If you're like most people, you probably think of customer service as the people you talk to on the phone when something goes wrong with a purchase.
While that's certainly a part of it, customer service encompasses so much more than just those interactions.
In fact, customer service is a critical part of any successful business, and that's especially true for businesses that operate solely online. Since your customers can't come into your store and talk to you face-to-face, it's even more important to make sure that they have a positive experience every time they interact with your business.
Microsoft conducted a survey that found 95 percent of respondents valued customer service when choosing loyalty and brands, which proves the point.
By providing great customer service, you can build a loyal customer base that will keep coming back to your store again and again.
But what does customer service mean for eCommerce?
To help you, we've put together this guide that covers everything you need to know about eCommerce customer service, including what it is, why it's important, and how you can provide great customer service to your online customers.
Let’s start with the basics!
What is customer service?
Customer service is the process of providing assistance and support to customers before, during, and after they purchase a product or service. It can take many different forms, but at its core, customer service is about helping customers in any way possible to ensure they have a positive experience with your business.
What is customer service in eCommerce?
Ecommerce customer service is simply customer service that's provided by businesses that operate solely online. While the core principles of customer service remain the same, there are a few key ways that eCommerce customer service differs from traditional customer service.
First, since customers can't come into your store and talk to you face-to-face, eCommerce customer service often relies heavily on digital channels like email, live chat, and social media.
This means that you need to be especially responsive and available to answer customer questions and resolve any problems they might have.
Second, since customers can't physically see or touch the products they're buying, it's even more important to provide clear and concise product descriptions on your website. You should also have high-quality product photos that give customers a good idea of what they're buying.
There are a few different forms of e-commerce customer service, and the type of customer service you provide will depend on the type of business you have and the products or services you sell.
Here are a few of the most common forms of eCommerce customer service:
- Email support: Customers can email you with questions or concerns about their purchase, and you can reply with answers or solutions.
- Live chat support: Customers can chat with you in real-time to get answers to their questions or help with their purchase.
- FAQs and Knowledge Base: Customers can browse through a list of questions and answers to find solutions to their problems.
- Social media support: Customers can reach out to you on social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook to get help with their purchase.
Big do's for strengthening eCommerce customer service
There are a few key things you can do to make sure you're providing the best possible ecommerce customer service, and stand out from your competitors.
Let's go through some of the most important ones:
Make it easy to contact you
Make sure it's easy for customers to contact you with questions or concerns. This means having a visible customer service number or email address on your website, and being responsive when customers do reach out to you.
Have self-service options
In addition to being available to answer customer questions, make sure you have self-service options like FAQs and a knowledge base available on your website. This will allow customers to find answers to their questions without having to contact you directly.
As an example, you can create FAQ pages, step-by-step guides and templates, and other customer tutorials using Scribe and Scribe Pages.
Scribe is a tool that transforms your work into a step-by-step guide. All you have to do is walk through the process, then watch Scribe work its magic — capturing screenshots and converting them into written instructions.
Here's a Scribe in action.
Scribe Pages takes your guides to the next level. Create client training materials or product walkthroughs by letting you combine Scribes with videos, images and more. Here's one to help Asana users ramp up — fast.
Harness customer reviews
Customer reviews are a valuable form of eCommerce customer service, and can be used to build trust and credibility with potential customers.
Make sure to showcase customer reviews prominently on your website, and encourage customers to leave reviews after they make a purchase. You can also use customer reviews to improve your product descriptions and ensure that your products are meeting customer expectations.
There are a few different ways to collect customer reviews, but one of the easiest is to send out emails after the product or service is delivered, and ask customers to leave a review. Offering discounts or coupon codes in exchange for reviews is a good way to increase the number of reviews you get.
Use automation sparingly
Automation can be a helpful tool for providing eCommerce customer service, but it should be used sparingly. Customers should always feel like they're talking to a real person, and not a machine.
When using automation, make sure there are options for customers to get in touch with a real person if they need to.
For example, you can use a chatbot on your website, but make sure there's also a customer service number or email address that customers can use to get in touch with a real person.
Automation is also great when providing customers information about their delivery. You can set up email funnels, that send emails to customers with information about their order, like when it will ship and what the shipping status is. Make sure you don't sound like a robot when sending these emails, by personalizing them and using a friendly tone.
Offer excellent warranties & return policies
Make sure your return policy is prominently displayed on your website, and make it easy for customers to return items if they're not happy with their purchase. You can also offer extended warranties on certain products to give customers additional peace of mind.
A great return policy shows that you're confident in your products, and that you're committed to customer satisfaction. It's also important to make sure that returns are processed quickly and efficiently, so customers don't have to wait long to get their money back.
Set up your team for success
Great customer service starts with a great team. If you want to provide the best possible ecommerce customer service, make sure you have a customer service team that's properly trained and equipped to handle customer inquiries.
They should have the right education, processes and FAQs.
Big don'ts when doing eCommerce customer service
Now that you know a little bit more about ecommerce customer service, let's take a look at three of the biggest mistakes businesses make when providing customer service online.
1. Not being responsive enough
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is not being responsive enough to their customers. Since customers can't come into your store and talk to you in person, they often rely on digital channels like email, live chat, and social media to get in touch.
This means it's important to be available and responsive to answer customer questions and resolve any problems they might have.
2. Overpromising & underdelivering
This can happen in few different ways.
For example, you might make a bold customer service promise on your website (like 24/7 support), but then fail to deliver on that promise when customers try to get in touch.
Or, you might overhype a product's features and benefits in your marketing materials, but then have customers be disappointed when they receive the product and it doesn't live up to their expectations.
3. Not following up properly
Following up with your customers is a key part of providing excellent customer service, but it's also one of the most commonly overlooked steps.
Whether it's following up to make sure a customer is happy with their purchase, or following up to see if they need any help with using your product, failing to follow up can leave customers feeling frustrated and neglected.
Checklist for better customer service
By following the tips in this article, you can avoid making common customer service mistakes and set your business up for success. Here's a quick checklist to help you get started:
- Respond to customers quickly and efficiently.
- Make sure your return policy is prominently displayed.
- Offer extended warranties on certain products.
- Set up your team for success by providing training and education.
- Follow up with customers after their purchase.
- Avoid making common customer service mistakes.
Hopefully these tips we're helpful to you! If you are serious about your customer service, you may want to check out Scribe and Scribe Pages.
Scribe offers a great way to create quick process documents that can help the customer service team resolve issues quickly, and provide long-lasting customer satisfaction.