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3 Right-Now Rules for eCommerce Customer Service

Good customer service will always equal happy customers, and happy ones come back. A fact, shown rigorously in research, Econsultancy reported that up to 92% of people have not returned to a business due to poor customer service.

Rule #1 Use Social Media

What’s the number one rule of customer service? A fast response. And this is more important than ever as we live in a world that’s increasingly always on. Social media inherently has the feeling of immediacy, so nail this one, and you’ll be helping to build your brand as one that’s 24/7, energised and totally current.

It goes without saying that the public nature of social media brings something new to the customer service table. It’s risky business if you’re not confident your service is spot on, but taking this plunge will shows brash conviction.

Do bare in mind though, that speed is really the essence. Edison Research have found that when a customer contacts brand via social media, they expect a response within an hour. Anything longer looks sloppy, ignored or too contrived: If companies don’t respond within the one hour time frame, 38% of people feel more negatively towards the brand, and (be warned) 60% will take action against the brand using social media.

Finally, have character. The likes of ASOS and Sainsbury’s have smashed this. Keeping their tone of voice always, being true to brand, whilst being personal enough to respond to tweets quickly and thoroughly. Of course, they have hoards in marketing on the case, a luxury to some in eCommerce, but keeping in mind that everything you post is as public as an ad you’re paying for, and making sure your team are trained in communication, is an absolute publicity must.

Rule #2 Chat

You knew it, of course this would be here. It’s the most blogged about of tools and one that’s seen a meteoric rise. It’s a great way of getting your customers directly to your team and spells personalised immediacy like nothing else. In fact, a recent study by Econsultancy showed that live chat has the highest level of customer satisfaction.

So, does this mean you need someone there all the time ready and waiting for the disgruntled or confused customer? It’s pretty much a yes when it comes to normal office / shop hours at the very least. Anything outside of that needs a carefully crafted automated response that states when the response will be sent by.

When it is manned, live chat has to be done well. The team answering need to be well-prepared with all important information to hand. Regular quality checks on copy skills are a real must, so that instead of gaining credibility the chat doesn’t mean you lose it.

Should you take the plunge? It depends on a few factors actually: For instance, how young is your target audience? Software Advice, recently surveyed consumers to learn more about their preferences towards live chat. They found that millennials massively prefer live chat over phone, whereas the opposite is true for those over 65.

Software varies, depending on your needs and preferences. For our clients Couverture and the Garbstore, they use Live Chat, whereas Neom use Zopim –  both with big success at getting customers chatting and questions answered in real time.

Rule #3 Details and FAQs

Transparency breeds trust, and detail in terms of products offers comfort to customers buying online. From in-depth product descriptions, plenty of photos of each product, to every detail anyone could want about shipping, delivery and payment – make sure it’s all there and totally obvious.

Do It Yourself most succinctly describes what the millennials want, and it’s increasingly seeping into all demographics as a fundamental expectation. A dedicated section that covers most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) helps users help themselves without having to bother (or bother your team) with making contact. And be accurate. It’s one thing selling to a one-off chancer, another to create loyalty – loyalty is the holy grail. Varying across businesses, but Zappos say that around 75% of their sales come from returning customers.

Take JH client, And So To Bed, their page detailing finance options gives everything that’s legally essential, but also clear charts, images and infographics showing how the options all work. Remembering that different customers prefer information displayed in a variety of ways – that’s just how learning works – they’ve made sure their messages are clear, that information can’t be ignored and is unlikely to be queried.

Once a customer has placed an order, keep reminding them you’re there, you’re bothered, and where exactly there item is. Email and text (SMS) push notifications have both become popular following Amazon’s lead. Many now automatically send customers an email or text notification at every main touchpoint of dispatch and delivery. It helps customers to feel they’ve got your attention after the purchase, as well as when you’re trying to reel them in to begin with.