If you own an eCommerce business, no matter what your industry, you have a lot of competition. To succeed, you need to do things better than those competitors, like making your checkout process smooth and transparent, featuring the best products at the best prices, and offering outstanding customer service. If you’re a small or medium-sized business, the pressure is even greater to deliver stellar customer service. After all, in addition to other similar-sized companies, you’re competing with industry giants like Amazon and Walmart. These are companies that have spent the time and money to do customer service right.
How do you stay competitive? You need to hit the customer service sweet spot. According to Taylor Research Group, 62% of consumers feel their customer service experiences meet their expectations (with 32% saying they don’t), but only 2% report that those experiences “exceeded” their expectations.
If you want to beat your eCommerce competition, it’s not enough to leave your customers satisfied. You need to “wow” them with unbelievable customer service. The kind they’ll remember long after the fact, and tell their friends about.
Start with a multichannel customer service strategy. That means, among other things, that you need a multichannel customer service strategy, one that empowers customers to use their channel of preference to contact you (the goal of customer service, after all, is to give customers what they want). Ideally, that will include eMail, social media, live chat, and phone support.
Four Ways to Enhance Your Multichannel Customer Service Efforts
Deliver Impressive eMail
Delivering customer service with eMail is relatively straightforward. You simply add an eMail contact page to your eCommerce site and wait for the questions and requests to start. Of course, the volume of customer service eMails you receive is likely to be large, so you also need to stay organized.
Make sure you have a separate eMail account (or folder) dedicated to customer service, and nothing else. In addition, whether you respond to eMails manually or automate the process, your responses need to be personalized and relevant to the questions you receive. Finally, use the intelligence you gather through your eMail contacts to inform a frequently asked questions page on your site, customers will often consult your FAQ page before they contact you.
Reach Your Audience on Social Media
Whether you pay attention or not, your customers are already talking about your business on social media. Spoiler alert—you need to be paying attention to those conversations, and you need to leverage them to enhance your customer service. It’s one of the reasons that 30% of brands have a customer service account on Twitter (according to Simply Measured).
Twitter is arguably the best social media site to promote outstanding customer service on—but you do have to respond promptly to your customer-service related tweets. According to Convince and Convert, about 1/3 of Twitter users expect a response within the first half hour, for example—but less than 10% of businesses respond within that time frame. Fortunately, there are services which will help you put your best foot forward, including Hootsuite, Everypost and Sprout Social.
Be More Accessible with Live Chat
According to Econsultancy, live chat has a higher average customer service rating (73%) than any other channel—but you need to do it right to exceed customer expectations. Among the reasons consumers are so happy with live chat is the fact that they can get the answers they need quickly, and without being placed on hold (or listening to awful hold music).
You can use tools like Bold Chat, Live Chat or Olark to deliver superior chat service. You should also use a service with mobile functionality (so your reps can answer questions from anywhere) and integrate it with your contact form to ensure you’re able to respond to every query.
Up Your Phone Support Game
Last but certainly not least in your customer service arsenal is phone support. For one thing, your customers (or many of them) will want to speak with a live person. For another, employing a trained call center staff is among the best ways to gather critical business intelligence you can use to improve your business. Finally, there’s probably no better way to build trust than with highly-trained customer service reps who can establish the rapport and personal connection that phone support enables.
The operative word when it comes to delivering superior customer service phone support is “training.” The reps you employ need to understand as much about your business as possible, this will reduce the need for transferring calls. They probably also need the support of robust CRM software, so every call is informed and enhanced by the calls which preceded it.
Get Started on Your Multichannel Customer Service Efforts
Because eCommerce is so competitive, you need to be at the top of your game, delivering the kind of service which will polish your brand, build trust, establish credibility, and distinguish you and the service you provide from your competitors. Of course, customer service is just one component of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.