To be or not to be. That is the question; said Hamlet in Shakespeare’s famous play of the same name. In the eCommerce world, however, once you have overcome the existential crisis of being or not being, the next challenge is to be the company your customers need. In this article, we have compiled some of the key characteristics you need to be in order to grow as an eCommerce business and be there for your customers.
Customer service is the foundation of your ecommerce business
Customers’ expectations for online shopping have increased in the past few years, and customer service is essential if we want our eCommerce to thrive. Customers now expect an eCommerce store to provide the same customer service they are used to when shopping in-person, and fulfilling these expectations can be challenging.
Organisation is key at all levels, but when it comes to customer service it is essential. Investing in good communication tools for your team so that they can keep track of orders and conversations will help your customers trust you and feel that their purchase is in safe hands.
There is nothing worse than ordering something online and then being unable to contact the company. Your contact details must be very visible, and nowadays it is recommended that your customer service team can be contacted through a variety of different channels. Some people like to be able to talk to a real person, while others are happy to be in touch via social media.
It is important to get to know your customers well and offer the channels they prefer for staying in touch. Also, the internet is open 24 hours a day, so you may need to provide 24-hour customer service or, alternatively, establish a clear timeframe for replying to customers.
Last but not least, if you establish a meaningful relationship with your customers the first time they shop with us, they will be much more likely to recommend us and come back to us in the future.
Be easy to use
Recent surveys have shown that investing in reducing the effort a customer has to make in order to shop on your website is directly related to customer satisfaction. Ensuring that the search tool functions properly, offering a live chat tool, offering ways for customers to find their own answers to any questions they may have, all improve the customer’s shopping experience.
Your customer service team must know the products you offer inside out. Customers expect brands to know their products and to help them make the right purchases. Reaching out to a company and finding a knowledgeable person at the other end who understands your needs and points you in the right direction will set you apart from other online businesses.
Listening to customers’ opinions is incredibly important, both to provide a satisfactory response to the customer and to learn and grow as a business. Negative reviews are an important information source that can help us improve. Proactively inviting customer feedback is valued by customers, especially when they act on the feedback received.
Additionally, good follow up communication, either with customers who have recently made a purchase or with customers that have had an issue, shows you care about keeping them as a customer and humanises the relationship.
It may be difficult to compete with bigger online stores in terms of delivery times, but it is possible to offer excellent, quick responses to queries from customers. Good communication throughout the purchasing process will encourage customers to shop small, and especially if they also feel like they are receiving a similar service.
Measuring results and improving systems is essential, and to do this you have to track your performance. By knowing how you are doing, you will be able to make adjustments and changes for future transactions, which is the first step toward successful customer service.
Don’t presume that your customers know everything about you when they make a purchase. Ensure that you provide detailed information about shipping and return policies, guarantees, and any other information that could affect a customer’s shopping experience. This way you will be more likely to avoid conflicts and meet customers’ expectations.
If you are a small brand, your “personality” is what will make you stand out from all the rest, and this is transmitted through your customer service. Don’t assume that a customer will come back just because they have had a satisfactory experience. When a customer buys in-person, they are limited to the shops that are available nearby. On the internet, however, the offer is limitless.
Being authentic as a brand, in terms of your values and how you run your business, and ensuring this authenticity is palpable throughout the staff team, is another important element for building meaningful relationships with your customers. As well as offering excellent service and support, how comfortable customers feel about buying from you will also have an impact on whether they purchase from you again or not.
By taking into account the tips in this article and working hard at your customer service, you can go from satisfying customers to delighting them, which will mean they will be more likely to recommend you and come back to you in the future.