What’s the most important factor in the success of your Shopify store? Keeping your customers happy. It isn’t enough to have great products and marketing, you need to do everything you can to leave customers satisfied and eager to make a repeat purchase. After all, happy customers turn into loyal customers, who become brand advocates for years to come. That’s where having a solid Customer Care Strategy comes in.
What we mean by Customer Care
Whether you call it Customer Care, Support, or Service, today we’re talking about everything that involves how your customers interact with your business. It’s common to think that Customer Care is only relevant when a customer contacts your team for assistance, but in fact it starts well before an order is placed to long after the order is received. It includes your entire customer journey, and the level of care you offer your customers throughout it.
Here are some examples of what you should consider part of your Customer Care strategy:
- Checkout process
- Site and page navigation
- Up-to-date order information
- Contacting your team
- Order presentation
- Returns and exchanges process
The idea behind having a robust strategy around Customer Care is to minimize the amount of time spent by your team dealing with customer enquiries and issues, and maximize how easy it is for customers to place an order and be satisfied with it. The less time your team spends on active Customer Care, the more time they have for other areas of the business. If you have a dedicated Customer Care team, they can spend their time on more complex or situation specific enquiries rather than an issue caused by poor site navigation or a lack of order information.
The Customer Journey
Your first step in auditing your current approach to Customer Care is to go through the customer journey and look for points of friction. These friction points give you an indication of where you can improve the experience for your customers, and therefore care for them better. The journey begins long before they place an order, so go through each step carefully and make note of any issues - even ones you might see as minor. Ask other members of your team to do the same along with some people external to your team.
Here are some areas to focus on:
Site Navigation - Is it easy to navigate your site? Are your menu categories and sub-categories clear?
Product Pages - Are your product descriptions detailed enough to answer common product questions? Are your Calls-to-Action clear?
Checkout - How many steps are there to your checkout process, and could you expedite the process at all? E.g. Express Checkout options.
Order Updates - How easy is it for customers to find out more about their order status?
Order Presentation - Are you providing a meaningful unboxing experience for your customers? Could you include any guides to your products, or a thank you note?
After-Care - Do you communicate with your customers once their order has been received? Do you collect feedback? How simple is your returns process, and where is this information located on your store?
- Contact Options - Is it easy to contact your team? How many steps does a customer need to take to do this?
Once you and your team have looked at all the different areas of the customer journey, bring all your findings together and discuss common issues as well as any interesting details that were picked up on. This will give you a good basis of where to start making improvements to your Customer Care strategy.
Solution #1: Training & Development
Once you’ve tweaked areas of your site to improve the customer experience, it’s time to focus on your customer care team. Whether you’ve got a small team where customer care is a shared role, or an entire team dedicated to it, it’s important to continuously train and develop their skills when it comes to dealing with customer enquiries.
Host regular development sessions
These can be as formal or informal as you like, but hosting regular sessions where your team can sit down and sharpen their customer service skills will go a long way. It means you can discuss recent enquiries and issues, and how best to deal with them.
Sure customer care might be part of their job, but if you can make it a positive experience for your team then it makes what can be a chore into something more interesting for them. Customer care can be frustrating not just for the customer but for the people handling it; after all, an unhappy customer or a difficult situation isn’t always fun to deal with. However if you offer rewards for handling enquiries well such as points towards a gift voucher, a charity donation, or even just being able to choose the office playlist for a day, then it offers your team more incentive to provide excellent customer care.
Solution #2: Customer Resources
One of the best things you can do to improve your approach to Customer Care is to provide your customers with as many resources as possible. It’s much easier to read an article about how to use a product, or an FAQ about a returns policy than to get in touch with your team and wait on a response. By reducing the amount of time the customer has to spend searching for answers, you’re increasing their chances of making a purchase. If they can’t find an answer easily, they’re unlikely to purchase as they’re uncertain about an element of the products or your store policies. So what resources should you provide?
Comprehensive, easily searchable FAQ
Your FAQ will be one of the first places customers go to when they have a question about your products or services. Make sure it’s detailed, and easy to search through. Include all relevant information about shipping, dispatch, returns and exchanges, and how to get in touch if they have a further query. And remember, it’s called Frequently Asked Questions for a reason; update your FAQ with answers to enquiries that come up in your Customer Care inbox on a regular basis, and remove any outdated information.
Up-to-date order information
Not knowing what’s going on with an order can be one of the most frustrating experiences for customers shopping online. Give your customers access to this information so they can check for themselves what stage their order is at and save them getting in touch with your team. You can even use an app such as Order Lookup to automate some of that process for you and offer real-time tracking information.
Well written product pages
Your product page should give your customers all the information they need about your products. It sounds obvious, but if your team are receiving lots of enquiries about specifics of any of your products then it means your product page isn’t detailed enough. Review product descriptions and specifications to see if there are any additional details or links to product guides that you could include.
Solution #3: Feedback
The easiest way to assess if your Customer Care strategy is working is to ask the people its designed to accommodate - your customers. You can do this in one of two ways. The first is to do regular surveying across all your channels asking for feedback about different areas of your customer care strategy that you want to know more about. For example if you want to know what customers think about your product pages. The second is to send an automatic request once a support ticket has been closed requesting feedback about the customer’s interaction with your customer care team. These should be short, and also ask why the customer got in touch and why they weren’t able to satisfy their enquiry using resources already available to them. This will help you to identify if your team is dealing with enquiries in a satisfactory way, and if you need to develop any additional customer resources.
Customers are at the heart of any ecommerce business. They’re the people purchasing, using, and hopefully praising your products and brand. Ensuring their happiness and satisfaction is the key to fostering customer loyalty and repeat purchases, so by developing a robust approach to Customer Care you can create a brand that’s known for putting its customers first.