As the largest eCommerce players such as Amazon continue to enhance their customer service experience, it puts increasing pressure on smaller retailers to follow suit. Customer service means more than handling post sales enquiries, it also covers many steps leading up to the customer making the purchase decision.
Importance of good customer service
Consumers have extremely high expectations when it comes to customer service. A recent survey by Business Insider discovered the 60% of US consumers didn’t complete a transaction due to a poor experience and that 66% of US consumers will actively pay a higher price to shop with a company that provides a high standard of customer service. With this in mind, there is clearly a lot at stake for ecommerce retailers to provide the best possible shopping experience and after sales care.
Customer service before the sale
Before you can convince a visitor to part with their money, it is essential to create a smooth shopping experience. We have highlighted a number of key areas below.
Easy Product Finding
Different shoppers like to use ecommerce sites in different ways. For example, some people prefer to use the onsite search, whereas others will use the navigation or rely on recommendations. It is therefore essential that you have all of these bases covered. If your onsite search is not up to scratch, look to incorporate a third party extension or plugin. Make sure that you have a simple to use product filtering function on your category pages. And also make sure that your related product recommendations are well maintained.
Clear and visible delivery and returns information
When a customer is going through the process of determining whether to make a purchase, they need to know how much any added extras will cost and how easy it is to return items once they have purchased them. Having a clear and visible delivery and returns policy always visible will solve this.
Further to the above, offering a free delivery option either on all purchases or above a certain spend level can further incentivise a browser to become a shopper.
Flexible delivery options
Online shoppers are also looking for flexibility when it comes to delivery. For example, they might be happy to pay for an expedited same or next day service or they may find a click and collect more suitable for their needs.
A slow loading website can be a conversion killer. If your site is too slow, you will be leaking customers and it can also have a negative impact on your Google rankings.
More people shop on mobile devices that on desktop. It is therefore essential that your mobile experience is fully functional.
Customer service after the sale
Once the purchase has been made, the traditional after sales care will kick-in.
Multi channel support
As with browsing, different customers will expect different channels of communication. It is therefore important that you have a number of alternative methods for customers to submit enquiries, questions etc. These are: Livechat, telephone, email (have this connected to a support ticketing system) and social channels.
Listen on social media
Sometimes a customer might try to reach you directly or indirectly via social media. It is important that you have a customer service representative listening to your social channels so that they can pick up and deal with any complaints and queries before they escalate.
Fast response to query
It is sensible to publish a reasonable response policy on your website, however, you should always strive to beat it. The faster that you can respond to a message or query, the less time the customer has to post a complaint online. This should be taken into account during the traditional seasonal busy periods, planning for this and hiring extra temporary support staff can be sensible.
If a delivery problem occurs, do whatever can be done to take the pressure from the client. Contact the courier company on their behalf and do what you can to remedy the issue. If the delivery is delayed and the customer paid extra for faster delivery, you should refund this charge. Further to this, you should offer an extra incentive such as a free gift or discount with their next purchase.
As we have seen, there are many ways to enhance the pre and post purchase experience in order to have a positive impact on revenue and general customer satisfaction. Now is a good time to review your existing processes and see if they where they should be.
David is a Director at Best Response Media. They provide innovative Magento ecommerce and digital marketing solutions from their offices in Central London.