Today’s connected online customers have high expectations and little patience, which is why exceptional customer service is quickly becoming the new battleground in ecommerce. Consider these statistics:
- 89% of shoppers have stopped buying from online stores after they’ve experienced poor customer service. Customer Experience Report
- By the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Customers 2020 Report
- A customer is four times more likely to go to your competitor if your problem is service related compared to price or product related. Bain and Company
- 83% of consumers require some degree of customer support while making an online purchase. eConsultancy
Think of the customer experience as a journey. It begins as early as an online search and continues after a shopper has made a purchase. Every touch point is a reflection of your brand and a factor in the customer experience. Follow these easy to implement customer service strategies that will help you stand out from the competition and keep your customers coming back.
DIY Customer Service
Is self-service really customer support? We think it is! Research shows 72 percent of us prefer self-service options for customer service over a phone call or email. The best part is, once it’s in place, it will dramatically reduce the time you and your team spend supporting customers. And time is money, right? Self-service options also give shoppers a 24/7 resource for help. There are several creative and simple ways to offer DIY customer service.
If you’ve ever handled customer calls, you spend most of your time answering the same questions over and over. Develop an FAQ page on your website to answer those questions in one spot. In addition to commonly asked questions, you can address issues in the areas of returns and exchanges, shipping and delivery, and product sizing. If you have more than eight or ten questions, it’s a good idea to list them without showing the answers directly below to make it easier for shoppers to find what they’re looking for. You can use hyperlinks or dropdown arrow options to display the answers. For longer FAQ pages, organize by category to simplify navigation even further. The FAQ page is part of your conversion funnel so make it easy for visitors to take action directly from the FAQ page. You can also link answers back to your Home Page or Shopping Cart.
A knowledge base or help center is very similar to an FAQ page but is more useful for shoppers after a purchase is made. This can be an area where you troubleshoot specific product, assembly or technical questions. It’s best to set up your knowledge base with categories and enable a search bar to help shoppers quickly find the information they’re looking for.
If you sell products that require assembly or are technical in nature, video tutorials can solve a problem faster than text instructions. This customer support video from Hewlett Packard solves a simple, but very common problem and reduces the calls coming into the HP help center. If you don’t have the budget to hire a professional, recording a video from your phone or iPad will often do the trick. Just make sure you have enough lighting and good audio. If your online store doesn’t have a YouTube channel, customer service videos are a perfect opportunity to create one. A YouTube presence can do wonders for your overall online visibility.
Email remains one of the most popular customer service channels. While you want them to be personal, you can reduce the time you spend on responding to every inquiry by using the FAQ approach. Compile a list of email questions and requests that you most often receive and then craft a written response to each commonly asked question. This is your template you can store and then send when similar questions come in.
Here’s a quick guide on crafting canned responses in a Gmail account. Most email marketing providers including MailChimp and Constant Contact offer this option as well. Transactional and automated emails are a great way to service your customer throughout their buying journey. Being proactive about email support will keep customers satisfied because they know if a problem arises, they have steps towards the solution in their inbox already.
Wise Owl Outfitters sends an automated email customized to each product after an order is placed. In addition to thanking customers for their order, they offer the ability to reply back to the email with any questions or concerns. The message also includes helpful tips on the product that was purchased, in this case, a hammock, and an attached guide with instructions on set up. That covers a lot of customer service bases with just one click!
Social Customer Service
Social channels are growing as the new front line for customer service. Questions that shoppers sent to retailers via social media jumped 17% from 2014 to 2015 and continues to grow. Customers like social customer service because it can be faster and meets them where they are already spending time. Online retailers are using it more because it elevates brand visibility and increases customer loyalty. If you’re going to use social media for customer service make sure to choose the platforms that match what your customers use. Monitor social mentions and try to respond as quickly as possible. You can also bring in your FAQ page or Knowledge Base here and include links in your responses.
Know Your Customers!
Tracking the history of transactions and encounters with each shopper benefits you and your customers. If you are replying to a customer’s email or answering a question on the phone, you’ll be armed with personal knowledge that will make them feel special, more effectively handle their inquiry and cut down on the time it takes to resolve potential issues.
For example, if you’re able to view the historical data of a customer, you’ll know how long and how often they shop with you, what types of products they typically buy and if there is a history of issues or concerns. This will help you personalize each customer support encounter. For example, adding a coupon or discount for loyal shoppers with higher average order values.
Glew’s newly released Customer Details Page can help you here. You’ll be able to study an entire timeline of a customer’s transaction history and email communications and make a huge impression with your customized response. A well defined customer service strategy should not be an afterthought if you want to attract loyal shoppers and beat out the competition. Use one or more of these tactics to provide your customers with the best experience possible.