The Role of Customer Service in eCommerce

The Role of Customer Service in eCommerce

The explosion of the Internet and interconnected devices has revolutionized commerce, giving rise to eCommerce. This innovative platform has transformed how we shop, offering a convenient alternative to the traditional brick-and-mortar store experience. However, even in this digital landscape, the essentiality of customer service tops the priority list. Like a friendly and helpful salesperson in a physical store, exceptional customer service in eCommerce builds trust, instills brand loyalty, and ultimately drives sales.

Why Customer Service is Important in eCommerce

Unlike physical stores, eCommerce platforms do not have space constraints and thus, can showcase various items at various price points. This diversity, combined with a larger number of categories, naturally attracts more customers and keeps them engaged compared to physical stores.

Convenience is another major perk. eCommerce allows consumers to shop peacefully from the comfort of their homes, significantly boosting engagement rates. As a matter of fact, Forbes Advisor predicts that online retail purchases will reach 20.1% in 2024, further cementing the importance of an online customer experience.

The more people rely on eCommerce platforms, the more essential it becomes to provide empathetic and effective customer support.

Big eCommerce stores like Amazon, Target, and Costco succeed because many people rely on them for shopping. Since these stores benefit from customer trust, they have a responsibility to provide good customer service. Good customer service for online stores means giving accurate product information, letting customers know if something is in stock, keeping them updated on shipping, explaining delays, and ensuring products arrive safely. Any lapse in these factors by the store, especially if they’re reluctant to rectify it, can lead to losing a loyal customer.

Customer Service Through Remarketing

Re-marketing is an important aspect of eCommerce stores and consumers benefit a lot from it. Brands that are selling their products online wish to stand out from their competition. To achieve so, they are resorting to various smart tactics and one of them is ‘Remarketing’.

Re-marketing is an indirect form of customer service. It’s a targeted advertising strategy that tries to re-engage website visitors who have previously shown interest in a product or brand. By using advanced analytics, brands with online stores or websites can track customer behavior, including preferences, demographics, and viewed pages. This valuable data allows them to display relevant ads for products the customer has already browsed.

Furthermore, many eCommerce platforms are leveraging email marketing to craft personalized messages tailored to specific customer groups with similar interests. This personalized approach enhances brand appeal and increases the chance of a successful conversion.

Tips to Improve eCommerce Customer Service

eCommerce customer service is all about helping customers throughout their shopping journey. This includes answering questions and resolving issues before, during, and after a purchase.

Here are some common scenarios where excellent customer service comes into play:

  • A customer is interested in a product but has trouble completing the purchase.
  • A payment gateway error prevents a customer from checking out.
  • A customer has concerns about their order’s arrival date.

No matter the situation, a well-planned and structured customer service system can address these issues efficiently.

Let’s look at some important tips/suggestions that will help brands improve their customer service:

  1. Creating a Streamlined Omnichannel Customer Service Strategy: There’s a common misconception that omnichannel and multichannel are the same. While multichannel marketing involves creating various communication channels between a brand and its customers, omnichannel takes a different approach. An omnichannel strategy refers to seamlessly connecting with customers across all their preferred channels. This means picking up conversations where they left off, regardless of the channel used previously. Rather than treating channels as independent silos, omnichannel accounts for the spillover between channels. It offers consistent customer experiences within and between channels. A streamlined omnichannel customer experience will offer the ease of communication and convenience they seek while choosing to shop on eCommerce sites.
  2. Taking Feedback Seriously: Analyzing and implementing feedback is essential to retain loyal customers as well as to maintain the reputation that the brand has built over the years. Also, by working and trying to improve in the suggested areas, brands prove that the brand or the business really cares about its customers. Since there are a plethora of eCommerce sites available for customers to choose from, customers can easily switch sides if they feel their feedback wasn’t implied or overheard by the support executives.
  3. Being Transparent and Setting the Right Expectations: Customers who shop in eCommerce stores have very little patience compared to those who do offline shopping in this era. Therefore, eCommerce businesses must ensure all product information, including availability, is accurate and up-to-date on their websites. Setting false expectations can create a lasting negative impression on customers.
  4. Respecting Customer’s Time: Present-day customers have a hectic lifestyle. This is also why they resort to online shopping instead of offline. Unlike in the early 2000s, customers do not have the time and patience to be stuck in call queues or wait for minutes to receive a response on a live chat. This means that eCommerce platforms should ensure their customer support team is adequately staffed so that customer queries/doubts are responded to on time.
  5. Creating Personalized Email Campaigns: As previously mentioned, personalized email marketing shines when it targets past customers. Crafting these emails allows brands to tap into the right emotions and nudge them towards buying products they previously showed interest in.  More importantly, personalized messages make customers feel valued, cultivating a stronger connection with the brand.
  6. Offering More than One Contact Option: eCommerce stores should offer multiple contact options. According to research conducted by CommBank and telco provider More, 90% of Gen Z are anxious about speaking on the phone. It’s not just Gen Z; a good percentage of millennials also have an aversion to calls. This is why eCommerce brands should offer customer service through live chats, and text messages, and communicate new deals or schemes through push notifications.
  7. Making Use of eCommerce CRM: eCommerce CRMs are the new-age way to gain insight into potential customers and implement measures to retain the old ones. It is a ‘Customer Relationship Management’ software that will help online stores classify and bifurcate customer history based on their past purchases, preferences, and demographics. As a result, eCommerce platforms, in collaboration with their brands, can craft effective personalized marketing strategies with the available information. Additionally, the data obtained from CRM tools will also help brands to conduct inventory checks on time.
  8. Notching Up the Social Media Game: Since people spend a significant amount of time on social media, many eCommerce platforms, like Amazon, have dedicated pages to interact and engage with their customers. This direct line of communication between brands and customers makes it crucial for eCommerce businesses to have a dedicated team to respond to questions, complaints, and concerns. If forming an in-house team isn’t feasible, brands can outsource their social media customer service to reliable agencies.
  9. Leveraging Automation: eCommerce stores can leverage automation to improve customer service. From generating automated responses using FAQs to providing order tracking and shipment updates, automation can come in handy to communicate useful information to customers, especially when support agents are busy with a complex task at hand.

Exceptional Customer Service Goes a Long Way

eCommerce is a virtual experience where the consumer/buyer can’t touch, feel, and see the product in person, so the touchpoint must be flawless. To ensure a successful and fulfilling shopping experience, exceptional customer service and touchpoints become even more essential.

Modern CX

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