You may not agree with the old adage that the customer is always right, and they may not very well be, but if you have an unhappy customer on your hands, they are most likely already prepared to walk away.
In this competitive universe, especially in the fast-developing realms of ecommerce, no business can afford to lose their clientele – and if brands have lost $75 billion in 2017 alone due to poor customer service, you may rest assured it will happen again.
You already know the pricey truth of acquiring new customers as opposed to working on retention, so why not invest in some of the most vital factors that will keep your customers coming back?
While many businesses still haphazardly apply customer service methods until they discover the ones that will work for them, this aspect of your business deserves an equal amount of planning when devising your approach to please your customers.
Let’s go over a few tried and tested strategies that any e-commerce business can use nowadays to get ahead of the customer service game and improve their retention rates.
1. Live chat is no longer optional
The key appeal to e-commerce is convenience. If you can purchase a pair of shoes without setting your foot in the store, you also expect some help from the store clerk to choose the best size, color, and style.
In order to transform the otherwise characterless shopping experience that happens online into the personal, charming one of the brick-and-mortar world, your customers need access to live chat.
You can help someone who’s been on your site and browsing for the perfect fit, while others may have questions not covered by your FAQ.
In fact, live chat is not only a live, digital help desk, but a cross-selling opportunity for your agents, too. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting an increase in your purchases after you implement this feature!
2. Track your performance
When it comes to your existing call center, your website, and all other contact points for you and your customer, they can hardly do their absolute best if you don’t have any insight into how they’re performing currently.
That is precisely why you need to monitor your most relevant call center KPIs, as well as those from your other customer touchpoints, in order to use the compiled data to boost your current efforts.
This will in turn fuel your knowledge base building, and improve your training sessions for customer support teams, help you focus on the worst pain points your clients have, and address them in the most effective manner.
Without tracking your key performance indicators, how could you possibly know where to look to find the leaks and stop losing customers?
3. Educate your support team
We’ve already mentioned how important collecting knowledge is for your customer support agents, and your KPIs are not the only way to keep your teams informed.
In fact, the more time and skills you invest in them, chances are they will become all the better at solving more complex issues down the road, or prevent them entirely when they notice a customer in a conundrum.
By helping your customer support agents communicate your brand effectively, you also boost your reputation and create a perfect opportunity for them to build that much-needed emotional bond with your business. It’s both a short- and long-term necessity to teach and mentor your teams.
4. Get social
Omni-channel customer support is no longer considered a new method at all, but most ecommerce stores still fail to utilize certain channels to their full extent.
One such example is using social media not just to engage through wonderful content, and comments that ensue, but also through direct messaging platforms that can help guide your customer.
Social channels often serve the same purpose as your live chat on your website, but they add another “personal” note to the mix.
Even simply having social media accounts helps you stay in the know as you’ll get notified via your email or your phone every time you have a message waiting – and you already know, the sooner you respond, the better for your brand and your relationships!
5. Content as service
Everything from your product descriptions, sizing charts, return policies, all the way to your shipping offers and the FAQ section, your web content is in a sense one of your first opportunities to serve customers better.
An informed customer is far less likely to cause trouble, and when they do have questions, they are easier to address and solve quickly.
So, as your agents improve their communication skills and you work on those KPIs, use all the data to improve your entire digital presence.
Everything from price lists, sales notifications, all the way to the fine print at the bottom of the page can serve a purpose and aim to keep your customers happy, as well as engaged.
Clarity, transparency, and simplicity should be your primary goal in communicating to your customers through your content, so make sure you’re getting the message across successfully.
As your first line of defense and your key brand ambassadors, your customer service agents need all the data, skills, and tools to do their jobs well.
Adopting this customer-centric approach will help you succeed in your niche and meander through these complex ecommerce waters for years to come.
Elaine Bennett is a digital marketing specialist focused on helping Australian startups and small businesses grow. Besides that, she's a regular contributor for Bizzmark Blog and writes hands-on articles about business and marketing, as it allows her to reach even more entrepreneurs and help them on their business journey.