ECommerce Customer Service Basics
There are so many different aspects to having good customer service for an Ecommerce business today. Forget about the fact that your company needs to compete on a Search Engine Marketing and Social Media level, forget about the fact that your products must be useful and your services worthwhile. You can have all of those things and bring record-setting amounts of customers through your virtual doors. If you don’t have your ducks in a row in terms of sales, support and customer service, you’ll inevitably watch those would-be customers bottleneck at the point of sale and die on the vine. But you don’t have to die that agonizing E-death, do you? I don’t think so. Organizing an efficient front against incoming customer contact is one of the most important factors in closing any sale. Here are some things to keep in mind when creating or analyzing an existing Customer Service strategy.
Covering Your Customer Service Basics
If a visitor has a question about a product or service, how many options do they have to contact your support staff? Telephone and Email are important and frankly, if you don’t have both of these available, then you’re probably dealing with some pretty bleak monthly revenue figures.
Online Chat is an excellent support tool that allows customers to reach out to your staff with product questions, website issues, order inquiries and plenty more. One of my favorite things about online chat support is the fact that I can assist multiple customers simultaneously, and even while on the telephone with another customer on many occasions. Online chat support allows the customer service, tech support or sales agent to provide direct links to products or guides which can be the deciding factor for a lot of potential customers.
Help Desk Support is also a great way to assist customers in a pseudo-email format that is accessible as long as the user is connected to the Internet and knows their user name and password. Most Help Desk Software programs allow for easy viewing of communication from start to finish. This method of customer contact is especially flexible when trading issues between departments or employee’s.
Discussion Forums are really good if you have a large community of customers, especially if they require ongoing support. With your support staff acting as moderators, you can support your customers via a community of customers who are able to share common resolutions and customer experiences. This can be a really good way to provide a great benefit to your customers by allowing their peers to assist, which enables your staff to oversee.
Don’t Just Email. Follow Up!
Every Ecommerce website will at least have a contact form or email address where visitors can reach out to your staff on any number of inquiries or issues. Just because you have email, and write email, however, doesn’t mean you’re really using it. Sure, you’re responding to people and answering questions, but what then? Have you really stopped to consider all the different ways that a pre-emptive email strike can benefit your bottom line?
Abandoned Cart Recovery emails should be sent out to customers who put items in their basket but do not follow through on a purchase. I like to send an email reminder one day after the visitor abandons the cart, and then a second email within 7 days that may contain an incentive to return to purchase, such as a discount code. Abandoned Cart Recovery is an effective way of reeling in customers who may be on the fence, or might have actually forgotten they were interested in the first place.
While we’re at it, there’s no harm in following up with any customer you have been in communication with via email. If you’re quoting the price of a product or a service, absolutely follow up with the customer to see where his or her head is at. I find that when I contact a customer within 3-5 days of issuing a price quote, they often respond with additional questions that they wouldn’t have asked had I not followed up.
It’s pretty clear that whether you’re reaching out to customers via online chat, help desk, discussion forums or the various email scenario’s, you really need to make sure your support staff is intelligent, comfortable speaking with customers, well spoken and well written. Having employee’s who can easily read customer attitudes and thought processes will have an easier time engaging customers and making it easy to complete a purchase.