As an online retailer, you should know that customer support, when done right, can mean all the difference between earning a customer for life or stirring them to a competitor. That alone can make or break your business.
Customer support is a service designed to answer all questions your shoppers might have, resolve any issues, and establish trust, which ultimately convinces the shopper to make a purchase.
If you are still on the fence about the matter and how customer support impacts your business, keep on reading.
Below you will learn why developing this segment of your business might be among the most important steps you will take and why it is crucial to do everything you can to satisfy your customers (who will, in return, come back to your online store).
People forget products, but they remember services
Seeing that your customers have no personal interaction with your brand when shopping online, the only remaining touchpoint with the business would be through customer support.
You can send hundreds of free products as a sign of appreciation, but the best way to show how much you really care about your client is through establishing some kind of personal connection. Customers don’t navigate to your website only to look for products. In fact, they often come searching for information and solutions to their problems.
That’s why you should consciously design content experience that reduces your customer’s uncertainties, solves potential problems, answers common questions, and defines clear shipping and returns expectations.
Understandably, only a few business-owners can provide all these support requirements. Still, you should at least aim to establish a direct avenue for customer support.
Start by creating a dedicated email address, phone number, a Twitter handle or live chat function for such a purpose. Also, remember to explain when the customer can expect a response and reply within the timeframe you have provided.
Once your customers see how much effort you are putting in, be certain they will reward you with their loyalty. They will remember convenient interactions and develop trust. In return, the chances of getting them to shop at your store again will dramatically increase.
Top-notch customer support equals trust
Any business that aims for long-term success needs to be able to rely on customer loyalty. This kind of loyalty is precious, delicate, and difficult to establish, especially in the eCommerce industry. It can determine whether you are bound to reach sustainable eCommerce success or fail.
Naturally, great customer support service will impact loyalty to a significant extent. And, once you can reliably generate loyal customers, you give yourself an advantage over the vast majority of your rivals.
The market is filled with competitors, and if your customer support isn’t meeting the grade, even in a single parameter, online shoppers won’t look too far to find a new store that does better business in your niche.
Finally, as an eCommerce brand, you most likely have to work harder than any other business to retain customers and build trust. So, do your best to provide top-notch customer support services and shoppers will notice that.
Don’t risk having your shoppers leave without explanation because of bad customer service.
One direct inquiry may be the only contact you’ll ever have with a customer
You are probably wondering what this means.
- Why are direct inquiries so important?
- How can you determine if you will only have a single interaction with a customer through an inquiry?
It’s simple. Every single person has most likely dealt with some kind of issue with a product at least once in a lifetime. Some have to deal with these issues more often than others. Such instances are perfectly understandable.
As a retailer, you need to be aware that the way you handle an issue may determine whether it will be satisfactory or, on the other hand, your last interaction with a certain customer. You can never know who is going to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year buying your products, so every client should be equally valued.
When you provide great customer support service, you make sure ‘this one’ interaction goes well because that very interaction can be the difference between tens of thousands of dollars in revenue or a negative online review.
Also, never look for someone, or something, to blame if you fail at providing great customer support services, no matter the size of your business. Today you have great tools like Zendesk or a Zendesk alternative (Gorgias, ServiceGuru, Samanage, and so on) to help you along the way.
These software tools make it really easy to manage your customers’ issues. Therefore, if you invest enough effort, you will see the results.
Customer support impacts your brand’s image
Certainly, almost everyone you know has at least one social media account. There are numerous platforms where people can express their opinions about anything. It seems that unhappy supporters are almost spoiled for choice when it comes to publishing their discontent for everyone to see.
It is worth noting that your customer support can either make or break your image. That is, if you provide bad customer support service, the negative reviews and comments people post online could tarnish your reputation.
Even a single wrong move can result in your brand spiraling into a public relations disaster. Don’t think that you will not suffer the consequences if you are just too small (or too big) of a business.
There are numerous examples of both big and small companies getting crushed thanks to one mishap with their clients.
That is why you need to do your best to treat your customers properly. One mistake, in this case, can bring along a negative review or a comment that could end up going viral.
Great customer support service helps your marketing efforts
When you have a top-notch customer support service, you can use it to build a substantial marketing campaign. It can be the foundation of your next big marketing strategy since marketing and customer service can work quite well together.
Customers like reading about other people’s experience with online stores and, if you manage to provide a pleasant one, you can later include them in your marketing strategies. For instance, you could ask for testimonials that can be further used to show how much you care about your clients.
Be creative, make your business stand out by promoting social proof of how happy your customers are with the service you provide for them.
If you are hesitant to ask for testimonials, you could at least add a section for product reviews. Almost all marketplaces and online stores have a field for product reviews below the actual products. That can be used as a tool for a marketing campaign as well.
On the other hand, if you are willing to ask for personal testimonials, make sure to reward the individuals who take the time to write them. There are a number of ways to compensate them for their effort, like offering a freebie or free shipping for their next order.
You may have great products and maybe you are even using a great eCommerce software tool like CS-Cart. However, don’t think that additional investment in customer service is an unworthy one.
After all, customer service helps you achieve the ultimate eCommerce goal – customer satisfaction. Only with a great customer support service can you create a truly memorable experience on a consistent basis.
Things have changed. Nowadays, customers are not concerned as much about price tags. Instead, they are willing to pay more for a premium brand that takes great care of their needs.
So, go that extra mile and it will pay off.
|Dave Schneider is the founder of LessChurn, churn reduction app. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries. In his spare time, he writes about SaaS and business at DaveSchneider.me|