Have you ever had a bad customer service experience? Chances are you have, and it likely made a very memorable impression on you. This is true for all of us. Great customer service can easily boost your store to new levels of success. However, bad customer service can drive your customers away in an instant. In fact, research shows that 62 percent of consumers have stopped shopping at a particular store due to a bad customer service experience.
Without a well-designed, convenient customer service system in place, you may be losing out on tons of customers. It is no longer sufficient to list a phone number people can call should they have a problem. While it may take more work to develop a solid system, it is well worth it to know your customers are taken care of. Thankfully, there are tons of tools available that you can use in your ecommerce store that will make your customer service run smoothly.
Here are our best tips for how you should be running your customer service at your ecommerce store.
Deliver multi-channel support
This is a broad point we are making before getting into the specifics. Each customer of yours likely has a preferred method of contact with brands they shop at. Therefore, you should provide several options in order to meet your customers’ needs. You likely can’t cover everything, especially if you have a small team. However, you can create a system that will work for you and your customers.
Here are 4 main channels you should try to focus your attention on, as well as why they are important:
Provide an email address for questions that aren’t immediate
Email still remains one of the most used, as well as easiest, methods of contact. With over 90 percent of customers using email each day, this is clearly an option you should provide. Additionally, this is a great mode of contact for people who don’t need an answer right away. While you should still respond in a timely matter, this is a way for customers to contact you that doesn’t involve you being there at the exact moment. This is also useful for customers if they do not have the time right then to talk with someone.
Email is a simple and comfortable way for your customers to reach you. You can also make your life easier by creating a unique email address that is specifically for customer questions. While some customer service options may seem unnecessary, email is not one of them.
Install live chat to connect with customers instantly
Live chat is a great way to instantly connect with your customers, and more importantly, it’s a service people love. Research shows that 90 percent of customers find live chat helpful, and over 60 percent said they were more likely to return to a website that offered live chat. Not only is live chat helpful, it is also convenient for someone who wants a question answered right away. Is possible, have someone available during normal business hours in charge of the live chat. If the service is always listed as unavailable, it loses its effectiveness.
If you want to incorporate live chat into your customer service, here is a list of the best platforms available.
Monitor your social media
Social media is another avenue you should consider when developing your customer service plan. The thinking behind social media is similar to using email, as millions of customers use social media every day. Additionally, you should already have social media channels set up anyways for your business. Therefore, it shouldn’t be that much trouble to incorporate a customer service presence. You may either answer customer service questions directly on your channel, or you may decide to create a separate customer service page, something that 30 percent of brands have done.
Something to keep in mind when answering customer service questions via social media is your response time. In fact, 32 percent of customers who interact with brands on Twitter expect a response within half an hour, and 42 percent expect a response within the hour. The takeaway here is people who turn to social media expect a quick response, and you want to provide that. Because social media interactions are public for everyone to see, you don’t want your slow customer service to become a popular point of conversation for frustrated customers. This negative publicity impacts your business, although the flip side is that great customer service results in positive publicity.
While you should heavily consider offering social media as a platform for support, should you or any team member not have the time to monitor social media frequently, it is best to not list it as an option.
Keep a phone number listed
Telephone support is still an incredibly popular form of customer service, even for ecommerce brands. While there are plenty of people who will do anything to avoid picking up the phone and calling a company, there are also plenty of people who want this as an option. Whether it be an older person who isn’t familiar with newer forms of support such as live chat or social media, or simply someone who is looking for a quick answer, you should still definitely list a phone number on your website as a way you can be contacted. Having a phone number is also a popular ‘truth signal’ that alerts people that your company is legit.
Respond as quickly as possible
With all of these methods it is crucial that you respond to all messages as quickly as possible. If a person has to wait too long for a response, there is a good chance they will get impatient and take their business elsewhere. Taking too long to respond makes your company look unprofessional, and gives the impression that you don’t care about your customers. For emails, consider sending out an automated message that alerts customers that their request was received and that you will respond within 1 business day. For phone calls, allow people to leave a message, and be sure to return all calls as soon as possible. We have already discussed the need for speed on social media, so be sure to have someone monitoring all of your channels during regular business hours.
Customer service can make or break a company. Don’t lose customers based on something you can easily control. If needed, hire someone (such as a freelancer) who can be available business hours to handle your customer service matters.