As more and more businesses go online or opt for a multi-channel retail approach, the need to bolster’s one’s online reputation with excellent customer care support service has become non-negotiable. When it comes to providing top-notch customer support, the underlying principles remain the same – regardless of whether you are operating a brick-and-mortar store or an e-commerce site. However, e-commerce customer service has its nuances that are quite different from that of in-store customer support. The differences may manifest themselves in support timings (unlike physical stores that have fixed operating hours, virtual stores are open round-the-clock), support tools, or the customer service approach itself. So, how can you ensure that the service you are providing online is translating into an experience that’s worth repeating for your customers? Read on to know more.
1. Analyze customer needs to determine appropriate support channels
You can only design an optimal online support framework provided you have a fair understanding of what your customers are looking for in the context of support. Customer needs vary from one to the other, based on their personal preferences and what they are buying. For example, some online shoppers are not a fan of lengthy wait times and seek prompt customer care support service in the form of live chat for real-time responses. Others are more comfortable with conventional support modes such as phone and email. Knowing your customers’ wants up front will help you serve them better using appropriate support channels that do not come across as alien or cumbersome to your online shoppers.
Live chat customer support is especially handy when you wish to recreate the experience of shopping in a physical store under the expert guidance of a store assistant. When offering live chat support, the idea is to provide friendly, timely and round-the-clock service to your online visitors. Failing to do so may lead to unhappy customers – detrimental to your e-commerce business and brand image. Hence, make sure your chat support has dedicated personnel in place to keep the conversations going even at ungodly hours.
If you are considering a phone & email support system with a global client base in mind, you cannot but not factor in cultural nuances as they are instrumental in generating pleasant user experiences. Employing the services of native speakers can translate to smoother customer interactions as natives are well-versed with colloquialisms and local consumer traits which can make the conversations seem more credible to your international callers.
Likewise, when providing email support, ask yourself what kind of image do you want to portray to your online shoppers? If you are an up-and-coming brand, you may want to create the impression of a young, fun company. On the other hand, a formal and sophisticated tone would be apt for your business if it is a premium brand catering to an upscale market. Ensuring the right kind of tone that is consistent with your company’s image is crucial when assisting customers as it can amplify or diminish your brand’s credibility.
Still unsure of what could be the right support channel for your business? Why not entail the professional services of reputed customer service outsourcing companies such as LiveSalesman that offers an array of result-driven e-commerce customer service solutions? Initiate a chat to speak to one of its support agents in real time or submit your requirements online for an advisor to get in touch with you.
2. Be responsive to customer queries and issues
Responsiveness to customers’ needs, wants, and problems is a tangible demonstration of exemplary customer care support service. In today’s fast-paced and tech-driven world, customers look for timely and swift responses, more so when shopping online. They are too busy to be left waiting for a reply. Neither do they have the time nor inclination to go back and forth indefinitely, chasing your support team for an answer or resolution. Delaying responses, providing incomplete/inaccurate solutions, or not replying at all are traits of poor online customer support. Your customers may give your business a second chance to rectify mistakes; however, they may not be willing to go easy if you don’t value their time. Hence, coach your support team to show a sense of urgency when dealing with customer issues. Doing so can prevent you from losing your potential and existing customers to your competitors.
3.Track crucial customer service metrics via reporting tools
Establishing, tracking, and monitoring the right customer service metrics is essential for all modes of business – be it online or offline, or a blend of both. That’s because metrics are a good indicator of your customers’ satisfaction levels. They provide you with critical insights into your support desk’s performance. Customer satisfaction score (CSAT), average first response time, average resolution time, resolution rate, and first contact resolution (FCR) are a few of the commonly tracked metrics in customer service. When exploring reliable customer service outsourcing companies, choose one that offers robust business intelligence and reporting tools as part of its e-commerce support package. Leverage these tools to proactively identify areas of improvement/optimization and take data-backed decisions when making modifications or upgrades to your existing support processes and systems.
4. Personalize your service for memorable customer interactions
Gone are the days when exemplary customer service was equivalent to providing formal and speedy responses, often parroted in a matter-of-fact style and rendered via scripted replies. While a professional tone may still work with customers who like to keep things formal, the young and more informal millennial generation of today may not find it relatable. And regardless of who your target audience is, a scripted customer service style is a definite no-no. Personalized service is the need of the hour as customers no longer want to engage in conversations that come across as insincere, fake or robotic. Hence, exercise caution to avoid a stilted or cookie-cutter style in your e-commerce customer service, making sure your team’s email and chat response do not lack genuineness, warmth, or personalization.
Addressing customers by name, mirroring their tones and conversational styles, keeping customer interactions unscripted and human, and offering custom solutions tailored to one’s needs are techniques that you can exploit to build rapport and personalize a customer’s online shopping experience. They go a long way in instilling trust in first-time visitors, converting casual shoppers into lifetime buyers.
If your online business caters to a global audience, a multilingual contact center can be an apt choice to avoid communication gaps and make your French, German, or Spanish customer feel at ease when calling up support. Experienced customer service outsourcing companies like LiveSalesman specialize in cutting-edge call center solutions in a range of languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Korean, and Portuguese. Reach out to us today to find out how your business can benefit from their multilingual customer contact solutions.
5.Create a support team is knowledgeable, well-equipped, and empowered
It is often said that customer service is not a department; it’s an attitude. And it holds true even for online support. A customer-centric attitude or the lack of it determines how you or your team look at serving customers – whether as a privilege or as a chore. No matter what tools or knowledge base your e-commerce customer service team may have at their disposal, they cannot create customer delight without providing heartfelt service or adopting a customer-focused approach.
Unless you are a one-man army in a start-up, you probably have a full-fledged helpdesk team at your disposal. Make sure every contact with your helpdesk team is smooth and fruitful for your online shoppers by training your front-line staff well. Ensure your helpdesk team knows your business offerings inside out so that they can better assist your customers with expert advice and valuable product/service recommendations. Equip your staff with the right tools and documentation that will enable them to respond to customers faster and competently. Customers prefer dealing with support desk members who are knowledgeable and can help them make informed choices.
It is a known fact that every support team, whether online or offline, has to deal with many complex scenarios on a day-to-day basis. It is not uncommon for a customer to throw a curveball that may take an online support agent by surprise. Nothing can be more frustrating for a customer than an agent putting him or her on hold for every query or request that is not outlined in the standard operating procedures. Hence, take out time to empower your helpdesk staff and entrust them with a certain degree of autonomy with regards to decision-making. Encourage your team to look beyond the rule book and think out of the box to offer innovative but judiciously thought-through solutions to customers, without having to seek approval for every act of theirs.
Considering the inherent complexities of customer care support service and how demanding tech-savvy shoppers can be with online support, merely being helpful, responsive or consistent is not good enough. You also need to embrace technology to boost your team’s efficiency, accuracy, and productivity. Leading customer service outsourcing companies such as LiveSalesman come with years of experience in supporting e-commerce businesses with high-end yet affordable customer experience solutions. Take advantage of their creative contact center solutions that not only save you time and money but also contribute to positive customer experiences.