Why good customer service is important for your e-commerce?

Why good customer service is important for your e-commerce?

Cathy Carpetta

Cathy Carpetta

December 12, 2023

The key to attracting and retaining customers lies in delivering exceptional customer experiences. With brand loyalty fading and alternatives readily available, e-commerce businesses must evolve beyond traditional customer service.

Research from Hubspot indicates that a positive customer service experience leads to 93% of customers being inclined to make repeat purchases with a brand. Estimates suggest that the annual cost of bad customer service ranges from $75 billion to $1.6 trillion.

Customer support today is not limited to pre- or post-purchase. It now encompasses the entire journey, starting from the first contact and extending beyond the purchase.

This article discusses how focusing on improving your customer support strategy and adjusting to their changing expectations can greatly benefit businesses in a competitive market.

1. 3 reasons why you can't overlook customer service in e-commerce

1.1 Boost customer loyalty

One of the key advantages of good customer service is that it boosts loyalty and helps in retaining clients over the long run. This will result in diminishing your costs and thus increase profitability.

According to the Harvard Business Review, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one and if you increase customer retention rates by 5%, profits will increase anywhere from 25% to 95%

Along with boosting customer loyalty, ensuring good customer support allows you to turn your existing customers into brand advocates with whom you’ll create special relationships and connections.

A good tip for nurturing this relationship is, for example, to send a thank you email after each purchase. This will improve the customer experience and will help you reinforce the connection between your brand and them. Another way can be, to send small gifts alongside the products when your customers asked for a return in the first place.

1.2 Sustainable growth

Companies that provide positive experiences have better growth opportunities. Having clear and smooth customer support processes helps you to be proactive and avoid spending time dealing with and fixing problems. It allows you to focus your time and efforts on other areas of your business to drive growth.

Having a good customer support team that interacts with customers and collects their feedback (either positive or negative) also helps you to understand your customers, their needs, and their expectations. That feedback can be used to optimize your processes, improve your products to provide the right offers to your customers, and thus sustainably drive growth.

1.3 Get positive reviews and enhance brand reputation

Providing good customer service will help you get positive reviews from your current customers.

Brightlocal’s research on customer reviews revealed that positive reviews make 68% of consumers more likely to use your products or services, and so it is a good way to enhance your brand reputation and stand out from your competitors.

It will help you position your brand as one that puts customers at the centre of everything that you do and consequently gives you a competitive advantage to attract more leads, boost your sales and drive growth.

Good customer service has many benefits. To make the most of it, you require a good strategy. This can be challenging, so we will give you some tips and factors to consider when designing your strategy.

2. 4 tips to create the best customer service experience

2.1 Define “great customer service” for your business

The first step is to clearly define what you mean by great customer service.

This includes the quality standards that your team has to follow in every interaction and situation possible. These standards differ from one type of business to another and each one has its unique one, but here are some ideas to help you create your own definition of great customer service:

  • The behaviour used while communicating with your customers. (tone, language, attitude)
  • The maximum time accepted to answer your customers' queries or maybe real-time interactions.
  • The level of proactivity that your team has to adopt.

Defining these aspects will give a clearer idea of how your processes will work and set clear expectations with customers. A good example to illustrate this is the Customer Service Commitment that Southwest Airlines has created and shared with its clients.

Southwest Airlines has been named by Forbes as the best local airline company for its customer service in 2019.

2.2 Focus on all your customer journey

As I’ve mentioned earlier, a good customer strategy doesn’t only focus on the post-purchase part but on the whole journey.

So as e-commerce, you’ll need to understand each step of your customer experience and which are the problems that he may face in each one of them. 

Being proactive is key to anticipating potential issues and crafting the best solutions to avoid them.

Understanding the scope of interactions that your clients have with you can help you determine which kind of support to offer at each step. 

To illustrate, let’s imagine you have an online store for selling clothes, a great way to provide good customer support can be by adding size guides on each product page, this will help your customers make the best purchase decision.

You can also add a chatbot to help them during the purchase consideration phase to better convert them later.

2.3 Define your communications channels

Source: Touchpoint based on Salesforce State of Service 2022 report

To define the best communication channels, you’ll need to find out which channels your customers are using. By analysing your data, you can figure out if your customers prefer to contact you by email, phone, or maybe social media.

Based on these insights and your resources, you’ll be able to choose the right channels and tools to communicate with your customers. There are a lot of different channels that you can choose to use for your customer support, and here’s a small list of the channels you may want to consider while designing your strategy:

  • Email:

The most used channel for customer service alongside the phone. It is a good way to provide technical support, as it can be frustrating through other channels.

It also helps to get a record of the interaction. Not only that, but it is a good channel for non-urgent queries, as it sometimes takes a day to answer all the emails. The negative part of it is that impatient customers tend to switch channels as they tend to use another approach they feel is quicker.

  • Phone:

The most popular channel alongside emails. It is the most direct and fastest way to solve a problem, as it allows direct conversation in real-time. However, it can be time-consuming and not truly well suited for small teams with lots of queries.

  • FAQs and help centres:

This is a great way to be proactive while letting your customers solve their problems by themselves. It can also help answer common questions and find a solution to general problems fast.

The tricky part is that you need to make it easily accessible and well-organized so that your customers can find the answers to their queries effortlessly. It is cost-effective as you won’t have to spend much money on it, and it also helps scale your customer service and allows your team to focus on more specific queries.

  • Live chat (chatbot):

A good way to provide real-time support for your customers as they may have questions during their purchasing process. Although it helps in converting actual leads into customers who purchase your products, live chat also has one main challenge: being able to meet your customer expectations and answer them in a matter of seconds. The success of the live chat depends on how well your team is trained to quickly solve your customers' problems and convert them into buyers.

  • Social media:

Social media platforms have grown disruptively during the last few years and customers don’t use them for traditional customer service needs, they instead use them to praise or complain about your brand.

Knowing the powerful word of mouth that social media has, your brand needs to have your customer support team present on these platforms. They can spot these public complaints, quickly address them, and offer help to turn them into positive outcomes. It is also crucial to offer fast answers as 42% of customers who are complaining, expect an answer within 60 minutes on social media.

These are the 5 most used channels today to provide support to customers, but that doesn’t mean that you have to choose only one of them or all of them. Based on your resources and your customer’s behaviour, you can adapt your strategy by selecting the most efficient channel.

2.4 Use helpdesk and other customer service software

Running an e-commerce brand means using the appropriate tools, depending on your needs, such as Gorgias, Onepilot or Zendesk or CRM software.

They are great ways to manage all the customer-related data that you collect, whether it’s calls, search history on your website, or chat transcripts. 

Centralising all your interactions​​’ data in one place and making it accessible to all your employees, enables them to be better advisors and be more effective in managing interactions with your customers and better guide them while solving their queries.

Finally, every customer is different, nevertheless, they all share one specific trait: they all like to feel special and to be treated specially. So providing great customer service and putting the customer at the centre of everything you do, is essential to stand out from the crowd and to drive sustainable growth.

Frequently asked questions
Everything you need to know.
How can customer service teams effectively use knowledge bases to enhance their interactions with customers?

Customer service teams should be well-versed in knowledge bases that contain comprehensive information about products or services. This ensures they can provide accurate and prompt responses during customer interactions, which is key to building a loyal customer base. Regular updates and training on these knowledge bases help agents stay informed and ready to assist.

In what ways can an online store ensure that customer interactions lead to long-lasting customer relationships?

Online stores should focus on making each customer feel valued and understood. This involves personalising communication, promptly addressing concerns, and showing appreciation for their loyalty. By consistently providing high-quality service, businesses can convert one-time buyers into loyal, repeat customers.

How can integrating various communication channels improve customer service in e-commerce?

Offering multiple communication channels, such as live chat, email, and phone calls, ensures that customers can reach out in the way that is most convenient for them. This flexibility helps improve customer satisfaction as it meets customers’ preferences for how they wish to communicate. It's also important to ensure consistency across these channels.

What role does customer data play in enhancing the e-commerce customer experience?

Customer data is vital in understanding the needs and preferences of both existing and potential customers. By analysing this data, e-commerce businesses can tailor their products and services to better suit their customer base, and improve the overall customer experience. It’s essential, however, to handle this data with the utmost care to maintain customer trust.

How can training customer service representatives contribute to improved customer service in e-commerce?

Training customer service agents is crucial for improved customer service. This includes not only training in product knowledge but also soft skills like empathy, patience, and effective communication. Well-trained agents are more likely to resolve issues efficiently and provide a positive customer experience.

What strategies can be used to turn potential customers into loyal customers through customer care?

To convert potential customers into loyal ones, e-commerce businesses should focus on proactive customer care. This includes understanding customer needs, offering personalised recommendations, and ensuring a seamless shopping experience. Following up with customers post-purchase to gather feedback can also help in continuously refining the customer service strategy.