As online sales skyrocket, there is no better time than now to reevaluate your company’s commitment to providing excellent service for your e-commerce customers. This year’s National Customer Service Week (October 5-9, 2020) is the ideal opportunity to reassess your e-commerce strategies, measure your results, and shift your plans into high gear.
Why is customer service so critical at this time? Because the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has radically reshaped the landscape of retail sales. Consumers and businesses have migrated to using online platforms at a rate previously unimagined, which means that your ability to reach and retain customers while breaking through the digital clutter is more difficult than ever. You can exceed expectations and rise above the growing competition, only if you deliver exceptional service, engage customers with your brand, and ensure that your goods make it quickly and efficiently to buyers.
Here are some key strategies that could boost online customer satisfaction and engagement, while helping your business thrive.
Broaden Your Website’s Appeal and Reach
Your website is not just a platform for delivering information and processing transactions, it is the most important representation of your brand. Its design should be appealing with a user-friendly format that’s easy to navigate. It should also be inviting, dynamic and well-managed – meaning every link is functional, photos are timely and accurate, and sales instructions are clear and concise. Additionally, at least in the foreseeable future, your homepage should clearly communicate COVID-19 protocols, including any special shipping options and safety measures.
And, if your business benefits from global e-commerce, your website must be responsive to your target audience in the international market in which they reside. Review your website in each market to ensure that the language, cultural considerations and tone are appropriate.
Boost Your Social Media Tactics to Stand Out
To further engage customers with your company and brand, social media channels — Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter — are essential. But social media is also an essential customer service support tool that provides additional ways for consumers to ask questions and seek help. In fact, today’s online shoppers expect to reach you via social media and consider it the easiest way to solve product-related problems and to conduct conversations. Consider creating an official support account on each platform where you have a presence, and if possible, hire and train dedicated social media managers to oversee those operations.
The fact is, you can expect your customers to ask questions and post any problem they may have with your products on social media. If your staff is not responsive via those platforms, then you are not sending a positive message about your customer support.
Use Live Chat and Enhance Phone Support
Live chat is now a must-have service for e-tailers. Though live chat, you can handle anything from sales and return issues to specific product questions; it’s the best way to meet and exceed customer expectations. Live chat has been proven to boost customer satisfaction and increase the number of shoppers who become actual buyers. Connecting with online shoppers can be challenging, but live chat offers a quick way to create one-on-one customer interactions that build trust and engagement. If your company does not offer the service, now is the time to start.
With more consumers looking for more types of products online, it is critical to improve your phone support as well. Consider offering extended hours and increasing the number of agents available to take calls.
Make Your Shipping Strategy a Priority
If you are in the e-commerce business, you are also in the shipping business. To keep your customers satisfied and ensure that they return to repurchase on your site, you must transport your goods quickly and efficiently to their destinations. That requires an experienced worldwide shipping partner that offers attractive options for buyers. To ensure that you meet your customer’s expectations, your shipping and returns policy should be clearly written and prominently displayed on your site.
You should also carefully consider the costs and benefits of offering free shipping, or free shipping after a set threshold. Research consistently shows that consumers actively search for free shipping offers, and that express delivery is a key factor in consumer decision-making.
Having the right shipping plan and clearly broadcasting shipping costs on your site is especially important if you are selling your goods in international markets. Make sure your shipping partner has expertise in global markets and can help you navigate complex Customs procedures.
Go the Extra Mile to Build Engagement
To show customers you will go above and beyond what is expected, consider simple steps such as special discounts for customer that accepts promotional emails, a unique promotion on their next order, or expedited return processes.
In today’s challenging marketplace, great customer service should not be an afterthought – it should be your first thought. Let us know via Twitter @DHLUS what you are doing to connect with your online customers and deliver excellent customer service.