The task of the e-merchant is to convince the customer and above all to gain his trust. He won’t get there with “marketing porridge”and only with a specific action. The key is good customer service, which determines whether a shopper will complete a transaction and repeat purchases from your store.
To improve customer service in e-commerce, I suggest you start with the points below.
1. Make it a priority
I feel like still in e-commerce we focus too much on optimizing marketing activitiesto drive traffic to your website. The most important budgets are also directed there. At the end of the year, the results are analyzed and a promotional strategy is planned for the following year.
It should be the same with customer service. Here, too, you need to measure and analyze the results of activities, invest money and plan a development and optimization strategy.
Where to start? First, make sure the whole company knows how the work of the people in direct contact with the customer is important. Handling complaints is no less important than the result of the direct mail campaign, as is responding to customer inquiries. Employees who don’t feel their work matters and aren’t engaged will have no incentive to be even better at what they do.
Also find employee development fund, for training, tools or books. You can learn from your mistakes, but avoiding them is a better strategy.
Also, to optimize and improve your performance, you need to know what you are getting today. Because adjust the gaugeswhich you will follow and correct. Also establish – as in marketing – KPIs, i.e. key performance indicators.
It’s best to start with a few basic metrics and then add more as your needs change and new solutions are implemented. The most common are: the level of customer satisfaction, the response time to inquiries, the number of complaints or customer returns.
2. Give the customer a choice
Each of us is different and likes something different, that’s why find out more about preferences and needs Your customers. Find out what channels he likes to contact, what social media he uses, how advanced he is with modern technologies and what language to use with him.
How to do? First, do market analysis, see where the competition is operating, use internet monitoring tools, and analyze user behavior on the website.
If you’ve been around for a while and have a clientele, then ask them directly about how you can facilitate contact or other aspects of the operation of the service. Use post-trade communication or send a dedicated mailing with a request to complete the survey. You can also put short forms on the website or speak directly to the customer, for example when he calls or picks up the order in person.
Thanks to this, you will no longer have to wonder if it is worth creating a profile on TikTok or investing in a chatbot. If your target group does not use these media or communication methods, do not waste your time on them either. Focus on what really matters for communication and building relationships with customers.
Having this information, implement the forms of contact preferred by the customer with the store. If it is mainly a telephone contact, display the telephone number on the website, and also make sure that the customer can reach you easily, without having to wait in line. If it’s messengers like Messenger or chat on the website, consider a solution that will allow you to quickly respond to customer inquiries even outside of store hours.
3. Facilitate returns and complaints
Returns and complaints are costs for the online store, but making them difficult and avoiding them can cost you much more than making it easier for your customer to complete these operations.
First, clearly and faithfully describe the rules for returns and complaints. Place them somewhere visible, preferably in the store footer and on product pages.
The effectiveness of these guidelines is confirmed by a report prepared by Gemius Ecommerce in Poland – the third place in terms of importance is occupied by clear and readable information on the possibility of returning and filing a complaint. For many Internet users, it is also a factor that increases the credibility of the store.
E-commerce Poland Report 2021. Gemius for e-Commerce Polska. (Full size photo)
Do not require the customer attach original receipts or personally written return documents to the package. The easiest way is to request a regular email with information about the products that will be returned. You can also put the return form in the parcel – ready to be completed.
If possible, think of a solution automate returns processing or complaints from the system side. The customer, when entering the order in his customer account on the e-shop, selects only the products to be returned and, possibly, the reason for the return. Such a solution works, among others, on the Zalando platform or e-shoes.
Tongue Return in the customer panel of Zalando.pl. (Full size photo)
It is also good to lengthen time to return the goodsgiving for example 30 days instead of the legal 14. And if your finances allow it, offer a courier return at the expense of the store.
4. Look for improvements in logistics processes
Increasingly, the processes related to the storage and dispatch of goods are outsourced to logistics centers or wholesalers (drop shipping). If this is the case in your case, agree such conditions with an external company that the packages are dispatched as soon as possible and that the entire processing process minimizes the risk of errors.
If you have your warehouse and the dispatch of orders as well as the approval of returns or complaints are on the store side, it is worth planning individual processes so that the cooperation between customer service and the warehouse is as efficient as possible.
Of course, in the case of a small store, with a small team and around ten parcels a day, it is easier to control everything. However, with major e-commerce sites it is worth sharing the responsibility between several peopleset up procedures to improve communication between them, and thus – facilitate the packaging and control of parcels before they are handed over to the courier.
Do not save on packaging materials. Why? First of all, a well-secured package reduces the risk of damage to the products during transport, and thus minimizes the risk of customer dissatisfaction and financial loss on the part of the store. Second – the first impression is important and stores try to outdo each other with ideas on how to surprise the customer at the stage of opening the package.
For example, Coffeedesk.pl uses individually designed cardboard boxes with greetings inside. Other stores put gifts or handwritten thank you notes in their packages. This is obviously additional work and cost to the store, but it certainly has a big impact on overall customer satisfaction with purchases. However, if it’s not yet that stage of your e-commerce development, just make the packaging aesthetically pleasing.
It’s just as important speed of execution of orders. First, let the customer know when the package will be shipped and when to expect it at home. This is an extremely important part of the whole transaction process, as evidenced by the growing popularity of the so-called q-commerce, i.e. deliveries in a few tens of minutes. This trend is seen primarily in online grocery, but some stores in other industries are also offering the ability to fulfill express and pick-your-own orders even within the hour.
Possibility to pick up the order in store – fast order processing – euro.com.pl. (Full size photo)
5. Show a human face
The online store is not just a system. E-commerce is created by peoplethen show it to the customer. It is not about fighting for the customer with the price, but with positive emotions, attachment and trust. It’s easier to build a relationship with someone we know to some degree, what they look like and what their name is.
There is nothing innovative in the fact that it is worth showing how the e-shop works, who forms the team and what motivates it. This is usually done in the “About us” tab and in social media. It is also common to put a photo of the service employee in the footer or in newsletters. Admit to yourself that we inhibit our anger after the store makes a mistake, when we sense that the smiling agata on the other side is probably not guilty of anything and, like you, wants to fix the problem.
It’s also important to hire people who are positive about life and who love and talk to others. If the work is an unpleasant task for them, the client will feel it and it will not affect them well.
Also pay attention to the language of communicationwhich must be adapted to the customer. After all, we will talk to young people differently than to old people.
Avoid situations where employees treat scripts and conversation templates not as a medium and a cheat sheet, but base the entire conversation on them, without any flexibility or adaptation to the customer’s situation. Such communication will seem very artificial and make the customer feel like they are talking to a robot, not a human.
6. Don’t forget post-trade communication
Customer service doesn’t stop with the purchase. This moment is also not the receipt of the package by the customer. It also covers the aforementioned returns and complaints, but also maintaining contact for redemptions.
Reminds you from time to time, offering special occasions only for regular customers. You can use automated emails for this, offered by most email marketing tools. But don’t be too pushy about it. Don’t overdo remarketing on Facebook or Google either. As with everything, even in e-commerce, you need moderation.
Reactivation of inactive customers – Frisco.pl. (Full size photo)
Improving customer service can do more than the typical multi-store price reduction and attractive promotions. Many customers are more likely to pay more for the guarantee of trouble-free purchases and the certainty that even in the event of a problem, he will receive help and that the matter will be resolved as soon as possible. It’s the positive emotions that build relationships and keep them attached longer, not fireworks and low prices.