Imagine this; you are going out on a Saturday night. And you decided to dine out with your partner at a fancy restaurant that serves delicious cuisine. The server knocks over your glass and spills water on your dessert and cloth in the midst of a great conversation.
When you exit the restaurant, what will you vividly remember? Sadly, the bad experience.
In other words, the substandard customer service. As an eCommerce business owner, it would be a blunder to forget "The Customer Always Remembers."
Likewise, customers who visit your site contact customer support but do not receive a prompt or courteous reply will recollect it as a negative experience. Even more so, they may steer clear of your store in the future.
This is proof that "experience loyalty" triumphs "brand loyalty" for today's customers. As reported by Glance, 78% of customers cancel a transaction if faced with a negative customer experience.
It's high time to realize that a delightful customer experience is no longer a reward - it's a requirement.
And the cornerstone of customer experience is customer service. If your customer service can strike a chord with the shoppers, they will be willing to return for more.
Before we dive into the specifics of customer service, let's first take a look at the leading eCommerce Customer Experience trends.
Leading trends of Customer Experience
Customer experience boils down to every interaction a customer has with your company throughout their buying journey.
We hear you thinking — how exactly does a customer interact with your business? Simple. Through your products and the people involved with assisting them in buying.
Are the customers amazed by your product? Are they satisfied with your customer support? If the answer to both questions is a big yes, you are most certainly going in the right direction. If not, don't worry just yet.
Instead, take note of the three Customer Experience trends that are shaping the eCommerce landscape and adapt your strategies accordingly.
Product and shopping experience: The Two Sides of the Same Coin
Online shoppers now place a premium tag on a brand's total buying experience rather than on a product's basic utility. Hence, it is high time that you shift your focus away from the product itself and onto the services that come along.
Take, for example, Zara. The Spanish apparel retailer launched a feature called "What's my size?" by integrating a fit finder tool, providing online buyers with the best size suggestions. To receive sizing recommendations, customers only need to provide their height, weight, and fit preferences.
Your greatest adversary is not a competitor but rather the back button. If your website takes too long to load, customers seek refuge elsewhere. Walmart has found conversions can be increased by 2% for every 1-second improvement in page load time.
Following that, as you're probably aware, a mobile-friendly website is a must-have. According to a McKinsey report, 61% of users are unlikely to return to a difficult-to-navigate mobile site. And you certainly don't want your customers to turn their back on you.
Hence, cluttering the customer's screen with excessive images or videos may hinder their overall experience.
Quick response: The key to unlocking customer satisfaction
Consumers today have an attention span shorter than that of a goldfish. They want everything served to them as soon as they wished and their queries answered at the swipe of their phone.
If you can ensure that, consumers will reward your business in the long haul. They will purchase more items and be willing to pay a premium for them. After all, one good turn deserves another.
Personalized customer service: The ultimate feat
Offering quick customer service is only half the battle. 59% of customers favor personalized service over the one that is fast.
Simply put, customers want to be treated as unique individuals rather than as tickets. They don't want a bunch of templated emails flooding their inbox. Rather, they want you to know them like the back of your hand.
And failing to do so will put you at risk of upsetting 71% of your customers. To better grasp the stats' gravity, consider this scenario. Despite being a regular customer at a store, the shopkeeper fails to remember you and treat you accordingly. Utterly disappointing, isn't it?
So, as a business owner, you definitely don't want your customers to suffer the same way. And this is where customer service tools like MyAlice can lend you a hand. By integrating your communication channels with such software, you can keep track of each client interaction and provide customized recommendations. MyAlice is completely free to sign up and we recommend you connect your Shopify or WooCommerce store to see how MyAlice features can enhance your customer journey.
While it may sound a little theatrical, your customers expect to be asked "The usual?" just like they are probably asked at their favorite coffee shop. So, never downplay the importance of a personalized experience. 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that provide tailored offers.
Ecommerce customer service: A synthesis of people and technology
When it comes to eCommerce customer service, we tend to discuss technology in greater detail.
- Live chat software to interact with customers in real-time
- AI-driven chatbots to aid self-service customer support
- Interactive voice response (IVR) to offer over-the-phone customer support
Leveraging these tools can free up customer service representatives' time, and they can focus on actual customer-facing tasks rather than mundane tasks that can be easily automated.
For example, using an eCommerce helpdesk solution that gives you access to a shared inbox enables your support agents to respond quicker.
But make no mistake: software is not the sole weapon of customer service.
Even today, a courteous customer support agent is the key to exceptional customer service. As reported by Harris Interactive, 73% of customers are more inclined to remain loyal to a brand following a pleasant interaction with the front desk.
At the end of the day, the finest service is about creating customer relationships. And this isn't possible without a dedicated customer service team of the highest caliber. Your best-laid plans for customer experience will fall flat without invested, dedicated employees.
Hence, equip your staff with the essential tools and the necessary skills for garnering consumers' trust. No CRM software can make up for a lack of interpersonal skills.
Ecommerce Customer Service and Brand Sustainability: Connecting the Dots
Investing in customer service means investing in your customer's happiness.
Consider the case of two pizzerias in the same neighborhood. It's hard to tell the difference in their food quality and the prices they charge. Yet, one provides subpar customer service, while the other goes out of its way to please its patrons.
Which one do you think gets repeat business? The one where customers exit with contentment.
Positive customer experiences boost brand recognition. The coolest companies on the block reap all the glory and fortune. When happy customers gush about your brand, it creates a strong position in the market.
56%of customers would recommend a company with excellent service to family and friends. A dissatisfied customer will share their poor experience with 9-15 people. In this age of the Internet, negative word of mouth can spread like wildfire.
Retention is proportional to customer satisfaction. Similar to the pizzeria customers, your consumers will only return if they are satisfied with your service. Conversely, 96% of customers will abandon you for poor customer service.
Your unique product or service may reel in customers, but customer service keeps them.
If you aren't well aware of the payoff that comes from customer retention, here's a report by Bain & Company that says – "5% increase in customer retention can boost a company's profitability by 75%".
CLTV improves with better customer service. When happy customers return to your business, they bring with them a higher customer lifetime value (CLTV).
A study by Info Quest reveals that a "totally satisfied customer" contributes 2.6 times more revenue than a "somewhat satisfied customer." Additionally, a "completely satisfied customer" generates 14 times the revenue of a "slightly unsatisfied customer."
5 Tips to Optimize Your Ecommerce Customer Service
1. Prioritize Employee Experience (EX)
If you're just getting started with customer experience, it's time to familiarize yourself with another "experience" — employee experience.
In an IDC survey, 85% of respondents agreed that improving employee engagement results in a better customer experience, more customer satisfaction, and increased revenue for a firm 62% indicated a "substantial" and "quantifiable" causal relationship between EX and CX.
How can you ensure a positive experience for your customer service staff?
First and foremost, take note of the factors that can affect employee experience, such as:
- Employer transparency, trust, and communication
- A collaborative work environment that incorporates digital experiences into the flow of work
- Opportunities for career advancement and skill enhancement
- Acknowledgment and rewards from management
Following that, you should assess employee engagement and experience on a regular basis, in addition to evaluating your CX activities. For example- if you are conducting an NPS survey for measuring customer satisfaction, consider performing one for your staff as well.
2. Offer Self-Service Support:
Customer service has now shifted from "How may I assist you?" to "How may I assist myself?" Yet, self-service remains one of the least-explored options when it comes to enhancing customer experience.
As reported by Harvard Business Review, 81 % of customers seek to resolve issues on their own before contacting a live agent. Gone are the days when a phone call was the only option to reach a support team.
A study by Forrester Research and Oracle revealed that web self-service could save up to $11 each call!
Now that you know the benefits of self-service, here are a few options that you can implement:
Knowledge base (KB):
A support rep should not become a glorified robot, just copying and pasting responses to your customers' common queries, right? They should rather invest their time in solving complex problems.
In this regard, knowledge bases can really come in handy - they can resolve customers' minor issues with dedicated FAQs. While creating your FAQ section, keep an eye out for customer surveys and comments on social media posts to ensure that you're on top of what your customers want to know.
Now here's a scenario — Let's say a customer is unable to find a detailed sizing guide on your website and find it difficult to navigate. Do you think they will continue their shopping journey?
In another scenario, the buyer comes across a sizing calculator that enables them to determine their ideal size. They also have access to a library of customer reviews to learn more about the fit of the garment and FAQs on how to keep a garment's form.
Which of these scenarios will result in happy customers? The latter, right?
The bottom line is the more information your customers have at their fingertips, the greater the opportunity for brand engagement.
If there is a smarter rendition of a knowledge base, it is none other than an AI-powered chatbot. It is an excellent solution to the problem of not putting your live chat to work 24/7.
Thanks to AI, bots know when to search for an answer from a knowledge base, when to ask for clarity, and when to direct shoppers to a human agent. Hence, over 50% of customers prefer to communicate with chatbots before reaching customer representatives.
So, how exactly do you make a chatbot work for customer self-service?
- Sketch out your customer journey and identify all the potential pain points where your customers may have a query
- Create a repository of the FAQs with their ideal responses
- Enrich your knowledge base with up-to-date information
3. Offer Multi-channel support
Customers don't just want their problems resolved; they want them resolved quickly and with the ability to communicate with you in the manner that is most convenient for them. In other words, they expect multi-channel support from you.
To elaborate, the benefits of multi-channel support go beyond customer satisfaction. Having everything centralized on a single platform simplifies work for your customer care team and enables them to respond quickly.
And for eCommerce businesses, time is of the essence. While contacting a brand, 42% of social media users expect a response within 60 minutes, while 32% anticipate a response within 30 minutes.
With so many channels available, such as social media, live chat, email, and self-service tools, the challenge is to identify and use the channels that sync with your brand identity. After that, connect them to a common interface and regularly monitor channel performance.
4. Provide Personalized Experience
When it comes to making a customer feel valued, personalized customer service goes a long way.
Pleasing a customer takes more than putting a smile on his or her face; the outcome, however, leads to a bigger return for you. Research by HubSpot found that 93% of customers are more likely to become repeat customers at a business that provides optimal customer service.
But how can you make each customer service encounter a customized one?
Personalized customer service boils down to remembering your customers and treating them as unique individuals. It can be as simple as greeting a person by their name or immediately retrieving their order via email or phone.
But retrieving customer orders isn't as simple as it sounds.
By connecting your customer-facing channels to a conversational commerce platform, your agents will have access to all of your customers' valuable data: order history, preferences, interactions with customer service as well as survey responses.
This will help customer representatives to interact with customers on a more personal level and resolve issues.
5. Act on Customer Feedback
If you want to stay on top of things, place your customers at the core of your business and value their inputs. Never, ever disregard their voice.
But, here is the rub: the majority of customers do not communicate their concerns. Only 1 in every 26 customers is likely to voice their grievances. The remaining 25 clients will simply go away without saying a thing.
If you want to hear what your consumers have to say, you need to be able to grab their attention quickly. Hence, asking for feedback is most effective after a customer service interaction.
As you're already conversing with the customer, it's easy to ask their thoughts and suggestions. If they say, "Didn't find it useful," make a point of rectifying the situation.
Do not, however, subject your customers to long surveys. Keep it brief and to the point. To gauge overall customer satisfaction, use CSAT, CES, NPS, and the like.
Gaining insights into your customers will thus help you create better products and provide better customer service.
It All Adds Up
As customer expectations become sky-high, customer service becomes critical for survival in a competitive eCommerce environment.
As the front line of defense for your business, the customer service team is critical in developing customer relationships and trust. That is why providing exceptional customer service may make all the difference in the success of your organization.
Reimagining the online purchasing journey and implementing some of these extremely efficient customer services best practices will pay off in the long haul. It will assist you in retaining consumers and increasing new client acquisition, which is critical for any company.