Statistics on e-commerce business for 2017 and beyond remain strong. Just look at these figures:
These numbers are telling you that ecommerce is shaping up to be one of the most competitive industries around. This is quite favorable, if not surprising, given the landscape of retail business. In digital commerce, customers are like taking a leap of faith, doing business with people whom they only see online. There’s indeed some bit of a risk buying a product or service that’s not in front of you physically.
And here’s where good customer service can make all the difference. It’s not much of a secret that the most successful businesses thrive because of their brand of customer service. Loyal customers are born out of a company’s deliberate and consistent efforts to meet their customers’ needs and expectations.
So if you’re a retailer, you might want to spend some time going over this ultimate checklist for your e-commerce customers. You can use the checklist to plan your customer service strategies for 2017.
Customer Service for Your E-commerce Business
Despite the challenges involved in e-commerce, you can turn things around by gaining your customers’ trust and support. A great e-commerce customer service should employ a multi-faceted approach, helping you deliver professional and high-quality services before, during, and after a purchase is made.
The guide below identifies the key areas and elements crucial to your goal:
1. Build Your Best Website
Your website, apart from being easy to navigate, needs to be designed in such a way that makes customer engagement happen and builds your brand among your target market. Ask these things about your website:
The FAQ Page
- Does your website have a FAQ page that gives customers ready access to important information about your business when they need it?
- Are you grouping questions according to categories to help customers skim through the contents quickly?
- Do your product pages include the complete lineup of merchandise that customers can choose from?
- Are there links in your product pages that will take customers to relevant pages such as stock availability, return and exchange policies, and any useful information to help the target buyer make the purchase?
- Do you have a quality search function in your site to narrow down the topics relevant to what your customers are looking for?
- Are you phrasing your keywords well enough to turn up search results for your customers?
- Are you using videos to demo how your products or services work?
- Do you have video testimonials from happy customers sharing how your business has helped them?
- Do you try to solicit feedback about their experience in your website or about your business in general?
- Are you using feedback links in your order confirmation e-mails to establish further contact or communication with buying customers?
- Do you have a contact form placed in multiple places across your site to make it easy for customers to contact you?
- Does your contact form indicate common means of communication, such as e-mail address, phone number, chat, social media accounts, support tickets, or even a click-to-call feature?
2. Integrate Omnichannel Customer Support
If possible, your customer support channels should be seamlessly integrated, like support tickets automatically going into your social media accounts. At best, your customer care channels have to be responsive to customers’ request for information or assistance wherever or whenever they need it.
- Have you set up an info@ or customerservice@ email address where customers can reach out to you?
- Do you have a dedicated social media account that keeps track of mentions, comments, or hashtags from your customers?
- Is your business offering live chat support that shows where your customer is and if possible what your customer is looking at on your website?
- Is your help desk able to answer a customer’s question by utilizing your site’s knowledge or database and a virtual customer service agent, or perhaps having another customer answer the question?
- Are you allowing customers to access your phone support services if they have an urgent and special concern that they wish to resolve with a live agent?
3. Have an Easy-to-understand Return Policy
Do you have a clear return and exchange policy that defines common gray areas in retail shopping such as how conditions for an exchange, store credit, or cash return differ from one another?
If you have an online store but are lacking an ecommerce return policy, you are doing it wrong. Establishing a solid return policy gives confidence in buyers and shows you’re committed to customer service. Despite customer’s dissatisfaction with the returned purchase, handling the return professionally will ensure their continued patronage.
4. Honor Your Warranties
Are you tracking your transactions with customers to help you determine which among them are making unfounded or legitimate claims?
Besides defining a clear policy outlining what warranties you offer and do not offer (and complying to local laws), it’s a good idea to record customer transactions to help you in case of future complaints and warranty issues.
5. Give Timely Responses
Are you making customers wait unnecessarily before they receive a response from you?
Untimely response to customer inquiries is one of the hallmarks of poor customer service. Whether they have questions, comments or complaints, customers want their issues addressed in a manner specific to their needs, and they want your business to do so in a decent time frame.
6. Scale Your Team
Do you have contingency plans in place during seasons when businesses peak or during holidays, such as adding reinforcement to your customer service teams or using a skeleton force during national holidays?
7. Deliver a WOW Experience
Can customers set you apart from the competition by saying that you wowed them with that one or several opportunities you helped them with an inquiry, a request for assistance, or resolving a dispute?
The checklist above can form part of your customer care policies for 2017 and onwards. However, it should not limit you to finding new ways for an even greater customer experience to those who support your business. Some attractive options that customers find appealing include free shipping, subscription trials, personalized service, and the like.
Good customer service does not happen overnight. But if you go out of your way to think and act proactively, you can expect your business to find great favor with new as well as old customers.