Customer Service is Important
Your customer service can say more about your business than your brand personality does. If your brand message is contradictory to your customer service, which do you think you'll be remembered for?
"When customers are unhappy, there's a 91 per cent chance they won't do business with a company again."
- When customers are unhappy, there's a 91 per cent chance they won't do business with a company again
- Dissatisfied customers typically tell 9 to 15 other people about their experience
- A negative customer experience is the reason 86 per cent of consumers quit doing business with a company
- Good customer experiences lead 42 per cent of consumers to purchase again
As consumers, we've come to expect not just good but great customer service from the brands we support. The bad taste of poor service can linger in our mouths for a long time after the purchase has been made, so much so, that we tell anyone who mentions that particular brand in the future. Regardless of the type of product or service you deliver, service and relationships should be at the forefront of what you do. With new customers costing from 5 to 25 times more to acquire, customer retention and brand loyalty are key. You don't want to be known for your poor customer service, your brand should be known for your product, your brand personality and your GREAT customer service.
Customer Service in Ecommerce
Ecommerce is unique in that you have no physical shopfront and your team can't engage directly with consumers. The essential elements of direct customer service are to be positive, helpful and to go the extra mile which should be the same for ecommerce. So while your personality can't shine through as much as face-to-face, there are a number of ways to make sure you leave a lasting impression on your loyal customers and not for the wrong reasons:
1. Focus on your average response time
The whole reason why we've moved from retail shopping to online is the convenience and efficiency it offers. While we can immediately click and make a purchase within minutes or seconds, we expect the service to be the exact same and how long it takes you to respond to your consumers can affect their experience. By reducing service response times, it reduces the chances that customers will get distracted and navigate away from your page or become frustrated.
2. Use social media for customer service
There's no better way to reduce response time than to use social media in your customer service these days. Rather than going through your website channels, many people have started going direct to social media to address issues, problems or questions so having your social media manned at all hours of the day ensures no inquiry is missed.
3. Use customer self-service options such as FAQ or knowledge base
If you're inundated with questions and don't have the time to contact every person, a FAQ or knowledge base is your answer. Nothing says efficiency like having your customers find the answers for themselves.
4. Do something about your customer feedback
The easiest thing to do with customer feedback is to just brush it off and do what you've always been doing but while that's the easiest, it's also the dumbest. If you're not taking the feedback on board and making changes, you'll just be stuck in a cycle of poor service and leaving bad tastes in your customer's mouths.
5. Make sure your team knows what they're talking about
This is a given but make sure your team are armed with the knowledge and skills to solve any customer problem thrown at them. They should know the product inside and out but if they don't, they should have the customer service skills and knowledge, to be honest and offer to find the answer after the support session. If you don't know the answer, how is the customer supposed to know?
6. Ensure your customer service team are good with people
I'm not sure how to stress this enough but if your team that looks after your customer service are not good with people or don't know how to leave their egos at the door, it's destined for failure. I don't want to say the customer is always right because I hate that phrase but the customer is 98% right, there's minor exceptions. Make sure the people you are hiring don't have a short fuse or are likely to bite back at customers, this is will straight up not be a good time.
7. Think like your customer
Your customer knows exactly what it's like to be your customer so spend some time in their shoes and if it's a rubbish time, it's too hard to find information or your staff are rude, then chances are your customers will peg this as a negative experience. Your customer service can be automated, have all the bells and whistles and be the easiest system to operate for your staff but it's difficult from the customer's side of things, you're going to have problems.
8. Always improve
You should always look for ways to improve, this isn't exclusive to your customer service, this is business-wide we're talking. Always ensure your live chat is optimised, your team are knowledgeable and response time averages are trending down.
A returning customer is a happy customer. No longer is average customer service accepted, people are quick to spread the word when they've had a bad experience so it's important to ensure you deliver excellent customer service and support at every step of the way.
It's easier to deliver customer service with a smile face-to-face, but the challenge is how you deliver that same warm welcome via live chat or through your sales. There's a myriad of tools out there to help you deliver great customer service through ecommerce but it's up to you to deliver it.