As your ecommerce business grows, different areas need to scale to keep up with that growth. Planning for more warehousing space, additional inventory forecasting, product development, and managing increased shipments; these are all key factors in ensuring your business continues to attract more customers and keep them satisfied. However it isn’t just about attracting customers, but retaining them. One area that is vital in ensuring customer retention and increasing Lifetime Value (LTV) is customer service.
There are many different options available to customers nowadays; for every niche there are plenty of brands competing for the same audience. Therefore customers have started using factors such as customer service and experience to determine who they want to spend their money with. 90% of consumers believe that customer service is important in choosing a brand to make a purchase from, and 93% are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer great customer service. On the other hand, after just one poor experience with customer service, 80% of customers are more likely to switch to a competitor.
The cost of poor customer service versus the opportunity of excellent service is pretty clear. However in the day-to-day running of your store, it can be tricky to pick up on the signs that your customer service is in need of a refresh. Let’s look at some of those signs, and then what you can actually do to improve your customer service strategy.
Signs you should reevaluate your customer service strategy
Negative customer feedback
The number one indicator that your customer service isn’t quite up to standard is if you’re seeing repeated negative comments about it. This includes in comments on social media, in responses to customer service tickets, and reviews. You may see comments about how the product was great, but that the customer service was slow or lacking.
Repeat requests from the same customers
When customers are frustrated with the speed or level of service they’re receiving when submitting a support ticket, they might try to contact you on different platforms. They may first contact you via your proper support channels, however if your team are slow to respond then they might try to contact you on social media or via email. If you notice this happening frequently, then it can indicate that your customer support isn’t meeting their expectations.
Increase in customer churn rate
Part of building a successful ecommerce business is in retaining a loyal customer base, and lowering your customer churn. Fluctuations in retention and churn should always warrant a look into the potential causes, and if you notice these start to take a turn for the worse you should investigate the reasons why. What about your customer service could be improved? Did you notice a rise in the number of support tickets on a given topic that may correlate with your churn rate increasing?
More time needed from your team
As well as looking at the customers themselves, it’s important to look at how customer service is impacting your team’s productivity. If you have a dedicated customer service team, ask them what they’re spending their time on - what types of support requests are eating their time? Are these causing them to take longer in responding to more complex requests? What about their current systems are slowing the process down? If you have a smaller support team or this task is shared by a few employees, ask the same questions along with if they’ve had to draw support from additional team members to keep up with support tickets.
How to improve your strategy
Identify trends in customer support tickets and feedback
The first step in being able to make improvements is to understand where the pain points are for your customers. The easiest way to do this is to review the customer support tickets your team see on a regular basis, and identify what the most common issues are. For example they may receive a large number of enquiries about order status and fulfillment, or delivery issues. Additionally if you’re receiving negative feedback from customers, look at what the common issues are and reach out to some individual customers who left negative feedback for more information. If you want to go a step further with feedback, you can also survey your loyal customers to figure out which areas of your customer service strategy are positively and negatively perceived. Understanding what even your most valuable customers feel about your customer service can offer important insight into where you can improve.
Improve customer support system internally
After finding out which areas could use the most improvement, it’s time to look at where your internal support systems could do with an upgrade. What help desk tools are your team currently using to monitor support tickets? How are these tracked? How are customers getting in touch with your team - social media, email, on-site chat? Ask your team which features would be most useful to them in being able to respond to customer enquiries in a timely manner. These features might be easy access to customer information, a troubleshooting guide, or an all-in-one view of support requests across platforms. Look for tools that will help address the needs of your team to better help your customers.
Implement self-service features to improve the customer experience
Self-service tools are a great way to boost customer satisfaction, and reduce the number of support tickets your team receives. It allows customers to get the answers they need fast, and your team to focus on the more nuanced queries they receive. One way to do this is to provide a robust and easy-to-navigate FAQ or knowledge base so that if customers have questions about matters such as products or shipping options then they have an instantly accessible way to get an answer. Another easy win is minimizing the number of queries your team receives about order status by implementing self-service apps such as Order Lookup, whereby the customer can get real-time tracking on their order.
Continue to monitor and seek feedback
Once you’ve implemented new features, the most important final step is to monitor how these are affecting your customer service operations. Monitor metrics such as the number of requests on specific topics coming in compared to before, customer churn rate, and if there’s a reduction in the frequency of customer complaints. Keep an open dialogue with your support team to see if these new tools are making the customer service process more manageable, and measure how much time they’re now spending on tasks that were previously taking up a lot of their time.
With a growing ecommerce landscape, competition can get tough. More and more, customers are looking for unique ways that brands add value to their online experience, and customer service is one area that has remained a major deciding factor in which brands they purchase from. By knowing the signs that your customer service is in need of development and understanding what you then need to do to improve, you’ll be able to create a customer service experience that helps to both attract new and retain loyal customers.