This year, Customer Appreciation Day is Friday, May 21. But if you run or manage a small or medium-sized business, especially one that relies on e-commerce for sales and growth, then you know that customer engagement and support must always be your Number 1 job — every single day of the year.

In the digital world, transactions can exist completely outside of human interaction, and increasingly they involve international buyers located thousands of miles away. Delighting and engaging these customers — while showing your appreciation — requires a special commitment to communication, ongoing investments in new technology, and a dedication to making your customers feel like they are part of your company’s mission.

Let’s take a closer look at some best practices for stellar e-commerce customer service.

Instant Engagement Through Live Chat and Chatbots

Serious about going global? Your brand can reach 220 countries. Get started today.

Statistics show that live chat delivers when it comes to customer satisfaction. More than 83% of global customers highly rate live chat satisfaction, and 51% of consumers say they are more likely to buy again from a company that offers this key functionality.

But live chat generally can’t fill every moment when your customers and potential customers around the world need help, which is one area where AI-driven chatbot technology can boost response time and engagement. By supplementing live online help with conversational automatic chats, your company can exceed customer expectations. While the technology is still expensive and evolving, and may not be right for every organization, it is worth exploring as a possible option to boost customer service, provide quick support for simple problems, and help when live chat cannot be available.

Importance of Video, Tutorials and FAQs

Comprehensive, thoughtful video support and tutorials can inform and engage your customers – while helping avoid problems and frustration before they occur. Invest in high-quality video that takes viewers through step-by-step processes by anticipating concerns and questions; your library of video and FAQs should be easily accessed, well-organized, and supplemented by useful information and links to helpful sites.

A proactive, comprehensive online support center, like the DHL Shipping Support Center, is a useful way to present materials, including thoughtful and well-developed guides. Online support video and documents can help not only with questions about products and components, but also with questions about your delivery and returns policies and processes.

Social Media Delivers Critical Connections

Using social tools to resolve customer questions and concerns is a must. Consumers today expect social solutions, and companies that don’t deliver are sure to be left behind. One of the key benefits of answering questions and resolving problems on social media is that it provides a real-time demonstration of your commitment for all your followers to witness.  It also serves as a dynamic forum to engage and encourage your customers and involve them in your brand on a personal level.

Your social media support strategy might span multiple platforms (Twitter, Facebook etc.), or it may focus exclusively on one. Regardless of your approach, it is critical to develop the processes and commit the time and resources to respond quickly and thoroughly.  According to one survey, 42% of consumers expect a social media response within 60 minutes when they make a complaint.  The problem? Other research shows that companies often don’t meet these expectations: 45% of brands took more than 5 days to respond to messages on their Facebook pages.  So, if you offer customer service via a social channel, make sure you follow through.

Clear Shipping Policies Make a Difference

If you are in the business of e-commerce, you are by extension also in the business of shipping. Working with the right logistics partner, you have a goal of getting your goods to your customers quickly, cost-efficiently, and safely.

But for your shipping to work, you need to ensure that your customers have the right expectations from the very beginning. Your policy should be clearly written and prominently displayed on your site, along with your returns policy. Confusing policies can actually deter sales, while the right approach will keep your customers coming back.

The Extra Mile

What can you do to “wow” your customers and stand out from the competition? Consider offering them something extra, like small gifts for repeat purchases, personalized e-mails and even follow-up “check-in” phone calls.

What is your e-commerce company doing to provide great customer service? Let us know on Twitter @DHLUS.

Serious about going global? Your brand can reach 220 countries. Get started today.