One of the most important ways that businesses differentiate themselves from their competitors online is through the quality of their service. It’s an especially important part of success in e-commerce, since people are often using e-commerce because they want a convenient, fast and easy experience – so they want help to be immediate and effective when they need it.
From live chat to help desks to strategies for scaling, here are ways to help your company deliver sensational e-commerce customer service. Even better, the more you can integrate these channels into one system, the easier your job will be.
1) Give fast and accurate answers
Obviously, the purpose of customer service is functional: people want answers and to move on with their days. One simple and straightforward way to solve problems faster is simply to be available at all times, 24/7. That way no one is ever having to check your hours and jot down a note to get in touch the next day; they can simply take action.
Typical ways that companies provide help 24/7 are through live chat and through content, such as a blog or a knowledge base.
2) Offer live chat
We live in a Whats App world, so if you run an eCommerce store and you’re not using live chat, prepare to be pleasantly surprised. In fact, if you’ve got traffic then this is possibly the only ROI that can be measured in minutes. There are too many benefits to offering live chat support on your site to list here, but think in terms of being able to handle anything from sales inquiries to proactive up-selling to questions about invoices and shipping—not to mention post-sales support. Live chat helps you and your team to be more productive, and also more consistent in your responses, as you can build in some pre-written responses.
And if you’re already using live chat, don’t pat yourself on the back quite yet. When it comes to providing excellent customer service, consider that rapid-fire chats can also lead to a rich stream of opportunity. Make time to go back through your chat transcripts to see if there are places to address customer feedback or to follow-up about issues raised outside the primary reason the customer may have initiated the chat.
3) Offer 24-hour phone support
When was the last time you left a voicemail for an eCommerce store? If the answer is between “never” and “rarely”, then you’re not alone. That said, times might be changing. A number of integrated customer service solutions offer voice products that will take voicemails when you can’t be online. Alternately, you can use a 24-hour live answering service so that your customers are always talking to a live human, leaving you free to call back during office hours.
4) Become an expert at apologizing
When something goes wrong in a customer’s use of your service, accept blame as possible. That’s helpful, according to help desk software LiveHelpNow, because admitting to fault on your end can defuse potential conflict. Keep in mind that the customer may still walk away upset if you give them a refund. For cases in which your company was clearly in the wrong, apologize profusely and mention the steps that actually should have been taken by the company.
5) Understand that each situation is unique
You of course want to have standardized, cookie-cutter ways to solve the most common problems that arise. However, there will be times that the policies related to a particular product or service don’t apply. Watch our for these exceptions to your rules. You will earn trust and loyalty from customers by recognizing that their case is special and suggesting a customized solution.
6) Be respectful and friendly
Customer service should be infused with positivity. Greet them, use their names, and always express appreciation for their business. Be grateful, and consider building in a customer loyalty program and even setting aside an annual customer appreciation day.
7) Post your FAQs
The knowledge base’s close cousin, your most frequently asked questions—when prominently placed on your product pages—have several distinct advantages. Mainly, they’ll save you a lot of time answering the easy questions. And customers will appreciate being able to quickly find the answers. As with KBs, FAQ pages also help improve SEO by lengthening product pages naturally with additional keyword-rich content.