Common ecommerce customer service mistakes

How to handle common customer service

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The importance of excellent customer service can’t be emphasised enough: 86% of customers are willing to pay for a better customer experience. So, we’ve put together some of the biggest customer service mistakes an ecommerce business can make, as well as how to resolve them and ensure you’re offering the best possible experience for shoppers.

Customers can’t get hold of you

The biggest, most basic mistake that any ecommerce business can make with customer service is being uncontactable. Customers should always be able to get in touch with any issues, concerns or feedback.

The best way of ensuring you’re easy to reach is by offering multiple contact methods - clearly state an email address, phone number, and offer live chat. It’s also reassuring to customers if you let them know when they can expect a response, so tell them your working hours and, even better, your average response time. These simple measures stop customers from getting frustrated and sending you multiple messages when they don’t get a reply.

You take too long to respond

While it’s a good idea to offer multiple contact methods, if you take days or weeks to get back to someone then it’s even worse than if they couldn’t contact you at all.

Checking your customer service inquiries should be part of your day to day routine. Once you’ve read them you need to organise, prioritise and resolve. If it’s not possible to deal with each issue as it arises, then let the customer know that you’re looking into their issue and will get back to them as soon as possible. Maintaining contact with the customer is key to making them feel that their issue is being taken seriously and not being ignored.

It’s too hard to return an item

As much as you might want to avoid returns, hiding your returns policy away, or offering a really limited window for returns, it not a good idea. A generous, easy to find and simple to understand, return and refund policy is crucial to encouraging shoppers to purchase from you.

And, if they don’t check out your returns policy before they place their order and then discover your returns policy is confusing, short or just impossible to find, they’re going to be dissatisfied with the shopping experience. On average, happy customers will go on to tell nine people about their experience with a company, so your returns process and any related interactions with the shopper should be seen as an opportunity to impress them and make them more likely to recommend your shop.

Proving the customer wrong

Customer service is all about working to keep the customer happy - even if they’ve made a mistake, or the problem was outside of your control.

Whether they’ve ordered the wrong size, or they’re a day outside your returns policy - having a bit of flexibility and working with the customer will always give them a better shopping experience. Alternatively, if a parcel is damaged or goes missing, and the cause of the problem is the courier, the customer doesn’t really care who’s at fault, they just want their items. Be ready to refund, replace and liaise with the courier to get the issue rectified.

Most importantly - say you’re sorry. While 37% of customers are satisfied when something goes wrong and they’re offered something of monetary value, 74% are satisfied when a business also apologises.  

Ignoring social media

There’s no getting away from social media, it’s great for marketing and connecting with your customers - but, it’s also a good platform for unhappy customers to share their issues.

More and more, customers are choosing Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to contact businesses. 32% of social media users expect a business to respond within 30 minutes, 42% expect a response within 60 minutes. So it’s essential to keep an eye on your social media channels to answer any questions or problems.

And, if you do receive any complaints or negative feedback on your social media, do not ignore it. Failure to respond to your customers’ complaints and questions on social media can lead to a 15% increase in churn

 The best thing is to reply: apologise and say that you will message them privately to resolve the issue. The worst thing you can do is to argue or dispute what your customer has said, publicly.

Overall, your focus with customer service should be to keep on top of it, respond as quickly as possible and be friendly and flexible throughout all your customer interactions.  


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About the author

Verity is a journalist and content producer at Zenstores.

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