Ecommerce plays by a different set of rules compared to brick-and-mortar businesses. While customer service is not new or in any way unique to ecommerce businesses, doing business online does call for updated rules and practices.
Many ecommerce businesses skimp on customer service or try to automate it away using software or bots. Other online ecommerce stores are making customer service an integral part of their brand and user experience. Great customer service can actually create more fans and buyers of your products online.
The best website builders for ecommerce such as Shopify have a lot of customer service elements built in or at least available to integrate. How you choose to use these tools to interact with your customers can either help your business or hurt it.
Here are some do’s and don’t’s to keep in mind when providing customer service for your ecommerce business:
Don’t: Have an invasive, annoying, pop-up chat box
Do: Make yourself available to help your customers
One of the latest trends in online customer service is to include a pop-up live chat box on your website. It’s popular because it provides a way for customers to contact you easily and resolve issues quickly over live chat.
However, as they’ve grown in popularity across the internet, many users have grown to find these chat boxes annoying and invasive. They often make noise and require a click to disable. For these reasons, chat boxes can often have the opposite intended effect.
If you are considering adding this feature to your website, please be considerate to your visitors and make it as discrete as possible. It should be there when your customers need it, but silent and out of the way when they don’t.
Don’t: Automate your customer service with bots
Do: Systematize your customer service to create efficiency
There are customer service tools and software on the market that essentially automate the entire process. While this may save you time and possibly staffing costs, it’s probably not the best way to serve your customers.
Have you ever experienced the frustration of trying to get a human on the phone when calling a customer service helpline? Using an automated service bot is the modern day online equivalent. While some questions or issues come up again and again, others are more unique and complex and require human attention.
Your customers deserve the best service you can provide. Always have real people respond to customer service inquiries. Use tools like Help Scout or other management systems for efficiency, but always have real people behind the wheel.
Don’t: Sound like a customer service robot
Do: Be human and have a voice
Since you’re not leaving your customer service to an actual robot, you shouldn’t sound like a robot when interacting with customers either. Many companies use pre-written responses and rigid, boring language when interacting with customers online. It’s not the worst business practice, but it certainly doesn’t lead to memorable experiences.
The best companies online have a unique voice and memorable brand. Not only is this great for customer service, but it’s also great for marketing. Customers will talk about brands they’ve had a good experience with. It’s OK to follow a template for customer service emails, but just make sure you fill it with content that shows some personality and caters the interaction to the individual.
The most important things to keep in mind for providing customer service online is to be timely and friendly. Customers expect quick responses to their questions. If you don’t get back to them, they will find a business that will. Make sure you are responding quickly to your customer inquiries and treating them like a friend. If you do, they’ll recommend you to their friends too.