Today, consumers and brands have a radically different relationship than they did just twenty years ago. This is mainly due to the increased emphasis on customer experience.
Although the pandemic had a negative effect on a number of industries, from the look of things, ecommerce is doing just fine. In fact, since the outbreak has started, the number of online retail stores has actually increased.
Depending on how you look at it, this is both a good and bad thing.
With so many competitors, keeping your customers around should be a top priority. The best way to keep your customers satisfied and loyal? Through good customer service.
In this article, we’re going to discuss:
- What customer experience really is and why you need to pay it so much attention
- Things that cause bad customer experiences and how to stop doing them
- How to keep the people 100% satisfied with 10 easy-to-follow tips
By the end of this guide, you’ll know just how important your customers are, why you need to keep them, and how to actually keep them.
What’s Customer Experience and Why Is It So Important?
A few years ago, Econsultancy polled over 2,000 marketers across several industries. They said that customer service is their main tool for differentiating their business from the competition.
Your services, products, and offerings undoubtedly play a large role in your success. However, your relationship with your customers may play an even bigger role.
Customer service – also known as CX among marketers – is the customers’ perspective of their experience with your business. If you manage to improve the experience consumers have with your ecommerce business, you can also improve your bottom line.
Positive customer experiences will be reflected in your…
- Retention rates
- Satisfaction rates
- Sales numbers
- Overall revenue
Strong customer service skills are especially important for businesses that have a financial incentive to retain their customers and keep them happy. This incentive has risen across many industries and niches.
Customer experience is now a strong revenue driver when you consider that…
- 3 out of 10 customers would look for another business after a single bad experience
- 5 out of 10 will not make a purchase again after a bad customer experience
- 7 out of 10 consumers will spend more on a business with good customer service
Despite all of these numbers, things don’t always go according to plan. Even with good intentions, some businesses end up leaving their customers with a bad taste in their mouths.
What Causes Bad Customer Experiences?
Bad customer experience comes in many shapes and sizes. But there are some recurring elements that leave customers feeling completely frustrated. Research from Hotjar revealed that the five things that have the most damaging effect on customer experience.
Here they are:
- Long waits and slow response times: If your customers are left waiting for your response for too long, they’ll probably go to another online store.
- Falling to understand customer needs: A lack of understanding of your customers’ questions will result in poor customer experience.
- Unresolved issues and unanswered questions: Failing to answer an inquiry won’t help you leave a good impression and will leave your customer dissatisfied.
- Too much automation and a lack of human touch: Although AI can help you with many tasks, it can’t possibly answer all of the questions your customers have.
- Lack of customer service personalization: Sending out generic responses to customer inquiries only shows that you don’t really care about your customers.
10 Customer Service Tips That’ll Help Your Business
While we do recognize the fact that every business is different, there are certain mistakes most ecommerce businesses make. Here are 10 things you can do to avoid making those mistakes and your customers satisfied…
1. Set the Right KPIs for Your Agents Representatives
Companies that are not measuring the success of their customer service don’t have an idea of how good or bad their reps are. If you want to get serious about customer service, you need to set clear KPIs and track them.
Here are a few KPIs that should be in your next CX report:
- Tickets created, replied, closed
- Messages received, sent
- Resolution time
- Conversion rate
- Total sales from support
Besides the KPIs above, you should also measure your employee engagement to make sure that your employees are satisfied with their job. That will help you lessen the workload of some employees or give them different tasks to keep them motivated.
2. Build a User-Friendly Customer Help Center
When customers come across a problem, they won’t reach out to you right away. In fact, 81% of customers will try to solve the problem all on their own, before talking to a customer service rep.
How can you help your customers? You need to build a good help center that will help your customers find what they’re looking for.
Here’s what you can do:
- Keep your visitors’ navigation options at a minimum
- Have a clearly-visible search bar at the top of every page
- Prominent CTA to contact your CX or Sales team
- An FAQ section that answers all of their questions
3. Always Remember Customer’s First Name
Every customer you have wants to feel important. They want to know that they’re a priority for your business. One of the best ways to make customers feel important is through personalization. Unfortunately, many companies fail at this.
Let’s take live customer service reps for example. Most of them don’t do as much as remember customers’ names. Only one in five customer service agents will remember a customer’s name, which is unacceptable.
Addressing your customer by name in every message you send can make them feel special. Using a help-desk integrated with your store can also help you by avoiding asking your customer for the information you already have in your database.
4. Try to Respond to Complaints Immediately
First Response Time – or FRT for short – is a metric that refers to the time your customers spend waiting with a question or a problem before being attended to. As you’d expect, having low FRT results in better customer satisfaction rates.
That means you should answer customer inquiries right away.
No matter what they have a question about – your products, stock, or website – try to answer it in a timely manner. How much time you have to respond?
That depends on the channel:
- Around 120 seconds to respond on live chat
- Over an hour to respond on social media
- Up to 24 hours to respond via email
5. Only Use Positive/Professional Language
Sometimes, it’s not about what you have to say, it’s about how you’re saying it. This rings especially true for customer service. You need to make sure that you sound levelheaded, calm, and calculated whenever you’re in contact with a customer.
If you’re delivering bad news, there’s no way to sugarcoat it. You need to be direct and professional about it. At the same time, you should also try to find a way to solve the problem.
For instance, if a customer has ordered something that was out-of-stock, an automated email telling them that you don’t have the product right now won’t cut it. You should tell the customer when you expect it to be available or perhaps offer some other products instead.
It’s best to have a written procedure for these situations, so your customer support agents know how to deal with them, without having to worry too much.
6. Be Proactive Instead of Reactive
By its nature, customer service is a reactive job. When your customers encounter a problem they come to your customer service reps for a solution.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t approach certain problems proactively.
Case in point: shipping delays. In the past couple of months, eCommerce shipments have increased drastically. According to some information, there have been 47% more shipments since the outbreak started.
With such an increase, shipment delays are bound to happen.
To keep your customers in the loop, you can send out daily emails about the weather, transport, and other factors that could potentially cause setbacks. That will set customer expectations right and prepare them for any possible delays.
7. Be as Clear as Possible About Your Policies
More often than not, customers are worried about the fine print. As a matter of fact, nearly 7 out of 10 eCommerce customers want to review the company’s return policy before making a purchase.
Sloppily-written policies will turn off a lot of customers. Every policy on your website needs to be clearly written so your users can easily find the things they’re looking for.
Our policy generator can help you make things easy to read. You just need to enter your email and policy model, and you’ll have your policy written in a matter of seconds.
8. Use Automation (But Don’t Overuse It)
Automate answers to common questions like “Where is my order?”
It’s 2021 and everyone is using automation. Not only will it help you concentrate on aspects of work that really require your attention, automating certain tasks can help you lower FRT, churn rates, and increase customer satisfaction.
For example, you can automate your email response so that if a customer asks a question after business hours (such as, “where is my order?”), then you can still answer them.
However, you should make sure not to rely on automation too much.
Automation should work in alliance with customer service reps. No matter how good the system is, it simply can’t have answers to all of your customers’ questions.
9. Don’t Forget About Community Engagement
For some, a community engagement strategy consists of asking customers to like their page on Facebook, follow their business on Twitter, and not much else. Having thousands of followers and likes is a good look for your business, sure.
But you can’t let those followers go to waste.
Here’s what you need to do: engage your followers and get them talking about the experience with your brand. Then, ask them for some feedback about your business, operations, and employees. You can then use that information to tweak your business.
Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before building a community:
- What do you plan on doing with the community?
- Are you doing everything you can to engage the members?
- What type of information can you get from the members?
10. Actively Collect Customer Feedback
Speaking of gathering feedback, let’s say a few words about customer surveys. Although they provide a great way to get feedback, they can be annoying for some customers. People simply don’t like to log into a portal to answer a few questions.
That’s why you should embed your surveys into emails and send them out directly to your customers.
Here’s how to use Gorgias to do just that…
Our “Customer Satisfaction Survey” feature can help you find out how well your customer support reps are doing their work.
These surveys can be automatically sent out every time a customer has an interaction with one of your service reps.
Start Providing Efficient Customer Service Today!
The bottom line is this: an eCommerce business that doesn’t pay too much attention to customer service will probably struggle in 2021.
Following the 10 tips above will allow you to improve your retention rates, get better customer reviews, and increase your bottom line.
This is a guest post from Gorgias. Gorgias is the top rated ecommerce help desk and they work with 7,000+ brands like Steve Madden, Timbuk2, and Dr. Squatch. They tightly integrate with Shopify, BigCommerce, & Magento2 (and 60+ other apps like Klaviyo, Yotpo and Attentive). They help merchants combine all their customer communication channels like email, social media, live chat & SMS in one platform, and automate 15-20% of their responses and Instagram DMs are now live. New customers will receive two months free at Gorgias exclusively through Kickfurther.