or unhelpful but putting all the customers first is not always a good strategy.
Convincing your customer service team that even rude customers are the right ones may result in making your reps feel miserable and unimportant.
The last thing you want is to have a team of demoralized employees that have no motivation to provide any service at all.
Besides, some customers do deserve more attention than others. Imagine that you have two customers on hold — one of them is willing to make an order asap and only needs a little help with checking out, and the other one who is just browsing and aggressively complaining about some minor issue. If you spend your time calming down an unhappy customer who didn’t have an intention to buy anything in the first place, you may end up losing the first one too.
Solution? Support your employees and make sure they know how valuable they are. You can afford to lose one snappy customer for the sake of keeping one loyal customer service rep.
Once you understand the true value that excellent customer service can create you’re halfway to success. You need to address issues with confidence and make sure that customers walk away completely satisfied. Using proper tools is a must nowadays: they help you collect data, track a customer’s journey, and use this information to mutual advantage. Besides, your customer service should be easily accessible via different communication channels.
If you want your customers to come back for more, you need to come up with a well-thought-out follow-up strategy and show them that you genuinely care. And finally, if you want your customer service team to perform at their best, you need to relish their work.