Having an online store is a promising bet. According to eMarketer, the e-commerce sector is prepared to experience a growth of USD $4 trillion in 2020. This forecast suggests that 14.6% of all consumer spending will be in the retail sector online.

In addition to the projections, the current reality shows the difficult scenario for traditional retailers (physical stores). According to market research done by Clark.com published on March 29, 2018, in 2017 more than 5,000 stores were closed and more than 2,000 announced its closure in recent months. CNN suggests that in the United States market, one of the major causes is the rise of Amazon, the most important marketplace in the U.S.


customer-service

One way to make you Online Store stand out from the competition is to focus your strategy on excellent customer service, that is, the support you offer your customers before and after buying and using your products or services. This can work as a marketing tactic both in the stage of the positioning of the brand and when gaining the loyalty of your customers. Think about your customers; how to make their experience in your store easier and more enjoyable. Good customer service implies a deep knowledge of your inventory, experience with your products and being available to help your customers make better decisions.

To have a better understanding of your customer it is also recommended to create a buyer persona and a customer journey map.


Contents

  1. Why is it so important?
  2. Support channels for your client
  3. Conclusion

Why is it so important?

Let's see figures according to HelpScout, a customer service software that works with more than 8,000 businesses in 140 countries:

  • 89% of buyers have stopped doing business with a company after a negative experience of customer service.

  • 78% of consumers have not completed a purchase attempt because of a poor service experience.

  • It is 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire a new buyer than to keep a frequent one.

  • By far, the most requested improvement from customers is "Better human service".


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Infographic: HelpScout ("The Cost of Poor Customer Service" by Genesys Global Survey, 2009)

The most important thing is the communication of the team or individual that serves your customers (customer support). For this, you have several channel options. It is not mandatory to have them all! You can choose the one that best suits your business.


Support channels for your client

E-mail

Providing a contact email is the easiest way to start.

Good practices:

  1. Separate your personal email from the inbox of your online store so you can prevent yourself from answering important emails.

  2. It is advisable to have an email with the name of a person over a general one such as contacto@mitienda.com. This makes the client feel like talking to a person.

  3. Set up an automatic auto-answer option to warn that the email was received and that someone will answer the question as soon as possible.

According to Helpscout, 41% of consumers expect an email response in less than six hours. In reality, 36% of retailers respond this fast. Therefore, here you have an opportunity to stand out with a short response time. An interesting case is that of Wistia, a software to create videos. They are recognized for their excellent customer service. They had the contact phone visible on their website but realized that they could not answer the large number of calls they received efficiently. Hence, they made the decision to remove the telephone number and answer the concerns of their customers via Email.

Tools that you can use:

See: How to configure the email integration with Jumpseller


Social Networks

If you want to build a relationship with your customers, you have to be present on the popular social networks they are prone to use. Be advised! Do not make the mistake of creating an account and 80% of the time you are talking about of your brand and what you offer. On the contrary, the proportion should be 20% self-promotion and 80% relevant, original content for your audience.

Another key point is the selection of networks. While multichannel can work to position yourself, if you are starting, it is best to research your market and know what your network consumption behavior is. Some recommendations:

  1. Interview with 5 to 10 clients that represent the ideal profile for you. Ask them what their favorite social network is, where they share content, where they seek product recommendations, which channel they follow their favorite brands, and where they connect with family, friends, and colleagues.

  2. Check which social networks are present similar to yours.

  3. Check content sites where your potential customers could arrive and see which social network they share the most.

A quick look at the trends of social networks, based on the report published by Pew Research Center:

  • YouTube: 94% of its users are between 18 and 24 (Growing in popularity, ideal for creating educational content about your product).

  • Facebook: 80% of its users are between 24 and 49.

  • Snapchat: 78% are between 18 and 24 (The first love in social networks of millennials, now almost displaced by Instagram).

  • Instagram: 71% are between 18 and 24 (The best social network to sell products that can be used for photos and videos.) Already launched in the US and Spain the shopping option where brands can tag their products to sell on their Web).

  • Twitter: 45% are between 18 and 24 (the brands of mass consumption products are very much used to track what they say about them and converse with customers.) Twitter is the network where the good and bad are expanding the fastest experiences).

Of all the social networks, one of the most effective for customer support is Twitter. However, as its dynamics are so fast if you do not have the capacity to respond in less than 30 minutes, it is better not to use it because it can bring you reputation problems exposed before thousands of people. Another factor to take into account is that 30% of consumers share their positive experiences with brands on social networks, while 45% share the negative ones.

Good practices:

  1. If you are going to advertise on social networks, be sure to monitor all comments and respond in public so people can see that you listen, listen and resolve. Then, you can invite the person to solve the case in a more private channel.

  2. On Facebook, there is an option to set up automatic responses when someone writes you to the inbox. If you have an average time to respond, tell your client. For example: Hello! Thank you for communicating with us. In a maximum of 2 hours, we will respond.

  3. Try to answer comments in networks in an hour or two. With the exception of Twitter that we mentioned, it is ideally less than 30 minutes.

Tools that you can use:

Manage all networks from one platform:


Live Chat

According to TrendWatching, one of the 5 most important trends in business in the coming years is the evolution of virtual assistants towards virtual partners. This means that we have already passed to the next level after simply having a robot or some programmed answers in a chat. Now, people expect a human to accompany their problems and needs. Live Chat is the most powerful approach tool of all. Why? Because it gives the feeling of intimacy and is easily accessible (do not think about calling an international number and leave you waiting). A study by Econsultancy showed that live chat has the highest level of customer satisfaction. Of the 24% of the consumers surveyed who once used this medium, 73% declared to be happy with that experience.

If you are going to advertise on social networks, be sure to monitor all comments and respond in public so people can see that you listen, listen and resolve. Then, you can invite the person to solve the case in a more private channel. On Facebook, there is an option to set up automatic responses when someone writes you to the inbox. If you have an average time to respond, tell your client. For example: Hello! Thank you for communicating with us. In a maximum of 2 hours, we will respond. Try to answer comments in networks in an hour or two. With the exception of Twitter that we mentioned, it is ideally less than 30 minutes.

Good practices

  1. Communicate the times you are available in the chat and offers the possibility of sending you messages offline.

  2. To speed up communication, you can have a list of frequently asked questions already answered on a page of your store and lead your customer to them if their concerns are basic. In Jumpseller you can integrate the Powr.io app that allows you, among other features, to include FAQs in the pages you want.

  3. Change the word problem by the question: How can I help you? Avoid saying I do not know, in return answer: Excellent question, I will find an answer.

Tools that you can use:


Support by Phone

The telephone is the most humanized way to serve a customer. Therefore, if you are dealing with a high voltage issue, it is the best way to solve it. Also, if you are starting, what better channel to meet your buyers?

Good practices:

  1. Get ready for the call by knowing the products and their policies well. If a client suspects that you are not sure, tensions will increase.

  2. Take some time to build a connection, to get to know the person you're dealing with, so you can be empathetic about the issue you're trying to solve.

  3. The more expensive the products, the more likely the customer wants to talk to the store directly.

  4. Design your website based on the order of priority of contact you want the user to perceive. For example, if you want the phone to be the last option, leave it at the bottom of the homepage or on an internal page.

  5. Do not become rigid in politics. Sometimes you have to break the rules. Remember that there is a human behind, not a machine.

Related to this last practice, there is a very good example of Trader Joe´s, an American chain of supermarkets: An 89-year-old man was in his house unable to leave because of the snow in Pennsylvania. His daughter was worried that she could not have enough food given the climatic conditions of the area.

After calling many stores and in a desperate attempt to find one that would deliver the goods to her dad's house, she found Trader Joe's, who told her that although in those circumstances they would not normally do the address, that time they were going to deliver directly to her dad's house. In addition, they suggested other items that could fit into their low sodium diet. They even told her not to worry about the price, that the order would be delivered without charges and that they wished her Merry Christmas. After 30 minutes, the food was at the door of the man completely paid.

There should be a degree of flexibility shown to the customers, this makes customers more loyal to you.

Tools that you can use:

If you do not want to leave your personal phone, here are some ways to receive calls:


Help Center

The function of a help center is to facilitate autonomy to your client. You may have a larger buyer who prefers a phone call, but you may also have among your customers those that fall into the Millennials category (that type of person who reached adulthood after the year 2000). They are intuitive and like to be able to do what they can by themselves.

Good practices:

Build a portal in your online store that has a forum where the same users can ask and answer each other, a contact area and frequently asked questions (FAQ).

Tools that you can use:


Conclusion

Customer service is the secret weapon of an e-Commerce and being online the key to developing it in an extraordinary way is to build effective, close and diverse communication channels. If you have to choose which one to leave, a contact form and a support email is the minimum.

Remember to also build your profiles on one or more social networks where your clients are and keep in mind: word of mouth is still the best marketing channel. How to make them talk about you? Deliver an incredible experience in your store! When things go wrong, do not be afraid to be creative, most people give brands second chances if they can provide good service.

To learn more about customer service, check out: