When it comes to success, business owners and entrepreneurs tend to focus on three things to gain competitive advantage — Product, Location, & Price.
However, these fundamental elements to ensure business success seem to be fading away most especially with the rapid proliferation of online stores. In this technological era, customer service is king.
And it does not mean resolving issues alone.
Customers demand fast and timely response to their complaints.
These days, they have the power to influence how the audience think about a brand. When they feel frustrated with unaddressed issues, they turn to social media to vent out.
Sadly, a bad customer service reaches twice as many ears as praise for good customer service. Even if we say that bad publicity is still publicity, no entrepreneur wants any customer to feel indifferent about their business.
In this article, we will try to:
Before we proceed, let us first define what e-commerce customer service is.
E-commerce customer service is the act of taking care of an online shopper’s needs by providing and delivering professional and helpful assistance before, during, and after every sale of goods and services.
Almost everybody has experienced stints with customer service at one point. In a Consumer Report issue, it said that 88 percent of the respondents had done so. Their concerns range from questioning the bill, returning ill-fitting merchandise, scheduling an appointment, requesting a repair, etc.
The article notes that: “many [of the respondents] didn’t like the experience and had a problem with customer service. Half of them reported leaving a store without making their intended purchase because of poor service. Fifty-seven percent were so steamed that they hung up the phone without a resolution. Women were more annoyed than men, as were people over age 45.”
So what do those numbers mean?
These numbers just show us the impact of customer experience on the success of a business — or any business model for that matter. Since we are now talking about customer experience, let us touch that topic a bit.
According to Forbes, customer experience “can include a lot of elements, but it really boils down to the perception the customer has of your brand.”
Simply put, it is all about how a customer feels about your company. Even with a strong product an excellent team of trained personnel, a defective product or service that isn’t fixed or resolved in time can negatively affect how a customer views the company.
A major parameter of business success for any organization is sales.
And since we establish the notion that when we provide high-quality customer service, we can properly manage customer experience, is there a correlation between customer service and sales? In other words, if we provide high-quality customer service, can we have high volume in sales?
To answer these questions, let’s run some numbers from this infographic:
Imagine, four of 10 customers who visit your e-commerce site will purchase more from you if your staff are attentive to their needs. Also, many of them are willing to shell out more money if they have an awesome customer experience with you.
On the other hand, the majority of them who experienced bad customer service will either abandon their carts or are likely to go to your competitor. Plus, there’s a possibility of them ranting about your business on social media.
Again, a bad customer experience story that is posted on socials will spread faster than raves. And that will hit your company hard, as far as success goes.
Honestly, though, no firm has the perfect formula for delivering high quality customer service. Every business will get it wrong from time to time. The challenge here is how we deal with any problems. Even if there’s no perfect formula, we can transform a bad experience into a good one.
One article from Inc.com enumerates ways to turn their negative experience around. They are:
Any person who is having a hard time wants to vent that negativity out. So when a customer makes a call, the “three-ring” rule should be in effect. What is the “three-ring” rule? It is a phone etiquette that should not take you more than three rings before answering the phone. Prolonging the rings will make the customer feel neglected, and we do not want that.
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers for a moment to understand where they are coming from. Listen and, if it helps, take down notes to get the gist of their concern. In the article, CEO of Massage Outpost Rachel Beider says, “We mirror what the client is saying, so they feel they’ve been heard. We then validate their feelings, so they feel understood. Lastly, we use empathy so they feel we’re on their side. Most people just want to be heard and feel understood, even if you disagree.”
And as far as active listening goes, founder and managing attorney at Florida Law Advisers, P.A. Matthew Podolsky offer great advice, “Too often we focus on what to say next, rather than listening. Give them time to express their concerns and then let them know you understand and sympathize with their frustration.”
It is common knowledge for us that when customers call us, it means they need help. So it is best to proactively fix it to the best of our abilities. It is bad to say to our customers, “We’re thinking of doing this way, is that okay with you?” Instead, directly offer solutions you can do for them, such as issuing a full or partial refund or offer a free month of service or research the answer for them. Also, do not forget to say, “What more can I do to help?” That is how we proactively ‘fix’ the problem.
At this point, it is pretty clear that e-commerce customer service is an important piece for our success puzzle. Now, how can we utilize that and make it a competitive advantage?
Putting together past conversations can paint you a clearer picture of things that frustrates our customers. This picture can help you develop effective questions you can ask in the future.
When we have the records in place, you can now identify what’s the best way we can take for any situation. When we understand what they want, we can determine the best way to handle it.
Bottom line, when customers feel comfortable to immediately call your contact center for help, that’s an advantage for your company. It only means that they have full confidence in your company as a whole. And when they are confident, they will not think twice in buying things and services from your online store which can bring success to your company.
Interested in outsourcing e-commerce customer service from a reputable call center company? Contact us now!