How customer service differs in-store and online.
When a customer shops in your store, your well-trained staff is there to help them with any purchasing decisions they need to make. From offering assistance with brand or product recommendations, to being a personal, friendly face, your customers know that your staff is there for them. When a customer shops online on your website, the shopping experience becomes less intimate. Customers expect their online shopping experiences to be fast, easy, and convenient, while still the same quality of customer support that they would receive in your store. This can be challenging for many businesses, but building quality customer service online is one of the building blocks of e-commerce success.
Here are 7 tips and tricks to boost your e-commerce customer service.
1. Maintain Your Brand Voice
Make sure that the voice you use in your online interactions doesn’t convey automation, but instead reflects the same voice you would use with your customers in-store. Your customers, especially if they are used to shopping in your store, want to feel like they are speaking to someone who cares about their needs. Just because you aren’t speaking face to face with customers, doesn’t mean your store’s personality needs to be lost.
2. Create a Knowledge Base
Your business’ website should be a knowledge base for any and all information about your business that might be helpful to your customers. Information about your location(s), store hours, contact number and email address, types of products and services available, shipping and return policies, and more, should all be easily accessible to your customers. Use tabs on your navigation menu such as “About”, “Contact Us”, “FAQs”, “Shop”, etc. and add important links and information in the footer of your website as well. Having this information readily available will help your customers find the answers to their questions quickly and easily, without interrupting their shopping experience.
3. Offer Support Options
Offering your customers multiple ways to contact you, along with quick response times are a must. Having phone, email, and chat support options are important to meet the needs and expectations of different customers. If possible, extending the hours for these support services beyond your store hours, will ensure that customers shopping before or after the work day will receive the support they need. For chat support, make sure to have an option for when you are offline that allows customers to send you an email directly through the chat. By providing multiple options for your customers, you not only provide the convenience they are looking for, but you are also seen as a trusted and supportive business.
4. Showcase Reviews
Product reviews are a great way to help customers make purchasing decisions when shopping online. They allow your customers to see what other customers are buying, and this can make the online shopping experience more personal. Adding a page where you highlight “Our Staff’s Top Picks” or “Popular Products” is another great way to assist your customers online as you would in-store.
To learn more about reviews, check out our blog post The Importance of Reviews and How to Encourage Them
5. Utilize Social Media
Social media gives your customers a direct way to connect with your business. Staying active on your social media pages will show your customers that your business is progressive and growing, and a resource that they can rely on. Many customers will use your social media channels to contact you with questions about your business or products that you carry, and it’s important to be responsive and helpful. In fact, 63% of consumers expect businesses to offer customer service support via social media, and 71% of consumers who have had a positive customer service experience on social media with a business are likely to recommend it to others.
To learn more about interacting with your customers on social media, check out our blog posts The Importance of Engaging With Your Instagram Followers, and How to Boost Your Business’ Facebook Engagement
6. Optimize for Mobile
As of January 2020, more than half of all online shopping is now done on mobile devices. Now more than ever, it is important that your website is optimized for viewing on mobile devices. A great way to test your website’s mobile capabilities is Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test Site. Enter your website’s URL, and Google will tell you if your site is easy to use on a mobile device, or if you have page loading issues. Google will even give you suggestions to help make your site more compatible for mobile viewing.
To learn more about optimizing for mobile, check out DreamHost’s guide How to Optimize Your Site for Mobile. This has so many helpful resources and explanations for issues that you might be having with your site.
7. Keep in Touch
When a customer frequently shops in your store, it’s easy for your business to maintain a natural relationship with them and their pet. When a customer shops online, this relationship doesn’t come as naturally, since you and your staff are not directly assisting the customer. You can however, create and build this type of relationship online by keeping in touch with the customer.
When a customer makes a purchase, encourage them to create an account for your website and subscribe to your email list. This will make their next purchase easier and faster, and will allow you to be able to contact them via email and build a relationship there. Send emails to your online customers for 15% off their next online purchase, email them about your auto-ship program, product suggestions, or even in-store offers and events. This will build your customers’ trust and loyalty to your business online, and in-store!
We hope that these 7 tips and tricks help you boost your e-commerce customer service, and bring your business success! Remember, your online store should just be an extension of the store and community you already built!