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Customer service in eCommerce might be the most low-profile sibling in a bunch of strong contenders like price, quality, speed, user-friendliness, and luxuriousness.

But a savvy entrepreneur will see the bright green light in this statement and a gigantic opportunity to stand out from the competition with the least effort.

In fact, the importance of customer service in eCommerce is not so subtle at all: 84% of users said that customer service was one of the key aspects behind a purchasing decision, according to Zendesk.

We at Zoolatech have come to witness the high ROI of a thoroughly-planned strategy in the customer support department of our retail clients, like Nordstrom & Tailored Brands. Read on to get some practical insights from a retail software development company on:

  • Our snapshot twist on the definition of eCommerce customer service
  • Particulars of an omnichannel approach to customer support
  • eCommerce customer service best practices
  • Customer Service vs Customer Experience

eCommerce customer service: as defined in the early 2020s

The definition of support has evolved in parallel to the growth of the technology that supports this vital channel: call centers, emails, chatbots, and mobile apps, AI, big data, machine learning. Let's try to take a snapshot of what it is at the moment in the early 2020s, as this vital part of online commerce will further evolve sooner rather than later.

Customer service in retail and eCommerce is a set of proactive & reactive activities that help users deal with the administrative, logistic, technical, and financial hiccups while purchasing online, through technology or by involving a human expert agent from a company or third party.
Best Practices for eCommerce Customer Service

Strategic missions of the customer support department

While initially targeted at increasing conversions and lowering the returns, nowadays this part of the retail business also aims to increase customer loyalty and enhance online reputation. Let’s pinpoint the major objectives of the department:

Increase sales conversions

When there’s incomplete information on a website, a user may often jump quickly onto a live chat option, resolve all concerns, and complete a purchase.

Reduce returns

Some things are best addressed before the purchase. When a user has exhaustive information on an item, they will go ahead to the checkout button with confidence. When provided with exhaustive information beforehand or even after the purchase, users have fewer reasons to return the item to a seller.

Eliminate logistical frictions

While tracking a parcel is fairly automated nowadays, logistics is still a nightmarish experience at times.

Having an agent advising on the progress of your parcel along the delivery route is calming and reassuring.

Increase user retention

Customer loyalty is a hard currency in the world of eCommerce, which translates into a better bottom line.

A user whose concerns have been addressed efficiently in a timely way  is likely to continue to shop with the company and even leave a good review.

Boost online reputation

Google and Facebook reviews have the power to raise credibility, improve your rankings in organic search results, and lower your CPC. It may sound pretty ephemeral unless there's the realization it brings you capital. Which it does.

Customer service for etailers: the omnichannel approach

Omnichannel customer service is in its mass adoption stage and an expectation for many savvy online shoppers. By the mid-2020s, the omnichannel approach will be the norm for companies big and small.

What is omnichannel customer support?

It’s an approach to customer service, that enables a smooth multi-channel experience, whereby information flows freely among all the various means of communication for a user and a brand:

  • Email
  • Phone
  • Video chat
  • Live chat
  • Social media

So, when a user leaves a comment on the Facebook business page, there is an expectation that a company will be able to address this issue promptly, potentially reaching out to the client via email or other preferred methods.

Having all channels connected and integrated is paramount for a smooth omnichannel experience. APIs integrating ERP, CRM, eCommerce store, and customer service software ideally should be capable of 2-way sync with live updates.

eCommerce customer service strategy: best practices

Respond faster than you responded yesterday

Speed is of the essence in eCommerce. There are legendary statistics on how drastically a one-second delay in page loading speed impacts the bottom-line.

Similarly, being able to resolve any issues fast is paramount when it comes to customer support centers.

Why? The average user's attention span is lower than that of a goldfish (spoiler: this is not a hyperbole: it’s 8 sec vs 9 sec). If there's one thing you don’t want to mess withup, it's patience. The life of a user in 2020 is full of excitement, dopamine, and fun TikTok videos. Give yourself a chance with THAT competition. Hurry up.

Shall response time be a KPI of your call center? Absolutely. The top one.

eCommerce customer service strategy: call center

Expert knowledge as the unshakable foundation

Psychology is vital when talking to the User.

But you won't go very far based on psychology alone. Your team should be trained on every little technical nuance of every possible scenario. Elaborate scripts that help diagnose the issue will become a huge asset for newbies and pros alike on your team.

Using recorded calls for training purposes is another technique that precipitates the accumulation of product and company knowledge.

Use retail business intelligence to build chatbots & write scripts

You don’t have to have ages of experience in a specific realm to write a perfect customer service script anymore.

Business Intelligence and retail analytics will provide a map of pain points and sectors that need your attention, as well as proactive preventative measures applied.

It is sufficient for an online store to have some accumulated sales record, a thorough analysis of the trends, best and worst sellers, and complaints to help consolidate the most impactful breaches in the company's business practices. Once the most hurtful instances of doing business have been identified, they can be proactively addressed by integrating them in self-service tools, like FAQ, upgrading the website content, and revising scripts.

retail business intelligence and an online store

Hire the right people. People-loving people type

The success of your customer service starts with recruitment. Whatever their technical skills and experience, the person with the wrong attitude should never sneak onboard your team.

You want to build a team of people who care for other people in real life, are well-balanced mentally, and enjoy turning an outraged customer into your brand's loyal advocate.

Elaborate self-service options (FAQ) to save on CS

Analyze your most frequently asked questions, formulate them and their answers, and put this FAQ up on a website on every appropriate page.

A well-executed Frequently Asked Questions section will save you tons of time. It is a best practice to revisit and update your FAQ whenever an important change in a product, company, or delivery methods takes place.

Social media is the way to handle complaints too

One of the ways to learndiscover how to improve customer service in eCommerce is to consider social media platforms not only for promotion, but as CS channels too.

The Facebooks, LinkedIns, and Instagrams of the world are there to communicate to your users, reply to public complaints, and deal with outraged rants.

Ensure that your social media team has a devoted professional trained in responding to customer complaints, or have a system in place whereby those comments are picked up by designated agents from support.

Translate customers’ feedback into better company practices

The top etailers have a system in place whereby customer support cases are marked by agents with specific tags if they can form the basis for improvement for a company.

Such marked cases will be reviewed by the supervisor at the end of the shift to further escalate them to the attention of respective departments if approved and they have a repetitive nature.

Keep perfecting your live chat, scripts, and other tools

Technology evolves by the minute.

Keep your tools up-to-date and stuffed with the most recent know-how to gain the most impactful competitive edge via customer service.

Grow from customer service to customer experience

When writing your company’s eCommerce customer service guide, it’s a good idea to embed the forward-looking philosophy in a team that works towards impeccable customer service, but strives to reach the heights of top-shelf customer experience.

How is CS when compared to CX, you’d ask?

Customer Service is reactive. It's polite, well-mannered, follows the script, and caters to every uttered need of the user.

Customer Experience, meanwhile, is the premier league in this field. CX is proactive. It's also polite and well-mannered, but it precedes the script and caters to the needs as yet unspoken.

To put it in simple English, the company standards that nourish the cult of the Client as THE most important client for the company – or at least at the VIP level, helps create the most ardent advocates for the brand.

A proactive approach, personalization, and the extra mile walked compared to yesterday and competitors are what turns regular customer service into the customer experience.

Zoolatech developing eCommerce software with CS focus

Customer service in online shopping can hardly make it or break it for a business. But it can sure be the difference between a run-of-the-mill shop and a niche leader.

With the best interests of our clients in mind, Zoolatech appreciates the importance of developing a user-centered design with tools like chatbots, FAQ, integrations with ERP, and customer service software.

Our software solutions and eCommerce mobile applications are elaborated with the understanding that eCommerce business success is born on the crossroads of UX-friendly web design, impeccable CX, extensive assortment, and competitive pricing.

If you are looking to develop eCommerce software or upgrade an existing online store or mobile app, consult our knowledgeable team for free or request our best offer right away.