In today’s highly competitive online market, building and nurturing long-term relationships and exceeding customer expectations are the only ways to emerge as a successful e-commerce brand. Providing exceptional customer service in a timely manner, driving stronger bonds with your customers and getting to know them on a more personal level are critical factors to stand apart from the competition.
E-commerce companies can’t afford to wait for customers to start screaming out their problems and then solve them. Customers have moved on, across channels and within no time can outburst their frustrations on their favourite social media channel. One blog post or one tweet can reach thousands of people and can easily ruin your brand image in a flash.
Customers expect you to be there all the time, even before they have an issue. Reducing customer effort helps in creating customer loyalty. So, by offering multi-channel customer service, companies can make their customers’ lives much easier which in turn would lead to higher customer loyalty and up-surged business revenues.
This blog post explores how multi-channel customer service is a strategic way to administer all customer related questions about your business and describes the different channels available to deliver an outstanding experience to customers.
Personalize Email Communications to Foster Stronger Customer Relationships
Effective email communication propagates long-term customer relationships. Emails sent via storefront regarding order confirmation, order status, post-order follow-ups, request for product reviews and so on should be customized to keep the customers updated and encourage future orders. Companies can effectively leverage advanced tools to segment and market to customers with personalized offers via e-mails. Then can also send custom messages for cross-selling and up-selling purposes.
It is equally significant to track and respond to customer enquiries without any delay. Give them the liberty to provide genuine feedback from the storefront so that you can review the responses. If a particular question is asked by many customers, then you can add this question to the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ in the storefront to trim down the load on your employees who handle email customer queries.
Embrace Live Chat Services to Communicate with Customers in Real-Time
An independent survey on Ecommerce site usage points that 27% customers liked having an instant messaging / online chat box appear to ask if they needed help with their online research or purchase.
Live Chat capability enables companies to always stay in touch with the customers and continually be available to answer any immediate questions asked by them. Utilizing Live Chat is convenient for customers as they get the answers quickly and don’t have to make expensive phone calls to ask the same. Through this feature, a sales rep can easily help the customers in deciding the best product they should buy that suit their requirements.
Live Chat is also a perfect platform for companies to find up-selling opportunities. After solving a customer’s enquiry, the sales rep can instantly make the customer aware about the related or complimentary products, current sale/offers going on or the discount coupon available for the product that the customer has decided to purchase. The shopping cart abandonment rate can be heavily reduced if live chat reps will help the customers in completing and submitting their orders.
According to a Forrester Research study, 44% of customers stated that having a question answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.
Leverage the Potential of Social Media
According to conversocial 88% of the customers are unlikely to buy from brands that leave complaints on social media, unanswered. So, besides spreading positive word-of-mouth on social media platforms, companies should also carefully listen to the comments and reviews made by the consumers in order to manage their reputation in a better way. Responding to a complaint immediately and accepting your fault on public platforms will surely leave a positive impact on your target audience. The key here is to be as responsive and active on the social media accounts and aim to answer all the queries within one hour.
32% of customers voicing their concerns on Twitter expect a response within thirty minutes, and 42% expect a response within the hour. As Twitter is the most effective mediums to offer social media support, you really can’t ignore these numbers as an e-commerce company.
Actively listening to what people are saying about you and your competitors on social media will be effective in collecting information about the target market which can further be used to upgrade your product and services. Proactive listening is also an ideal way to find potential customers for your brands.
Inbound Phone Support
Telephone is going to remain a major communication tool for many customers. It can create a positive impression if the customer service agents are knowledgeable enough to assist customers effectively and expeditiously. However, it can also lead to customer frustration and resentment if they are kept on hold for long or if have to deal with irritating IVR menus amidst confusing options.
According to a survey, call queues and having to select multiple options are the two biggest service-related bugbears for customers.
Additionally, offering quality personal phone support also helps ecommerce companies in the following ways:
- Talking to them directly makes it easier for organizations to understand their customers especially if you are a new company. Various things can be learnt by conversing with them which is not possible through an email communication.
- It is easier to build rapport with the customers through a telephonic conversation which can transform a lead to a lifetime customer.
- While buying expensive items, many customers would like to talk to a company representative before pressing the “BUY” button. It aids in building trust among the consumers.
Appropriately responding to customers over telephone will spread positive word of mouth and surely give rise to increased customer satisfaction and retention and improved customer advocacy.
As customers become increasingly aware of the advantages and capabilities of multiple communication mediums, the demand for multi-channel support is growing. They want to be guided and helped by the company on their channel of choice. So, companies must inform their customers about the various channels on which they offer support and use proactive communications to increase the usage and awareness of their multi-channel support.
Organizations should also optimize their multi-channel support to create a seamless cross-channel experience. For example, if the customer has filled a form online and then transitions to another channel, say telephone, for support, they expect that the information provided in the earlier channel has been transferred to the other one and he will not have to repeat the same information again.
The underlying factor behind multi-channel support is to present a unified face to the customers. A company may have thousands of employees and can sell online and offline but bear in mind that the customers see you as one company.