Successful companies set themselves apart with excellent customer service, and your e-commerce small business is no different. Even when you don’t have customer service representatives physically standing in front of the customer, you can implement remote customer service best practices that ensure every customer leaves feeling satisfied with their experience.
The key to providing a great online customer service experience is to use multi-channel platforms. Each customer has their own preferred method of reaching a business, and taking advantage of multiple channels allows your customer decide how to reach out. Channels include:
- Social media. When you’ve got a customer relationship management expert manning your HootSuite account, it’s easy to see complaints or concerns on Facebook or Twitter, and address them immediately. With the majority of customers using mobile devices now, social media is a preferred way of reaching your business.
- Live web chat. Chat is another near-instant means of reaching you, although you should be careful to develop a web chat application that is compatible with your mobile-optimized website, to avoid alienating smartphone and tablet users.
- Phone. Plenty of customers are still old-school and prefer picking up a phone. Like live web chat, this allows for a real-time conversation where problems can be solved quickly.
- Email. Some problems aren’t urgent, and your customers might prefer to reach out via email for a timely (but not instant) response.
- Help desk. Still other problems and concerns can be addressed on your website, where it’s easy for your customer to find the answers. This should be a prominent section of your website, and part of your main navigation bar. It may take the form of an FAQ page.
You can choose one or two customer service channels, or you can choose many. If possible, choose as many as you can. The more choices your customers have, the happier they will be with the customer service that they receive.
Make it a habit to reach out to your customers and follow up before there’s a problem. This can be in the form of a survey, where you collect objective data or long-form responses about your customer’s satisfaction. If you go this route, try offering incentives such as coupons in exchange for completing the survey.
You can also make your proactive contact more personal by reaching out after the customer places an order. Happy customers love hearing that you care about their experience, and unhappy customers are impressed that you took the initiative to check on them rather than just assuming everything went well.
Managing service quality is the same whether you’re in brick-and-mortar retail shop or e-commerce business. Use data from your proactive contact to improve your service quality. Look at factors such as:
- Ease of website use
- Mobile experience
- Product pricing
- Product quality
- Shipping speed
- Quickness of response when contacting customer service
Listening to your customers gives you the ability to take your customer service above and beyond. With a combination of multi-channel service, proactive contact, and overall quality focus, you can build a reputation as an e-commerce company that cares about its customer base.