Like many e-tailers, you are probably experiencing customer support overload. It's mathematical: you receive too many support tickets + your brand doesn't have enough agents available or time to answer them = your customers are unhappy and no longer buy from your e-commerce website.
On average, the technical support of an e-commerce brand receives 492 tickets every month. That's more than a hundred tickets a week, and about fifteen every day. Whatever the size of your team, you are probably not equipped to deal with such demand. And even if you were, you probably have better things to do with your time: boosting your marketing strategy, launching new products…
The good news is that the answer to dealing with such a flood of support tickets is not necessarily to hire more agents. Instead, a much better approach is to prevent potential friction in your current post-purchase experience! It will also allow you, when a support ticket cannot be avoided, to handle it more efficiently (and proactively) by finding the right balance between automation and customisation.
So it's worth the effort! Providing your customers with an excellent post-purchase experience will indeed turn them into loyal customers. Which is no small feat, considering that repeat sales cost you 7 times less than acquiring new buyers.
Thanks to Bigblue, our customers cut the number of support tickets in half. In this article, we explain how you can focus on the aspects of your experience that matter most to your customers and make your e-commerce support more effective!
What do your customers want from their post-purchase experience?
One of the main reasons why an e-commerce brand fails to meet its sales targets is because of the dissonance between what it considers important and what really matters to its customers. If you want to boost your conversion rate, and keep your buyers coming back, the best approach is simply to meet their needs. But also, to do it better than your competitors…
However, what consumers want is a consistent, user-friendly and fast shopping experience. They tend to buy from an e-tailer if it has been able to deliver exceptional value. And with a minimum of friction and stress. Conversely, almost one in three say they will turn away from a brand they love after just one bad experience!
Which doesn't really leave you much room for error....
A good post-purchase experience can even increase your average ticket. 40% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for more convenience and a user-friendly experience. This brings us to the crux of your e-commerce support: the combination of effective technology and a human touch that makes your customers feel heard and valued.
Almost 80% of consumers stress the importance of competent help and friendly service. Your challenge is to use the right technologies to minimise friction. You also need to make your shopping experience more human and offer personalised and proactive help when it is needed!
The self-service approach
The first step to reducing your tickets is simply to answer the questions your customers might have before they even ask them. This is the famous "better safe than sorry" approach.
The self-service strategy, applied to e-commerce support, is particularly interesting for small teams that have to manage a large customer base. It is simply a matter of providing customers with an information base that is sufficiently detailed and didactic to answer any questions they may have about the delivery of their order or the return of an item.
Very simple resources such as an FAQ (frequently asked questions) page, informative blog posts or even video tutorials can help you significantly reduce enquiries.
At Bigblue, we do our best to make sure that the product delivery information is as clear as possible. But also, to make sure it's available when your customers need it, and without them having to search for it. For example, our brand tracking emails show them the status of their package or return.
Our branded returns portal also gives your buyers all the information about your product return policy. They can initiate a return or exchange request from within the platform and don't have to worry about it.
The self-service approach can also be boosted with two very effective tools…
Your brand community
Your most loyal buyers can be a valuable resource for your e-commerce support. A discussion forum on your e-shop will allow new customers to ask their questions to the community and receive clear answers based on concrete purchase experiences. This is a good way to relieve your support agents. It is also a way to motivate your customers by offering coupons (or other benefits) to the most active ones!
Brands that use this strategy report a 56% reduction in support tickets.
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AI-powered chatbots can redirect your customers to your FAQ section or a relevant blog post based on their question.
So they take over the simplest queries from your agents. And in the process, they collect relevant data before connecting them with a real agent when they need further assistance.
The right balance between automation and personalisation
As mentioned above regarding product returns, you can't always avoid the inevitable. Applied to your e-commerce support, this implies that despite your best efforts, some of your buyers will need more concrete help and will ask you for it by sending a support ticket.
The trick is to find the right balance between automated handling of these support tickets and a more human approach. This strategy will allow you to save time on the simplest requests and to offer personalised help when needed.
On the one hand, automating the most repetitive tasks will allow your agents to save time by sending pre-written contextual messages to your customers. This requires you to analyze the most common questions or requests. But also a little A/B testing to formulate a short and direct answer allowing an efficient resolution. For example, by redirecting them to a more detailed article on your website!
Instead of rewriting each response email, you can now use these pre-recorded templates. This will allow your brand to reduce the time spent on the most complex support tickets by 80%!
Automation can also help you redirect the most complex or urgent requests to the right teams more efficiently. And therefore, resolve the issue more quickly.
Streamline the handling of e-commerce support tickets
Support tools, such as Intercom, allow you to streamline your workflow. For example, by filtering new support tickets based on user data (such as subscription type, where relevant). Then, assigning them to the agent or chatbot that would be best suited to resolve them.
Tickets are also prioritized automatically, based on the severity of the stated problem. And the agents are notified on Slack to speed up its resolution.
Here again, AI does a lot to streamline a process that would be extremely time-consuming if it were manual. Above all, it classifies the most urgent requests and allows your e-commerce business to be proactive in resolving a problem!
Thanks to Bigblue, you can also receive the rate given by your customers to their delivery experience. If something went wrong, you know immediately and can contact your customer before they do to reassure them or resolve their issue. Rather than letting a disgruntled shopper turn away from your brand after a bad experience, you have the opportunity to reverse the trend. It's a great way to prove to them that their needs are being taken care of and that your brand is doing its best to meet them!
Adopt a multi-channel approach to e-commerce support
Customer queries can be communicated to you in many ways - not just via a support ticket. If a buyer has discovered you on a particular channel (e.g. your Instagram account), they may be tempted to contact you through that channel. This strategy is all the more common when your e-commerce support is slow to respond to them on another platform (e.g. via email).
It is also double-edged, as the response you can give on your social networks will be visible (and therefore useful) to a larger number of potential buyers. It will also show your responsiveness and the professionalism of your support. On the other hand, it makes the problems your customers are facing visible to a wider audience. By doing so, you may risk dissuading a future buyer from placing an order!
This is why it is essential for your support team to have an overview of what is being said about your brand and what your customers are saying about it. It is also important that they can resolve issues raised in a dedicated channel.
In addition to the live chat available on their website, some brands (such as Nordstrom) choose to offer their customers instant access to their support team via Slack. The interactive platform allows all customers to receive an answer or even a quick solution to their query. They can also access the queries of other shoppers, without any potential negative impact on your brand image.
E-commerce support: good tools that work together
Your e-commerce support is the keystone of your post-purchase experience. It is therefore a powerful lever to boost your customer satisfaction and generate repeat sales.
To reduce your support tickets and save time on what your agents have to deal with, you need to be on two fronts:
- Your buyers' dissatisfaction. By minimising fictions, you will prevent them from needing your support;
- The time it takes to resolve a problem: if it takes too long, it will affect your customers' experience and limit your retention capacity.
Thus, many tools are available today to optimise your e-commerce support and allow you to save time! The challenge for you? Choose the most efficient and relevant ones for your company. But also to integrate them so that you don't find yourself constantly switching from one to the other.
Integrating your support tools will also allow you to make the most of the data they collect for your brand. You'll be able to analyze the KPIs of your ticketing system to identify sticking points. And eventually, you'll help your teams improve these key metrics (average resolution or response time, etc).
Improve your post-purchase experience and reduce the time you spend on e-commerce support by choosing the right tools. With Bigblue, you can take a more proactive approach and resolve customer queries (return requests, delivery tracking) without mobilizing your agents!
Thanks to our integration with the support tools Gorgias and Zendesk, your customer support team gets the information they need directly in the support ticket! From the moment we started to use the Bigblue+Gorgias integration, we reduced our time spent on ticket by 50%, Simon de Swarte, CMO & Co-Founder of the sneakers brand CAVAL said.
Curious to read more on how Caval cut his support workload with our app. → Read the full story