September 4, 2018
The age of online shopping has provided consumers with several incredible benefits such as convenient browsing, quick shipping, and unprecedented customization. That being said, an unfortunate downside of shopping online is that the customers aren’t in the physical presence of the products and the employees. This means that eCommerce stores need to go to extra lengths to ensure that the consumer has a great experience in their virtual store.
Forbes reports that bad customer service costs businesses up to $62B each year. 49% of the respondents switched to a new vendor because of bad customer service and 67% switched more than once. Age makes big difference with 25-34 more likely to switch than 55+.
Great customer service is where small businesses can really shine and show customers they care. Here are the top four tactics:
1. Consolidate Common Questions
The ultimate customer service is one that eliminates a customer’s questions before they even ask them. This is why it’s so important to create a solid FAQ page on your store’s website. Frequently Asked Questions are what you anticipate the unknowing customer will want to find out about your company or line of products. They should be presented in an easily accessible Q-and-A format so that the customer can briefly glance over them or find a specific inquiry of theirs.
In addition to a general FAQ pertaining to your overall store or business, you should also consider including them in your product descriptions. Ask your customer service team to compile common questions and search your reviews. Especially if you have an innovative product for sale that some customers might not know how to use, a brief product FAQ, or even better, a video, will likely boost sales.
2. Be Ready to Respond
Whether through your site or social pages, one of the first things that a visitor to your page sees is how quickly you respond to messages. If a potential customer sees that you respond frequently to questions, they will be much more likely to show interest in your business. This is true even if the customer doesn’t even have a question to ask yet. The truth is, people just don’t like being ignored. If your reputation shows that you might not respond promptly in the case of a botched shipment or other mishaps, consumer trust in your business will plunge.
It may be a bit of an investment at first but paying a full-time employee to monitor customer inquiries is essential to the success of any growing business. Like it or not, there is a good chance that something might go wrong in the process of ordering, shipping, or payment. In these cases, it’s best to respond as quickly as possible to retain the most customers.
3. Be Ready to Respond All the Time
Customers expect customer service twenty-four hours a day and we are lucky to be in an era when these tools are available and affordable. Always-on customer service doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a twenty-four-hour call center. It could simply mean prompt responses to customer support queries or a call-back scheduling system, but you should also consider building out AI to deal with issues that regularly arise. The simplest of these is creating a knowledge base where employees and users can interact in a forum-like setting, and customers can search to see if the issue already exists.
Tools like x.ai and service “bots” can help you answer simple questions and save more complex issues for your customer service agents. Again, chat tools are a great way to keep your customer service open 24/7 so you can help customers when they need it.
4. Make Customer Service Your Own
When your customer service agents really know and appreciate your products, your customers will feel like your agents really care about them and what they want. Try to hire agents who use or are familiar with your products and encourage agents to use or test your products. If that’s not possible, provide them with as much product knowledge as you can and think about incentivizing them to become product experts.
For example, a leading brewing supply company made sure that every Customer Service agent had brewing skills and passion. This allowed for a better interaction with customers where they felt like agents really knew what they were talking about and understood their small business issues. Training will help your customer service agents know how to respond to questions but there is nothing like having a user help a user solve a problem.
About Brent Peterson and Wagento
Brent Peterson is a Magento Master and customer experience extremist who has given talks and conference around the world on the importance of compressed communications in customer experience. At Wagento, we believe that customer service is the greatest tool for the continued success of any eCommerce business. We do our best to integrate effective customer service tools such as live chats and FAQs into every site that we develop. Let us work with you so we can discuss how to implement great service features into your own online store. You can find Brent on Twitter @brentwpeterson and @wagento, or maybe running your local marathon?