Simple Ways to Improve the Ecommerce Customer Experience

    Product Customer Experience
  • 22 Aug 2022

Improving the ecommerce customer experience

Why customer service is especially crucial in ecommerce

Customer service is important in almost every industry for improving the customer experience. In fact, data from Microsoft shows that 95% of consumers think customer service is important for brand loyalty. 

However, customer service is especially important for ecommerce businesses. In ecommerce, the customer service agents are often the first and only people at the company with whom customers interact. 

It’s not like real estate or SaaS where a buyer develops a strong relationship with a salesperson before making a purchase. Ecommerce customers often buy a product without ever talking to a representative of the brand. Only when they have a question or problem do they reach out. 

And when that happens, it’s a member of the customer service team who answers. So this department holds a lot of power to hurt or improve customer relationships. 

Beyond this, customers in the ecommerce space have extremely high standards. They expect fast, hassle-free resolutions to their issues, along with personalized treatment. If you don’t offer this, customers can easily find a similar product at another brand.  

For these reasons, ecommerce companies need to prioritize initiatives to bolster their customer service more so than most other business types. 

Six simple ways to improve the ecommerce customer experience

There are two chief indicators of ongoing success as an ecommerce company: top-notch products and exceptional customer service. Below are six effective ways to work toward the latter. 

Use data and agent context to understand customer preferences

Customers have distinct and constantly evolving preferences. Some prefer phone calls, while others want to reach out over live chat. One might desire an email to resolve a billing issue but social media to ask for a refund. 

It’s important to constantly monitor your customers’ preferences and adjust your communications strategy accordingly. You can figure out these changes by sending recurring surveys, tracking channel data in your customer service software, and reading industry reports. 

To ensure they satisfy all customers, many companies also use contact center as a service (CCaaS) software, which allows users to communicate with customers across multiple channels, including self-service methods like chatbots or IVR. 

CCaaS companies are always monitoring customer preferences and adding new channels to their platforms as customer demand for them increases. That way their users are always on the cutting-edge of customer service. 

360° coverage across support channels

Seventy-one percent of consumers experience frustration when their shopping experience is impersonal. Customers dislike it when they can’t use their favorite communication channel or when they have to repeat information to a customer service agent that they’ve already shared with another agent. 

The first issue can be handled with a multichannel approach, but that doesn’t resolve the second issue given that each channel’s data is siloed. A rep on a phone call with a customer can’t easily find what that customer said previously on live chat or email. 

To service customers on their favorite channels and provide a seamless experience, you need an omnichannel approach where all channels are integrated and their collected customer data is accessible to agents from one dashboard regardless of which channel the customer is currently using. 

Empower your customers with self-service tools 

Sometimes customers don’t want to speak with a live agent. Perhaps they feel their issue is simple to resolve — 74% of internet users prefer using chatbots when looking for answers to simple questions.

Or maybe they’re just feeling especially introverted that day. Regardless of their reasons, those customers will appreciate the self-service options your team provides. 

Here are some customer self-service types to offer: 

  • Chatbots: These are computer programs that simulate conversations with your website visitors. 
  • Interactive Voice Response: IVR enables users to interact with an automated phone system through voice or dial tones. 
  • Knowledge Center: This is a part of your website that hosts tutorials, guides, and videos that answer commonly asked questions. 

When you empower your customers to handle their own issues, you improve their experience and also reduce the pressure on your agents, which leads to shorter wait times for customers who really do need an agent’s help.  

Follow the sun—24/7 customer support

If you have trouble with a customer service tool, it indirectly impacts your customers in a negative way. For example, if your live chat system crashes, customers in the middle of a conversation will have to start all over. 

That’s why it’s so critical to use high-quality customer service tools that come with 24/7 support so that you can get answers and assistance quickly and get back to focusing on your customers instead of technical difficulties.  

Modernized support for the mobile-first era

Statista predicts that 187.5 million people will make a purchase via their smartphone in 2024, an increase of 20 million from 2020. The trend toward mobile shopping is obvious. 

Therefore, it’s critical that you give your customers the ability to easily access your ecommerce store and customer service team via their mobile devices. Consider designing your website for mobile users and offering an ecommerce mobile app for your business. 

Support that evolves with your customers

Improving customer experience is an iterative process. You have to try new techniques, measure your customers’ reaction to them, and then, based on the results, take another step in the right direction. 

To do this, you need to collect customer data and feedback. Many companies use surveys with specific questions to measure their customer satisfaction

They also use some sort of customer service software to track key customer service metrics like busiest hours, communication volume by channel, and average resolution time. 

Collecting and analyzing this information enables customer service teams to make data-driven decisions about their strategy.    

Picking the right ecommerce customer service software

An ecommerce customer service team looking to improve their overall customer experience should look for customer service software that allows them to enact the strategies we’ve listed above. 

The right platform will have 24/7 support and empower you to use an omnichannel approach, offer self-service options, go mobile-first, and track customer service data.

Conclusion

Customer experience is essential to an ecommerce business’s success, and the customer service team has a tremendous effect on this experience. 

It’s crucial that you arm your agents with the tools they need to best serve your customers. Check out how Contacto, a cloud-based contact center software, can help. 

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