Customer Service and E-Commerce

You can never underestimate the power of E-commerce customer service and you can never ever escape customer service. If you thought that selling your products through a website means that you don’t have to focus on how you serve your customers, think again! In fact, customer service is even more important, just think how quick negative feedback can spread on social media; a lot quicker than word of mouth. We want to help you throughout your e-commerce journey, Appletree isn’t just going to provide you with the payment technology so that your website processes card payments; we will guide you, advise you and provide you with our own five-star customer service. 

Let’s look at all of the ways that you can provide your own top-class customer service to your e-commerce customers. 


What is E-commerce customer service? 

E-Commerce customer service is exactly the same as the customer service that you would receive when you walked into a supermarket, a coffee shop, or an airport. It’s all about how your business provides help and assistance to your customers, the only difference is that the customers are online so you are guiding and supporting them through your website to their purchase; helping with the customer experience. We’ve talked before about how you can make your website easier for your customers, if you haven’t seen it yet take a look at this blog post here.

A Microsoft survey found that 95% of people answered said that customer service is very important to brand loyalty, this statistic alone should tell you how important good customer service is. You can’t just say yes I provide customer service on my website as bad customer service is worse than none at all; you have to really go out of your way to look after your customers. Remember how easy it is for people to complain now and more and more people are doing it on a regular basis. ‘Expectations are supposed to be exceeded. Especially when it comes to e-commerce customer service’ – Melissa Rosen. So how to exceed expectations?


Have a specific person or team of people to provide customer service. 

Depending on the size of your company and the number of website visitors, allocate a team or a number of people to only provide customer service. Make sure that everyone who is responsible for customer service is organized and knows procedures and what’s needed for everyone that visits the site. Organizational tools can be as simple as a shared email inbox, saved email/message replies to customers, personalized agent folders for all responses, and prioritizing different responses for different requests. Provide these agents with all the knowledge they need for the website and make sure that they treat your customers in the same way that they would want to be treated.   


Respond on the customer’s own terms 

Those who talk customer service all day long have developed the term ‘me-commerce’ which is the ability to embrace the increasing and changing demands of e-commerce customers. Nothing explains this more than the shift from a customer picking up the telephone to ask questions to the customer sending an email for support and now live chat looks for the same kind of support. Everything evolves but remember all of those options are available for a customer to use so be prepared for everything and always follow the customer’s needs and requirements.


Use a basic form of self-service

Self-service can mean lots of things for different people and the words self-service and customer service don’t always go hand in hand. It conjures up images or even memories of self-service phone lines where you have to say yes or get the computer system to recognize your surname without success; there is no way to skip the system and talk to an actual person, I think we have all been there. But this self-service is a bit different, we mean to provide a knowledge base for customers to check through, have a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQs), and make sure that you keep them both up to date. A customer may need something simple and these lists can help with that and provide the answer they need. 77% of consumers use elements of self-service on websites that are quite a high number and the good thing is that it reduces your customer support queues by around 20% which is always going to be a good thing. 


Personalize A Customer’s Experience 

Accenture says that 33% of customers stop using a particular business due to a lack of personalized service, E-commerce customer service with a personalized approach is generally the expectation for everyone. Go out of your way for each customer, this is an example of personalized service. 

Your website is a clothing site and one of your returning customers is looking for a new dress for their little girl, they have sent an email as they don’t have time to use the live chat option on the website and are looking for suggestions. So you could just send the standard reply email listing all of the new clothes that you have in stock since the customer last made a purchase and she could look at the website for more information; where is the personalization in that, in fact, where is the customer service? Do a bit of work to research this before just sending any old answer, this is a returning customer meaning she has bought from you before and has a purchase history. Look at what she bought, look at the age of the children’s clothing she bought and when she bought them. 

From this thing right the child will be this age now so what do we have in stock in what could be her size, she bought this color before so maybe it’s a personal favorite etc. Then send the email with the suggested items in links and photos so that the customer can have a quick look and then make her selection through the website and complete the purchase. That’s a very basic idea of personalized service but it’s usually the simple things that count and help a customer to keep using your website and importantly tell other people about your service.   


Ask For Customer Reviews

These could be seen as scary or absolutely fantastic, you have nothing to worry about if you are providing good customer service though, right? Encourage your customers to leave a review on the product, service, or the website itself, and use satisfaction surveys emailed to them a few days after their purchase. If there is something even vaguely negative in the review, thank the customer for highlighting it and respond by stating that you are grateful for the feedback and it’s helping you to relook at the logistics of your delivery or you have changed some of the text in the description so it reflects the correct color of the item. Use any kind of criticism as constructive.  


Have a fast response time and continue to evaluate the service

One of the main reasons people shop online is convenience so of course, they will expect fast response times and quick service. We seem to have invented our difficulties by creating convenience. It’s important to remember that customer service isn’t concrete, it changes for each situation or for each customer that you support, and it’s important that you sit back and look at what you are doing and ensure that it’s right and works; if it doesn’t make changes so that it does. We all have to move with the times and continue to grow with what we are doing, with customer service there is no standing still. 


At the very beginning I said that you can never underestimate the power of customer service no matter what kind of commerce, it’s the backbone of any customer-driven business. Online shopping is fast-moving and the amount of people who use online shopping grows massively on a daily basis. Use some of the points we have suggested to help your e-commerce customer service, hopefully, it will help you retain your customers, grow your business and successfully thrive in a very competitive industry. 


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