The e-commerce marketplace is a crowded one – no one can argue with that. An explosion of online stores in recent years means competition for customers’ dollars is fierce, but providing outstanding service to your customers will help you stay ahead of the pack.
It seems obvious, yet so many e-commerce stores are getting it so wrong. But their mistakes are your opportunity. By putting strategies and systems in place to make sure you’re exceeding your customers’ expectations, you can create a loyal client base that will not only come back to you, they’ll advocate for you. They could even bring more business your way.
Of course, every business is different, and there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for success. But follow a few key principles and you should be well on your way!
Offer multichannel support to your customers
The beauty of humans is we’re all different, and that means we like to communicate in different ways. So make sure you can meet your customer in their channel of choice, whether that be email, social media, live chat, or even phone (yes, some of us still prefer talking to a real person!). The convenience and instant nature of live chat makes it the preferred means of contact for many customers, so if you don’t have this set up on your website you could be missing a trick.
Track and manage customer communication
Offering multichannel communication tools is only half the battle. You also need to be able to manage and track them. By that we mean being able to implement a ‘ticketing’ system to see in what order your queries came in, and being able to track exactly how and when a customer has interacted with you. There are software solutions that can help with both of these, so have a look around and see what works for your company.
Be timely in your responses
Customers expect a quick reply to their questions, and if you drag your heels it will have a negative impact on their opinion of your brand, and on the probability of them becoming a repeat customer. In fact, it’s really worth considering that a significant proportion of people expect a response to a tweet in less than an hour. This means you really have to make sure you have someone monitoring all your channels regularly, ready to respond to your customers’ needs.
Create a support centre
The downside of providing multiple channels for your customers to contact you is that it can be a big resource drain. So the smart move is to create a section of your website where customers can get the answers they need without contacting you. Have a wide range of easy to understand, regularly updated FAQs and you’re instantly reducing the number of customer contacts. You can even take it a step further and create a forum where customers can ask public questions for others to answer, meaning you’re effectively crowdsourcing your customer support!
Remember, that these aren’t set and forget principles. You should measure your customer satisfaction on a continuous basis through testing and analytics (again there are plenty of software solutions out there to help with this), and refine your processes as you go. After all, your customers needs will be constantly changing, so you need to change with them to keep on standing out from the crowd.