Thanks to the advancement of technology, businesses are not limited to just brick-and-mortar stores. To reach more consumers, they’ve expanded their stores to the Internet. Shopify’s research shows that the profit from brick-and-mortar sales matches the revenue from online stores. Therefore, opening an online store is logical.
According to Ecommerce Platforms, the Internet has seen a rise in the number of online stores. The study estimates that there are approximately 24 million active online stores on the world wide web. This growth indicates that the importance of customer service for eCommerce has become increasingly significant. Businesses have prioritized an impeccable and personalized customer experience to stand out from the competition.
If you just started your business or have been running it for a while, you may ask how vital customer service is for your online business. You may also wonder how to improve your eCommerce customer service for long-term growth. Find out the answers to your questions by reading this article.
To understand the definition, we will break down the terms into two parts: eCommerce and customer service. eCommerce is the process of buying and selling products online, whereas customer service is the actions businesses take to satisfy their consumers. When combined, eCommerce customer service refers to assisting online visitors with shopping from a store on the internet.
There are many ways a business can guide its consumers throughout their purchase journey. One such approach is by providing live chat support to younger consumers who prefer text-based digital support. Statistics from Comm100 indicate that millennials prefer to seek help via live chat compared to other channels.
However, text-based channels can’t replace other methods to contact customer service and escalate any issues. This infographic from Invoca shows that 75% of the surveyed consumers still call a company to receive assistance because they feel it’s the fastest way to reach a representative, which is crucial for escalating complex problems. The same study also reveals that company executives believe that phone support is among the most popular channels compared to social media support and in-person assistance.
On the other hand, some businesses have also started providing digital voice assistants and video chat support for their consumers to help them with any escalation processes. This strategy resonates with research from Voicebot.ai in 2018, which states that 22% of people who own smart speakers in the US alone have bought something with their device. Zendesk also reveals that 41% of the surveyed businesses say their consumers prefer to contact their company digitally during the global pandemic peak.
From this definition alone, eCommerce customer service compasses numerous methods and channels to accommodate various consumers’ needs. Next, let us examine why eCommerce customer service is essential for your business
Whether you only have one store or more than one across the nation, you should still consider investing in customer service for eCommerce. A report published by McKinsey & Company unveils that around 70% of the surveyed consumers make their purchasing decisions based on how they feel about a company’s customer service. In other words, providing your consumers with excellent service will make your consumers likelier to make another purchase from your business.
However, many other compelling reasons exist for investing in eCommerce customer service. You can find these reasons in the following points.
Statista has demonstrated that the worldwide revenue for eCommerce has been rising steadily over the past eight years. According to the same study, it’s reached more than USD 5.2 trillion in 2022. It also estimates that the revenue will grow to more than USD 8 trillion in 2026. Another statistic from Statista has also indicated that mobile purchase accounts for around USD 3.56 trillion of the aforementioned global eCommerce sales revenue in 2021.
The staggering amount of profits has something to do with the consumers’ spending frequency. Datereportal states that 58.4% of the surveyed Internet users purchase a new product weekly. A breakdown of the survey shows that these consumers spend the most money on two types of goods: electronic gadgets (USD 988.4 billion) and fashion products (USD 904.5 billion). All of this past research shows the potential for growth in eCommerce, which is why more businesses are expanding their stores online.
With the oversaturation in the eCommerce market, businesses have looked toward providing a human touch to their online store. Current customer service trends have also proven that consumers want such a strategy in their online shopping experience.
A study on customer experience conducted by PwC indicates that 75% of the survey respondents say they prefer to receive assistance from a live person, even if the company has provided them with automated channels.
Another report from Microsoft reveals that 90% of the surveyed consumers expect any form of online portal on the website they visit. It’s safe to say that this result also applies to eCommerce stores. You can use these online portals to give your online store a human touch that automated chatbots can’t provide.
One such instance is a thank-you note that your representatives can send to consumers after a chat session or purchase. A case study from Donors Choose revealed that 38% of people who received a handwritten note of gratitude from the staff were more likely to donate their blood next time. While a handwritten letter can be hard to send online, you can still apply this principle to your customer service.
For your business to flourish, you, as a business owner, need to construct a plan based on data. One of the ways you can do this is by collecting your consumers’ responses to the service they received from your representatives. From there, you can also examine the pain point that prompts your consumers to contact customer service in the first place.
Ultimately, your service is the most determining factor for your consumers in choosing where to buy their products. Bain & Company shows that consumers are more likely to leave your business if they have a problem with your customer service than product-related issues. However, that’s not the only research to support this sentiment.
According to a blog post from Khoros, 83% of consumers feel more loyal to a brand that listens to their complaints and improves the service they provide based on the comments. In other words, collecting feedback from your consumers and acting on them shows how much you value them, which translates into better retention rates and sales revenue.
You can utilize the intelligent features offered by your customer support tools to provide remarkable service for your consumers. Even so, you need to manually optimize some things from your customer service to maximize the benefits of a fantastic customer experience. Here are some best practices to enhance eCommerce customer service.
To help your customer service representatives provide personalized solutions for your consumers, they should be able to look for all records of the respective consumer quickly. A dedicated all-in-one inbox helps them search for past interactions with the customer to identify their likes and dislikes. Aside from making their job more practical, the inbox can also help them keep track of essential internal communications from their team and other teams.
Various customer support tools are available on the market and come with many features. You should choose based on what your business needs. No matter your choice, you can’t compromise user-friendliness. Before your team uses the software, test it by yourself first so that you can anticipate and fix any potential problems.
Different target demographics prefer specific support channels. If you want your business to have a more diverse customer base, you should consider providing omnichannel support that compasses text, video, and voice channels. Know that older consumers prefer phone and email support, whereas younger consumers like to use live chat and social media to resolve their problems.
Microsoft’s report discovered that 86% of consumers expect businesses to provide self-support resources in their online stores. An organized knowledge base helps your consumers search for the solution they need, solving their problems more quickly. This knowledge base can also help your employees find a resource the consumer may have missed while reading. In short, self-service is a win-win solution for your business.
Making your eCommerce website or app more user-friendly will bolster your sales and customer retention in the long run. An article by Zippia shows that 70% of users abandon their shopping cart due to a website’s clunky interface, costing your business revenue. That’s why you should ensure your website or app has a functional search feature and an organized page category layout.
A post from Business2Community states that personalization results in 15% more business profits. Meanwhile, according to the same study, 75% of consumers choose to buy products from stores that recognize their names, needs and buying preferences. You can tailor your product recommendations and services based on your consumers’ approximate geographic location and search keywords.
According to a study by Convince and Convert, only 24% of businesses respond to negative customer reviews regularly. The same survey also discovered that 92% of consumers wouldn’t consider purchasing a product from a company with a one or two-star rating. You can gain more consumers by providing any form of resolution in your responses to negative reviews and improving your services based on the feedback.
While providing 24/7 live support online is almost impossible, you can still improve your response time by using chatbots. Chatbots will respond to any consumer inquiries sent outside your business hours, so your consumers won’t feel neglected when they don’t receive a reply. After all, according to an article by Forbes, not responding to angry or frustrated consumers will result in negative PR.
Most modern eCommerce customer service platforms have analytics and reporting functionality to help you measure your business performance. You should habitually monitor and analyze the data generated by this feature, then apply the findings to your business strategy. Don’t forget to test your plan’s effectiveness and find what you can improve based on the data.
Since the previous section has shown the importance of investing in eCommerce customer service during the rise of online shopping, you may wonder how it will help you achieve your business KPIs. Furthermore, you may want to know what eCommerce customer service can bring to your company and its effects on long-term growth. Below is the list of benefits that you can reap from providing customer support for eCommerce.
In a report by Curatti, 73% of the respondents stated that they know about a brand and form positive feelings for it from its excellent customer service. The consumer can either experience the service themselves or hear a secondhand story from someone else. After all, 52% of worldwide customer service interactions start from online channels, according to a report from Microsoft.
Research from Gladly also reinforces this finding with its results, stating that 62% of consumers who were delighted with the service they received will recommend the said brand to their friends and families. Since 88% of consumers tend to research business and product reviews before purchasing something, as supported by a study from Dimensional Research, this leads to more people recognizing your brand.
Multiply this effect with tens of thousands of consumers, and you will see an increase in conversion rate. If you look forward to improving your conversion rate and achieving your KPI, customer service for eCommerce is an effective strategy.
Past research from Invesp has shown that spending company expenses on acquiring new consumers are more costly than keeping existing consumers loyal to your brand. A study published by Zippia in 2022 states that customer retention costs six to seven times cheaper than acquisition. If you think you can offset the expenses by promoting your products to more new consumers, you couldn’t be further from the truth.
The same results from Zippia also show that companies have a better chance at a 60-70% success rate of offering their products to current consumers instead of new buyers. In contrast, companies only have a 5-20% success rate of making new buyers purchase their products.
While promotions and rewards are adequate incentives for introducing new consumers to your business, the study above by Zippia found that only 37% of consumers stay loyal to a brand because of promotions. Compare this with customer service, which sits at 56%, and product quality at 74%, the highest among all categories.
It’s no secret that happy consumers will likely spend more money on your business, leading to higher revenues. Numerous studies have also supported the importance of satisfying your consumers with your service. Netomi has also unveiled that 77% of the surveyed consumers believe impeccable customer service is essential to maintaining a good consumer relationship and generating revenues.
Customer Thermometer agrees with this sentiment by stating that 13% of the respondents in its study are willing to pay more expensive costs, up to 50% more, if they feel that your business provides terrific service. This study shows that you don’t need to be afraid of increasing your product costs at the risk of losing your consumers as long as you treat your buyers well.
In fact, you can gain more profit from purchases made by loyal consumers to offset the increase in production costs. Salesforce Research reveals that 89% of the surveyed consumers will likely make a repeat purchase from your company should they deem your services outstanding. The same research by Salesforce also shows that 78% of the respondents would be willing to give the company another chance after a blunder if they’re delighted with its customer service.
Once you understand the best practices you need to start implementing for your business, look for ways to improve your eCommerce customer service. You can find the strategies to strengthen the fundamentals of your customer support in this list.
Research by Microsoft reveals that 77% of the survey respondents respond better to companies that solicit and accept customer feedback. You can’t make an objective hypothesis about how your business is performing without your consumers’ responses. That’s why you should ask for feedback from your consumers by sending a link to a satisfaction survey at the end of a chat session. This way, you’ll have enough data to analyze with your eCommerce customer support software.
Collecting data from your consumers is just the beginning. The feedback you obtain from your consumers won’t be helpful if you don’t compile them. Once you have finished collating the customer satisfaction data, you should analyze it with the analytics function provided by your customer support tool. Make it a point to identify the number one aspect with which your consumers are dissatisfied, then see how it compares to history.
A figure from Statista demonstrates that the leading source of frustration for 12% of US consumers when seeking support is slow response time. It proves that responding promptly to your consumers is essential for your business's longevity. Moreover, regular communication with your consumers will make them more likely to purchase a product from you again, according to research by Forrester and Braze in 2018.
Zendesk’s report reveals that 76% of the surveyed consumers expect businesses to personalize their interactions. You can answer this expectation by utilizing the personal data provided with your consumers’ consent, such as geolocation information and past purchases. Another research from Khoros uncovers another astonishing insight; 68% of respondents are willing to spend more money for a brand that understands their needs, so make it a habit to know your consumers on a deeper level.
When you provide eCommerce customer service for your consumers, there are some things that you must consider for a positive experience and business growth. Learn what you should and shouldn’t do in customer service for eCommerce to help you better formulate your plans.
When helping a consumer with their problem, be clear on what you can and cannot do to avoid miscommunication. The expectation management should also apply to the scope of your product so that your consumer knows the limits of the goods they purchase. In other words, being straightforward about your business limitations to the consumers is better.
According to a report from Forrester, 77% of consumers are likely to do business with companies that value their time. Another study by Comm100 also found that 71% of 16-24-year-old consumers feel that a quick answer from the customer support team can improve their shopping experience. You must aim for less than 10 minutes of first response to enhance your customer service.
You should mean it when you promise to get back to a consumer after working on their issue for several hours, days, or weeks. KPMG’s research revealed that 90% of consumers worldwide think that how your business solves their problems is the most crucial aspect of customer service. If they’re unsatisfied with the resolution, Salesforce states they can simply switch to your competitor, and the ease of technology helps them do so.
A different report from Business Wire indicates that 60% of consumers seek friendliness in the service they receive from your business. One way to demonstrate how amiable you are when serving your consumers is to show gratitude. Saying thank you at any chance shows how much you value your customers. Another research from Khoros states that 75% of consumers want an authentic human voice in their business interactions, so ensure that your gratitude message appeals to the consumers’ emotions.
Harris Interactive’s research shows an astonishing result of how many consumers feel that businesses ignore their complaints. The findings indicate that 79% of the respondents see companies do nothing about their negative feedback for their service.
Neglecting your consumers’ feedback is a form of lousy customer service that can cause them to leave your business altogether. A study from Microsoft proves that 56% of consumers switch to another competitor due to terrible service. Therefore, you should always ask for consumer feedback and implement them where possible.
While it’s good to personalize your service, over-personalizing with details about your consumers obtained without their consent can backfire. Salesforce’s report demonstrates that 92% prefer businesses that give them a choice on which personal data they can submit. The same study also shows that 88% of consumers trust companies with robust data privacy and security policies. That’s why you should be careful with the data you use in your interactions.
The premade templates and automated responses from eCommerce live chat software can be a time-saver for your employees. However, sending canned responses as they are without modifying them to the current context can make your consumers feel disappointed. As demonstrated by an infographic from Cyara, 71% of respondents believe that an impersonal conversation frustrates them.
HubSpot’s research shows that 66% of consumers want companies to understand their needs. One of the needs encompassed in their demand is convenience. If you have a hard-to-follow checkout process, your consumers will likely stop doing business with you. A study from PwC indicates that 59% of survey respondents will no longer purchase anything from a brand if it fails to provide them with impeccable service several times. To prevent this, make it a point to simplify your business process as much as possible.
Both retail and eCommerce have their own set of customer support issues. Due to the online aspect of eCommerce, problems with order tracking and return are more prominent. When you pinpoint a bottleneck in your business process that hampers your eCommerce customer service, pay attention to some of the most common aspects listed below:
Unlike retail stores, your consumers can’t walk into a building with a defective or damaged product to return it when shopping online. According to Ready Cloud, having a solid and straightforward return policy will save you time and money since 81% of consumers want an easy product return process.
Implementing the most widely used payment method for your eCommerce checkout process can enhance your consumers’ shopping experience. For example, according to statistics, most businesses accept PayPal, an online payment website that has seen incredible growth in transactions per account throughout the past eight years. Find out which payment methods are the most common for your customers and add them to your website.
A function that allows your consumers to track the current location of their package is crucial for your business. Proship estimates that 97% of consumers expect an order tracking feature in their eCommerce app or website. The functionality also helps reduce your consumers’ anxiety because it lets them locate their missing package and report the loss to the service provider as soon as possible.
If you’re looking forward to installing a new eCommerce customer service application for your business, you can consider some of the most widely used tools for business owners. Take a look at the following list and make notes of what essential features you need to look for to know which one you should choose.
Donut.cx is an omni-channel engagement platform for customer support and sales teams. It provides a multi-agent team inbox for contextual customer support and delight, automatically routing customers to the most suitable agents, and allowing for personalized engagement. The platform also includes features for measuring campaign success and providing insights into top-performing campaigns.
Gorgias streamlines your customer interactions with 1:1 centralization and empowers your support team with automation. With Gorgias, you can enhance your sales and support efforts by adding a fast-loading chat widget to your storefront and launching a chat campaign that offers proactive support or drives sales.
Gladly enables commerce brands to elevate their customer service and foster customer loyalty through meaningful multichannel relationships. Our platform eliminates the need for tickets and allows agents to work on a single screen for each customer. Gladly's native chat support allows for quick responses to frequently asked questions and a seamless transition to other channels without loss of context for your agents.
With Kustomer, you can offer your customers a faster and more comprehensive experience through omnichannel messaging, a single view of the customer, and AI-driven automations. With Kustomer, you can effortlessly manage repetitive service requests by deploying custom bots across chat, social media, and messaging platforms.
Customer service for eCommerce proves vital for your business because it provides a human presence for your online store. Gauging your consumers’ responses from their facial expressions is difficult when you rely on text-based online communication. An eCommerce customer support tool can help you and your employees give your consumers the best-personalized experience they deserve.
An excellent service will result in better conversion rates, brand awareness, and profit. Therefore, you must enhance eCommerce customer service by utilizing consumer feedback to maximize these advantages. Conversely, you should avoid complicating your consumers’ journey with a non-transparent returns policy and lack of essential online shopping features, such as order tracking and widely used payment methods.
Do you have plans to implement live chat software for your eCommerce customer service? Donut.cx is another option you can consider if that's the case. Our professionals can assist you with integrating your online store platform to elevate your D2C brand. Donut.cx also helps you sell products effortlessly, personalize communications with your consumers, simplify business workflows, and organize your interactions in one inbox.
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A good eCommerce customer service acknowledges the consumer’s need to tailor a solution based on their problems. However, providing a customized solution isn’t enough; you must also respond to consumers quickly to prevent the issue from escalating.
Customer service plays a vital role in eCommerce stores. Even though you and your consumers can’t see each other’s facial expressions and body language, your business can still provide multiple support channels to give your consumers the best shopping experience. E-commerce customer service allows you to answer consumer inquiries in real time.
No matter the scale of the business, it’s a wise decision for online retailers to invest in eCommerce customer service because it goes a long way to satisfy consumers. More delighted consumers will result in better brand loyalty and brand recognition from good reviews. In return, these benefits will bolster your long-term business profitability too.
E-commerce can improve customer satisfaction by allowing consumers to shop and do other things simultaneously, making it more practical. They can also pay for their products and have them delivered the next day or even on the same day with just a single click. In other words, eCommerce provides a more seamless and instant shopping process for consumers who prefer to stay in one place instead of traveling to buy something.
You can start by making a more straightforward checkout process and easy-to-follow return and refund guidelines to optimize your eCommerce customer service. These two strategies go hand in hand with answering consumer chats and recommending a personalized solution for them to elevate your eCommerce customer service.
While the answer highly depends on the volume of your consumers, experts recommend spending at least 1-2% of your revenue on eCommerce customer experience programs. You can use the expenditures to hire more agents to accommodate a spike in the chat volume, provide more specialized customer service training, or even upgrade your eCommerce customer service software plans.
Enhance customer loyalty with Donut.cx