What does Ecommerce Customer Service and Support Mean Really?
Learn how Ecommerce customer service and support impacts your business, how to create a 360° strategy that your customers will love and the right tools that make it easier.
The last two years have made online shopping a necessary part of everyone’s lives.
People who never thought they would be comfortable trusting anything but a brick and mortar store, now shop online.
However, fears attached to shopping for something they can’t physically see in front of them have only grown.
As a result, the number of questions, queries, and complaints has risen considerably.
If you buy something from an online store today, you expect your queries answered promptly before and after the purchase.
In fact, it’s highly likely you expect a reply, immediately or at least within the next hour.
Online shopping comes with multiple distractions. This makes it tricky for a brand that has only a few seconds to acquire a customer.
During this window, your brand NEEDS to provide and deliver excellent support through all interactions, across mediums.
Ecommerce customer service and support is non-negotiable to succeed in 2022. In fact, Microsoft found that 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company.
But what does it exactly mean and why should you take this seriously?
What is ecommerce customer service?
Also known as e-commerce customer support, it means providing help in different ways to (potential) customers before, during, and after shopping from you.
For example, the chances of a customer dropping off during their pre purchase journey is the highest.
To reduce this, you can provide a detailed FAQ page or knowledge base and reply promptly to queries on your live chat widget through an AI chatbot (more on this below).
Once they have purchased, they might have questions about the delivery date, any extra charges.
Being proactive here and sending them notifications to keep them updated and excited about receiving your order will also reduce your return rate!
This support ensures brand loyalty and quicker, repeated checkouts.
Waiting for a response kills the enthusiasm and many feel that the brand doesn’t care about them if not assisted immediately, as you are in a brick and mortar store.
Think of it as the digital equivalent of being kept on hold. And you know how irritating that can get, don’t you?
What happens if you don’t invest in Ecommerce Customer Support?
In a customer support survey by Hubspot, it was reported that 2021 was a hard year for brands, with almost 90% of leaders reporting that customer expectations have increased to an all-time high.
According to Microsoft, 96% of consumers say customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand.
In fact, if their expectations are not met, or your brand delivers inconsistent customer support, 58% of customers show little hesitation in moving on to your competitor.
33% of them abandoned loyalty because personalization was missing.
72% of consumers expect the agent to “know who they are, what they have purchased and have insights into their previous engagements when they contact customer support. ”
These are the industry standards you are competing against so the faster and more organised you are about delivering a 360 customer support, the more market share your brand enjoys!
And what’s the payoff you ask? What exactly will you get if you work on improving your customer support?
What are the Benefits of Ecommerce Customer Service & Support?
Attracting a new customer can be 6-7 times more expensive than retaining an old one.
Your product and marketing teams have put in effort and money to bring them onto the site.
It’s now your responsibility to make the most of this opportunity and charm, convince the customer they have arrived at the right place and are making the right decision.
When you do that, they will come back to purchase from you repeatedly (52% of consumers say they have made an additional purchase from a company after a positive customer service experience).
You can potentially increase your revenue by 35%, if not more if you provide proactive, personalized customer support – 4-8% more than your competitors!
Top 10 Pain Points of Customers Shopping Online and How Customer Service can Resolve them
Now that we have hopefully convinced you why it’s important, let’s move on to identifying the unique struggles an online shopper goes through.
Take a look below and select the ones that match your brand’s unique strugles.
Customers can’t visualise products
Have you ever tried shopping for an art piece of a piece or furniture? Doesn’t it get tough to imagine how it will look in your house?
You can empower your customers with more trust in your product by offering virtual 360 degree tours or allow them to upload a picture of a wall/room to see a mockup with your product.
Definitely easier to purchase once they can visualise your product being a part of their lives, no?
Customers struggle with sizing or variants of a product they like
If there was truly such a thing as universal sizing, then it will be easier to shop online. Unfortunately, we know that’s not true.
Or a customer really liked the product but they wanted it in a separate colour but they were unable to navigate to that page easily.
In these cases you can support and reassure them with an easily visible brand size guide and how it compares to the universal sizing- you could show variant options right under the name.
You can also have your live chat widget prompt customers who have been on that page for more than a certain time with options like – Can you help me find my size, can you show me more like this – and watch those orders increase!
Customers are anxious about shipping and delivery
Having to wait for their order instead of taking it home immediately gives rise to a lot of impatience and anxiety.
With logistics in the last few years going through unexpected delays, it’s even more important to keep the customer updated about shipping costs and proactively notify them about when their order is expected.
If the delivery date has passed and it still hasn’t reached, imagine how good the customer wil feel when you inform them of the delay and why.
All of these will make them feel like you value them.
If you’ve done that, your ecommerce customer support or service strategy is en pointe.
Websites are not easy to navigate or purchase from
Many brands compromise on UX and UI for visual impact, especially clothing brands, which leads to higher drop off’s.
While we stress that you NEED to ensure your website is easy to understand and navigate (look at your bounce rate to see if you qualify), you can also use proactive prompts by chat widgets to offer a tour of the website or assist them to the right product pages.
Letting them drop off, confused and frustrated at your website is a solid crime, as far as running a succesful D2C brand goes!
Customers don’t like repeating themselves
Your customers can contact you on Twitter first and move the conversation on to your chat widget or any other platform and expect you and your team to have all the information already.
When they feel like the brand has taken notice of their issue and is aware + actively working to solve it, they will come purchase from you more repeatedly.
They don’t want to reach out if they can help themselves easily
Customers already dislike having to reach out to customer support.
We mean, who has the time?
Empowering them with the info they might need before, during or after a purchase by building a solid knowledge base or a FAQ page will increase sales and faster checkouts!
Customers get easily affected by positive and negative customer reviews
It’s true that negative bias is stronger than positive bias- which is your review section shouldn’t be ignored.
When they see you thoughtfully addressing negative reviews along with recognising and thanking multiple, positive reviews, customers will purchase from you far easily.
They expect consistency in customer support
These days there is a general skepticism that service can be inconsistent (especially when brands become bigger or more successful). Turning that cynicism into awe by delivering excellent customer service, consistently will make your customers love you.
A simple, efficient way to do this is by automating your CX efforts.
So it is clear that to solve the above pain points issues in an organised, efficient manner, ecommerce customer service and support is integral to your marketing strategy.
Let us show you how!
The Best Practices to Deliver Excellent Ecommerce Customer Service
Take a look at the below tips that will help you and your brand deliver consistent, thoughtful support across all touch points that will solve the issues we discussed above.
Have an Omnichannel Support Strategy + Help desk
It’s irritating to have to repeat the issue if it’s already been shared on one channel.
Have a single helpdesk that can track all the interactions your brand has with a particular customer across different platforms on one platform so that you can provide support immediately without having to reconfirm any issues or details.
Make sure you choose the channels you are present on and offer support are where your customers also spend most of their time on.
If a customer feels like your brand doesn’t care enough to even remember the issue they’re going through- oops, that’s another closed tab and a loss of revenue.
Having an omnichannel support strategy also ensures consistency and increases trust in the brand.
We will be convering the channels and how to choose + offer relevant support in our upcoming blog post so stay tuned!
Provide detailed FAQs and self-service options
It is an ongoing joke that Gen X, Y, and Z increasingly do not want to talk verbally or reach out to a customer rep if they can avoid it.
An easy way of reducing doubts is to have detailed product description pages (without overwhelming the customer) and FAQ pages that are constantly updated with the information they find people are reaching out to them for.
If you see a question constantly coming into your support reps, add it to the FAQ page!
Even a chat widget that has pre-populated FAQs is a great, affordable way to solve queries faster.
Automate with AI & Aim for First Contact Resolution
We get that increased overhead costs are the first thing you worry about when you have to scale but there is a sustainable way of solving this.
Having your best ecommerce customer support reps on hand, with enough time to solve a high human interaction complaint is the way to go.
According to a study by HubSpot, 43% and 51% of agent-level respondents and high growth and low growth companies, respectively, said that not having enough time in the day was their biggest day-to-day challenge.
To achieve this, get an AI-based software that helps you automate up to 60-70% of all CX queries.
We know most of the queries are repeated and don’t need a human agent (think ‘pp’ or multiple comments on an Instagram product post)- and usually you just need a way to pull out information about their order and reassure them on shipping, refunds, returns, and tracking information.
Not only will your response time dramtically increase to around 30-40 seconds, your skilled team members feel empowered to solve issues more efficiently.
Populate Product Reviews + Actively Gather Feedback
When you solve a complaint, do it well that they feel inspired to write a positive review despite the issue.
In fact, many customers who feel the brand took care of them during the complaint process actually left more reviews than someone who was happy right after purchasing.
A single negative review is stronger in influence than several positive ones- so make sure you do your best to leave your customer happy after they raise a complaint.
Even if the issue is not solved, ensure that you have taken their feedback into consideration and explain the steps your brand will take to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Offer Personalised Customer Support
According to this study, 48% of US marketers found out that personalization on their websites or apps increased revenue by over 10%.
Customers expect your brand to not only create personalized products but also offer personalised product recommendations according to what their issue or concern is.
An easy way to do this is to automate your CX efforts with a human-level AI chatbot that infers from whatever free text the customer rights and offers unique recommendations from the brand’s product catalog.
It’s no longer about mentioning their name, but offering information at the right time to create a sale– this includes offers, discounts, suggested products, etc.
Provide Proactive Support with a Help Widget
Having your most popular FAQs (brand or on that particular product) available on a chat widget proactively prompts the customer to resolve any hesitation quicker.
Reminding them that the answers to their doubts are readily available at a single click will ensure faster checkouts.
The key here is to remember that it doesn’t feel intrusive – so time and personalize accordingly.
For eg, our Proactive Order Alerts reduced returns of our clients by 13%.
With our deep integration with Shopify and other logistics partners, proactively sending order confirmation, dispatch, and delivery notifications smoothen post-purchase customer experience.
Want to learn more how we did this? Book a demo here!
Leverage in-depth analytics that is easy to measure and optimise
From CSAT scores to noting a surge/ pattern in certain doubts – make sure you are optimizing your digital marketing data with what your CX team is hearing and learning.
For eg, if your customer has repeated questions about your product’s sugar quantity- place the full ingredient label in a high visibility area of your page.
Too many questions or complaints about delayed deliveries? Change your logistics provider!
This also works to optimize your team. A good helpdesk will help you analyze a chatbot AND a human agent’s efficiency.
You can find out who takes the least and most amount to solve an issue and how active they are in case they work remotely. This way you can see your team’s performance at large.
Leverage 2 Way Communication
Even if you’re being proactive, randomly sending out a ‘Hello’ or an offer is not the best strategy.
The magic lies in continuously learning from your customers or the ‘feedback loop’.
The best part about this tactic is you can meet your customer at their channel of preference but also still keep a small CX team.
You can achieve this through a human-level chatbot that is quicker and is constantly learning to provide just the right information at the right time.
You can learn more about this here- How to Leverage 2 Way Communication for eCommerce on Whatsapp
Design better product pages
To appease your SEO team, it’s highly likely that your product pages look and feel overwhelming.
Nothing like confusion to scare a prospective customer off.
If your live chat widget is repeatedly getting questions on things that is already included on the page, make it easier and more visible.
If there’s something missing, add that upfront.
Offer 24×7 Support
In the age of midnight shopping, a potential customer can be online at any time of the day.
Ensure there is support available at all times through the live chat widget (again, here AI software will help by not needing human agents.)
If there is an issue needing agent escalation, you will already have the details on your helpdesk the next morning to resolve it asap before having to reconfirm anything from the customer.
How to Choose the Right Ecommerce Customer Service Software
There are several ticketing tools that can be used as a help desk.
Choosing one largely depends on how big your company is and your unique demands.
However, bear in mind that they are created to suit multiple industries and brands.
That widespread attention can be also considered as not as in-depth.
What if there was a help desk created purely for eCommerce brands?
LimeChat – An Omnichannel Help Desk Uniquely Made for ECommerce Brands
Our human-level AI is our signature chatbot that was made for ecommerce brands only.
Our attention to how the chatbot learns and answers queries that are specific to the ecommerce industry has led to us empowering 125+ D2C brands through conversational marketing- purely through word of mouth.
Looking for Shopify ecommerce service providers? We have 20+ customizable templates that are optimized for eCommerce with strong integration with Shopify apps.
Our Smart Agent Escalation can proactively identify unhappy customers and connect them with human agents whereas our retention campaigns have helped boost retention by over 30% with proactive customer support.
Ready to give us a try? Book a demo here and we’ll love to have you set up immediately- yes faster than what you expect!
Want to know more about the benefits investing in a solid customer support strategy can do for you? Stay tuned for our next blog coming soon!
This post is the first in our Masterclass series on Ecommerce Customer Support & Service, where we will go through an indepth understanding of the current expectations and strategies some of the best D2C brands use and how to execute it in simple, actionable ways.