The nature of online retail means that shoppers have very limited interactions with a business, therefore great customer service can establish and maintain long-lasting relationships with them. Your online customer service will affect your brand’s marketing, improve customer retention and help create a reputable brand.
We take a look at the impact of customer service experiences on shoppers, and how to improve your retail business customer service
Why is online customer service so important?
With the overwhelming choice for online shoppers, customer service is one of the ways that you can set your retail business apart - and a negative customer service experience can be incredibly damaging.
Research shows that it usually takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for just one negative experience - and that’s if you get the chance to make up for it as 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer experience.
On the other hand offering better customer service that exceeds shoppers’ expectations will encourage them to come back, and talk about their experience to others; recommending your business.
How to improve customer service for online retail
Make it easy to get in touch
eBay and Amazon shoppers will know how to get in touch, but you need to make it just as easy on your own website. Display an email address and/or phone number so customers can get hold of you without any hassle. Live chat is also an effective way of improving customer service. 90% of customers will go to a company’s website before calling or emailing with an issue, so it’s important that all your customer service contact details are readily available. Find out more about using live chat for your ecommerce business here.
Respond to customer messages quickly
Quick replies demonstrate that you value your customers, and prevents them from being put off a purchase. It’s especially important for eBay and Amazon messages to be answered quickly as they enforce certain time frames for responding and failure to meet them can affect your seller status.
If you’re selling across multiple sales channels, then it’s worth investing in customer service software to help you keep on top of messages. Delayed responses will give shoppers a bad customer service experience and ultimately cost you sales.
Train your staff to handle customer service effectively
All members of staff that have contact with customers need to understand all aspects of the business. They should have in depth knowledge of your stock, your delivery, return and refund policies, and they need to be able to find a customer’s order details quickly.
Order context is incredibly important for retail businesses so investing in order management and shipping software, like Zenstores, will keep a customers order history in one dashboard so you can resolve customer enquiries without having to track down order details across multiple sites.
Get processes in place for repetitive questions
“Where’s my order?” and “Can you resend tracking details?” are amongst a number of incredibly common questions for retail customer support teams. So, it is important that you have an easy to follow process in place to deal with these messages succinctly so time can be spent better elsewhere.
At every opportunity your customer service needs to go above and beyond; you want to impress customers and exceed their expectations. Do this by responding promptly, with helpful answers and resolutions, and when necessary offer a hassle-free refund, replacement or discount.
Shoppers that have a great customer service experience are likely to talk about it and recommend your business to others. On the other hand, 68% of shoppers react to bad customer service by talking about it on social media.
Ask customers for feedback
After making a purchase, ask your customers to give you feedback not just on the product but on the customer service that they received. This gives you an important insight into how to improve, and issues that you might not be aware of - 91% of unhappy customers won’t reach out and say anything, they just take their business elsewhere.
It’s important to constantly review your customer service process even when customers aren’t complaining; there’s always room for improvement.
Monitor social media
Even if you don’t treat your social media accounts as a customer service channel, you’re still likely to get some questions and complaints via Facebook or Twitter. Keep an eye on social media; don’t leave any posts or mentions unanswered - it’s a public insight into how you treat your customers and can damage your reputation if they’re ignored.