Providing great customer service is one of the easiest ways to generate good feelings about your brand.

Consumers expect excellent customer service wherever they shop. Online retailers rely on customer service as a real-life point of contact, to build up connections and strengthen customer relations. Contacting customer support is often the only time your customer experiences the human element to your business. Focusing on making this a positive experience will have significant benefits for the growth of your business.

“Companies that consistently outperform their sector for customer satisfaction achieve 114% higher revenue per employee than those below the UKCSI average.”

The Institute of Customer Service, UK

Your customers have access to most brands across multiple channels. They can choose when, where and how to make contact and they expect the same standard of service whichever channel they use.

Consumers are looking to social media to find support from brands, with many people expecting a response to a query within 30 minutes. Facebook only identifies a business as a fast-responder if they answer 90% of messages within 15 minutes.

This may seem like a challenge, but be reassured that the effort will pay off, as customers can spend 20-40% more with a company that engages and responds via social media.

Inconsistency of the advice offered through different channels can be a major cause of customer frustration, so make sure that support staff have the training needed to ensure consistent multi-channel experiences.

Customer Service Chatbots

Chatbots can be an effective way of maintaining customer communication and many online retailers utilise this technology to provide round the clock assistance.

A chatbot is a piece of software that converses with customers through an online chat service, similar to speaking with a customer service agent through Live Chat. This automated process can bridge the gap when staff are not available – in the night for example, and can be an effective tool in providing quick answers to FAQs. It’s important to get the Chatbot facility right. It should provide high-quality interactions and help resolve a customer’s issue rather than add to it.

Why Complaints are a Good Thing

If a customer encounters a problem and doesn’t complain, the chances are, you’ve already lost their business.

Complaints should be welcomed and appreciated. Every business is going to encounter disgruntled customers from time to time. When a customer brings a problem to your attention, they are giving you the chance to fix it. You may have been unaware that the issue was occurring at all and, if so, multiple customers could have been affected without you knowing.

Gladly’s 2018 Customer Service Expectations Survey revealed that 26% of consumers would stop buying from a company after one poor customer service experience. Never underestimate how important this is to your customers. The same study found that 68% of people will pay more for a product from a company with a reputation for good customer service.

How to Give Great Customer Service

Prevent issues developing

Streamline processes and have procedures in place to ensure good general service. If you are consistent, reliable and deliver on your promises, you are more likely to prevent or reduce problems.

Have empathy

Respect that the customer’s experience is important to them. People have previous experiences that lead them to react or behave in unexpected ways. Their complaint may seem minor, but if it’s the third time it has happened when dealing with your company, it’s understandable why your customer is particularly annoyed.

Understand the customer’s objective

Would your customer like an apology? A replacement product? Alerting when an item comes back into stock? Ask how you can best resolve their problem, and listen when they tell you. If a customer feels listened to, they are more likely to leave the conversation feeling satisfied.

Apologise

If you know that mistakes have been made, acknowledging that and apologising can go a long way in rebuilding trust.

Offer multiple channels of communication

Consumers have come to expect to be able to reach brands on the platform of their choice, whether that be by email, Facebook Messenger or any of the social media platforms. They expect you to be in the places where they are hanging out online. If you already have a presence on these platforms as part of your social media strategy, you are better placed to respond quickly.

Utilise chatbots

Continue communication with your customers even when support staff are not available.

Explain how you’ll stop it happening again

An unhappy customer will know you’ve taken their complaint seriously if they are reassured that you are taking steps to make sure their issue doesn’t happen again. Then act upon it. If your customer gives you another chance, make sure to deliver on your promises.

The ROI of providing excellent customer service is considerable. Not only will you build trust with the consumer, encouraging repeat custom and brand loyalty, but your customers will also become your best salespeople. Numerous reports and studies have shown that consumers value a recommendation from friends or family more than anything else when choosing where to spend their money. Your customers will talk about your brand – make sure they have good things to say and you will reap the benefits.

If you’d like to know more about optimising your ecommerce website and growing your business, get in touch.