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Running an eCommerce Business

3 Ways you can Improve your Customer Service to Delight Shoppers

3 Ways you can Improve your Customer Service to Delight Shoppers

by John Larkin

John runs the blog here at eCommerceLift and is a verified Shopify Expert. Interested in an initial growth consultation? Click here

6 years ago

3 Ways you can Improve your Customer Service to Delight Shoppers

Many ecommerce stores still believe they are not part of the service industry. They make tangible products, produced to be ordered and shipped to the customer with the focus of quality on the product. However, this is a limited view of what a business should be offering. In fact, the level of customer service that your ecommerce store is offering has an impact on sales, how customers perceive your company and also have serious implications for the success of your business overall. Here are some helpful tips for an ecommerce store to stop being simply a product supplier and become a master of service. 

But why should your ecommerce store focus on customer service?

Customer service can have a large impact on how people see your company, their intention to repurchase and influence their word-of-mouth communication about your ecommerce store.  As customer service is the main way customers communicate with a store, it is therefore vital that it is a finely-tuned part of a business strategy that equals the importance of any other marketing tactic. 

Here are some persuasive facts about the importance of customer service:

  • A customer is 4 times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related than price or product related
  • 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated
  • Happy customers who get their issue resolved tell about 4-6 people about their experience. 
  • A dissatisfied customer will tell between 9-15 people about their experience. Around 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people
  • 96% of unhappy customers don’t complain, however 91% of those will simply leave and never come back

Think about that last statistic for a minute. When you break it down it means for every complaint you hear about, an average of 22 other customers simply left - never to return.

For every complaint you hear about, 22 other customers just left, never to return.

How is your customer service failing?

Businesses offer varying levels of customer service and many believe that their customer service is satisfactory but often customers disagree. This disagreement is due to the customer gap. This is the gap between the customers’ expectations - how customers believe service should be delivered -  and their eventual opinions of the actual service received. Businesses should strive to bridge this customer gap and meet customers’ expectations instead of simply offering the bare minimum. 

There are many reasons why customer expectations are not met:
  • Not knowing what the customers expect
  • Not having the right standards for your service
  • Not enforcing service standards
  • Not living up to the service that was initially promised

This sounds complicated and insurmountable but it actually is easily fixed by simply communicating with your customer. Ask them on social media or on your website what they like, dislike or want can help gauge what level of customer service your company should aim for. This will lead to happier customers and hopefully bigger margins for your ecommerce store. 

Get the best staff and train them

A major downfall of customer service is not recognising the correct staff and skill set needed. It is vital that ecommerce stores hire the best staff to deal with their customers and nurture those relationships. As customer service reflects on the company your staff answering queries on your website, responding to questions on social media or dealing with complaints on the phone must have traits such as patience, empathy and a willingness to learn. 

However, picking the correct staff is only half the battle as training them is of equal importance as there is little value in having the best staff if they are unsure about how to deal with customers. Putting policies and methods in place to deal with specific issues will make customers feel like your ecommerce store can effectively deal with any queries or questions they have raised. It will make them feel that your business is a caring company that can offer them something different from the competitors. 

Learn about your customers

Studying your customers is one of the key components to establishing unbeatable customer service. Using market research or questionnaires, try and learn who your customers are and why they are buying your products. But why not go a step further and ask what they would want from customer service as not every customer service technique is applicable to each customer.

Try asking questions such as:
  • Are they technology savvy?
  • Are they a frequent online shopper?
  • Do they use social media?

Questions like these can illustrate a customer and enable a business to see what avenues that they should be directing their customer service towards. The services you offer can be tailored and made infinitely better as a tech savvy college student is going be delighted by very different customer service compared to a busy, working parent.

Have accessible customer service

When a customer is having an issue with your ecommerce store, they will want fast, effective and convenient service to rectify the issue. However, it is often the case that they are unable to locate where to get customer service or who to contact. This can be a deal breaker when it comes to a sale so as a merchant, it is your responsibility to make it obvious where they can ask questions and get answers to their queries. 

Placing your customer service number, social media details, email, etc., in a prominent place on the home page, beside items for sale and when checking out makes your service efforts transparent. By informing customers that they can get an accessible and quick answer to any problem or question, an ecommerce store can hope to have a positive impact on purchase intent and this could be the difference between an abandoned cart and a sale. 

Ecommerce stores can feel disconnected to the customer but by developing fast, efficient and genuinely helpful customer service a business can thrive. Consumers see the appreciation and dedication that is given and it will set you apart in a competitive online market. 

Do you have any good or bad customer service experiences? What do you think makes good customer service? Please let us know in the comments. 


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