eCommerce Insiders

5 Ways to Deliver Proactive Customer Service in Ecommerce

The pressure to deliver exceptional customer service is huge:

83% of customers need help to complete an online purchase. And 70% of sales depend on how they feel they have been treated by a company.

Not to mention that as many as 89% of customers will stop buying from you if you provide an unsatisfactory level of service.

But:

Most of the time, retailers focus on providing reactive support – taking action only after a problem has already occurred.

You ship a replacement only after a customer contacts you with a complaint. Or confirm a delay in shipment after a customer asks for an update, and so on.

The truth, however, is that a good customer service is about anticipating problems and solving them before they escalate.

This is called a proactive customer support and it’s one of the best ways to improve your customer service.

Taking a support initiative offers incredible benefits to your store:

  • It increases customer loyalty. Proactive customer service builds trust and in turn, increases customer retention.
  • Decreases the number of support interactions. Anticipating problems often resolves issues before they have a chance to reach your support.
  • Helps to control conversations. Today customers talk about you without you even knowing. They share opinions in private but often also resort to social media to voice their opinion about you. Only last year, 46% of customers have used social media to speak about frustrations with a brand. Being proactive means that you can participate in those conversations and react to them quickly, building a strong online reputation.

Here are five ways to deliver a proactive customer service in ecommerce.

1. Monitor and React to Online Conversations

With social networking being the no.1 online activity in the US, it’s no surprise that many customers revert to social media to voice their opinions about service they received.

Just take a look at those examples I found by searching Twitter for “bad customer service”.

3 2 1

But: Every negative social mention is an opportunity for a brand to turn things over.

Use software like Mention to monitor the web for conversations about your store or products. Listen to what your customers and prospects say, and respond in the most appropriate way:

  • If they complain, offer an apology and tell them how you’re going to solve the problem.
    4
    5
  • If they recommended you, thank them and show gratitude for helping to spread the word on your business.
    6

2. Announce Problems Before Customers Take Notice Themselves

Look, mistakes happen:

  • A shipping company was late picking up a shipment.
  • New product was damaged on arrival.
  • You took too many orders and have no stock left to fulfill the order.
  • The warehouse shipment got delayed by customs, etc.

But it’s better if a customer finds about them from you before he or she realizes it, or the problem escalates online.

Be transparent with your customers. Announce problems the moment you realize them. If they relates to particular orders only, notify those customers directly and explain the situation.

If it’s going to affect your store for some time, post information about it on social media, your website and email newsletter.

3. Follow Up With Customers

Did you know that only 4% of your dissatisfied customers will get in touch?

The rest will voice their opinion about you to 9-15 other people and then stop buying from you.

It means that you’ll not only lose that one customer, but quite possibly a couple other people they will deter from buying from you.

Luckily, there is a simple way to prevent this – by following up with every person who bought from you.

Set up an automated email asking a customer if they’re happy with the product. Email them 2-3 weeks after the purchase and then follow up again if they haven’t responded.

Sure, you will not catch every dissatisfied customer, but you might greatly reduce the number of complaints and negative word of mouth.

4. Provide Extensive FAQ Section

Shocking:

More than half of your customers prefer to solve their problems by themselves rather than contacting your support.

They prefer to scout the web or use any other self-help option rather than talk to a service agent.

Therefore, to deliver exceptional and proactive service, you should provide your customers with the best self-help option possible.

Add a thorough knowledge base to your site, including such information as:

  • Answers to most common customer questions regarding price, shipping and delivery,
  • Returns and refunds information,
  • Your store’s terms and conditions,
  • Information about products and best usage practices,
  • Troubleshooting advice, etc.

This should help customers solve their problems from the comfort of their homes.

5. Monitor Your Support for Trends and Common Issues

Lastly, monitor your customer service tickets for any common issues or trends regularly affecting your customers.

Perhaps they can’t complete the purchase, their cards are being rejected by your system, or the site doesn’t properly load on their mobile devices.

Many of these problems could be rectified at the source. Doing so will reduce the amount of support calls your customer service team would have to deal with but will also…

Increase your customer satisfaction.

Conclusion

Thanks to Amazon, there have never been higher expectations placed on ecommerce customer service. In order to meet the demands of today’s customer, you need to start providing a proactive customer service, taking initiative, and solving problems before they happen.

 

Pawel Grabowski is a SaaS writer, working with B2B SaaS companies primarily.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *