One area where many online merchants fail relates to ecommerce customer support services – largely because there is a disconnect between fulfillment operations and customer service execution.
Here, we discuss what e-commerce customer support is, why it is important, how it integrates with fulfillment and ecommerce customer support channels, and best practices so that your company can deliver unmatched support.
What is Ecommerce Customer Support?
Ecommerce customer support refers to how ecommerce businesses assist their customers, from making online purchases to resolving issues post sale. The main aim of ecommerce customer support is to help online businesses improve their customer experience to keep their customers loyal, while attracting new customers.
In this fast-paced online ecosystem, ecommerce customer support is quickly becoming a necessary requirement for success for any online business. Data from Microsoft indicates that about 95% of consumers feel customer service is essential in maintaining brand loyalty.
How is E-commerce Support Different from Brick-and-Mortar Support?
Technology is the main difference between modern ecommerce customer support and traditional customer service. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar customer support, ecommerce customer support isn’t conducted via face-to-face interactions. Rather, e-commerce businesses are charged with establishing positive interactions via phone and online methods. The end goal is the same – answering questions about company products and resolving issues throughout the purchase process. But establishing rapport, building your brand, and ensuring customer loyalty is challenging to conduct without being in person and requires skill sets that are distinctly different than in brick-and-mortar environments.
Important Ecommerce Customer Support Channels
Knowing that you need impeccable customer support service is one thing; knowing which ecommerce customer support channels to use is another. These are the most common and convenient channels available for you to choose from.
Live Chat Support
Modern problems require modern solutions — live chat is the ultimate solution to offering the best ecommerce customer support services. Many ecommerce businesses utilize live chat support channels because it is an instant feedback channel.
Apart from its popularity, live chat is very attractive, convenient, and boasts a 73% customer satisfaction level, which is generally higher than any other channel. One aspect of live chat that gives it an edge over the other channels is that it offers immediate feedback to the customers as they continue shopping.
It is also easy to multi-task with live chat— and many common responses can be automated. However, your success with live chats depends on your ability to incorporate features that will benefit and improve your customers’ satisfaction levels. For instance, your live chat features should allow clients to upload images, making communication easier. Furthermore, a high degree of training is necessary in order to create communication standards and ensure that the customers’ brands are being represented in the greatest light.
Social Media Support
Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have emerged as a formidable force in ecommerce customer support. Depending on the size of your business, you can choose to create a social media page responsible for handling your support issues only. This way, you won’t have your social media marketing influencers compelled to answer questions that they might not have answers to – keeping departments separate.
Email might not be a suitable channel for back-and-forth communication, but it remains relevant in many other circumstances. For instance, customers who do not have the time for back-and-forth conversations can send an email and continue with their day-to-day tasks as they wait for feedback.
Unless you’re doing formal communication, it is important to note that most customers appreciate a casual tone even when communicating through emails.
Telephones, along with emails, are amongst the oldest yet efficient communication channels. Other than face-to-face interactions, telephone support comes with a touch of “human element.” Your customers will feel more important if they have actual humans addressing their concerns as opposed to bots. In addition, some customers just plain prefer talking to someone personally.
Using telephones also ensures that your customers who might not be tech-savvy, are not left out. It is a channel through which they can air out their grievances conveniently.
Best Practices for Ecommerce Customer Support
The e-commerce landscape is constantly changing and evolving, and therefore online merchants must adapt to meet these changes and exceed customer expectations. The following best practices can help your business over-perform when it comes to e-commerce customer support services:
Personalize Your Support Channels
Make it easy for your customers to choose their preferred method of communication if necessary. Whether on your website, your social media channels, or packing slips and marketing materials, it is imperative to outline the different options for communication. By clearly articulating the methods they can contact you, customers can choose their preferred method. Personalization is a key first step in providing exceptional service.
Remaining organized is a key to success for any thriving ecommerce customer support. While you might have a highly motivated team and a proven process, you won’t be able to last without organization.
Fortunately, being organized isn’t as scary as it may sound; it translates to keeping track of customer conversations and having the right tools to keep everyone on the same page.
Self-Service is Important
The main aim of having an ecommerce business in the first place is to allow people to make their own choices. It explains why over 60% of U.S. consumers say they prefer automated services. You can facilitate self-service by creating an easy-to-navigate website, having a mobile app, and a working self-service portal.
Most customers usually look for lines with the least resistance, and they will not hesitate to quit if they find yours too complicated.
Customer Reviews Are Vital
Before deciding to purchase something from your online store, a customer is likely to look at what previous buyers of the same product have to say. The truth is, everybody has something to say, so give your customers a platform to tell what they think about your products.
Falling on the Sword and Being Authentic
If there is an issue, customers expect you to admit your failures and take accountability for any mistakes. Projecting kindness and authenticity when a customer is upset is difficult, but more than attainable with adequate training.
Other steps that you can take to improve your customer support are meeting your customers on their terms, improving your response time, and measuring & optimizing your service.
How Ecommerce Customer Support Integrates with Fulfillment
Fulfillment refers to picking, packing, shipping, and delivery of products to your customers. With proper ecommerce customer support, the fulfillment process is more manageable, leading to higher customer satisfaction levels.
If you are looking for a fulfillment company that offers you the best of both, Our Serviceworks has got you covered. We are one of the few companies that has both fulfillment and customer care services under one roof. We specialize in providing top-notch fulfillment and customer care solutions to help you maintain a healthy relationship with your customers. Contact us to learn more about our services.