If you ask any freely chosen representative of an online store about whether customer service is important to his business, most likely we would not hear a different answer than the affirmative one. Similarly, if we ask customers about one of the key factors affecting their decision to buy, and especially – their return to the e-store. Here, also customer service will occupy one of the leading places. So if the client service is so important, why is there still so much to do?
You do not need advanced solutions
Probably every person dealing professionally with e-commerce saw at least once, a photo of a conversation on a chat run by a client and an employee of one of the largest online stores in the world – Amazon. A conversation in which both parties adopt the style of dialogue well known to Star Wars fans. Everyone, of course, draws attention to how well the representative of the store reacted to the situation and adjusted the style of his answers to the customer. This made a client feel special, and the company also gained a lot of good PR. If we think about it more, we will come to the conclusion that any person who solves clients’ problems can behave in a similar way. No need to use very advanced tools or techniques for this purpose. Simply understand the customer’s needs, custom approach and already. Problem solved, customer, satisfied.
We know cases from our Polish yard, where a web hosting company (Zenbox.pl) has very much focused on customer service and keeps its promise. Answers to user inquiries come very quickly – after just a few or a dozen or so minutes. The company’s service works efficiently and solves problems quickly. Sometimes, even her help goes beyond standard activities and you can definitely treat this brand in the premium category, although it is in the standard price. This form of customer service greatly builds the company’s image as a reliable one, and this is a considerable competitive advantage. Especially when they operate in an environment whose offer does not differ so much from others.
Such a situation can be referred to, for example, to e-commerce, where it is not unusual for one or more stores to compete for one client. In this context, the seller’s approach to the customer should be surprising – from the usual failure to reply to users’ e-mails to the lack of the possibility to change the default delivery address in a different way than through direct contact with the service (which I experienced the hard way). Especially that having the simplest resources, the store has the ability to at least not discourage the customer.
Take, for example, the results of research carried out by Deloitte, which shows that 73 percent of clients consider their time to be an element of good customer service. Let me also admit that there is no need for advanced solutions to quickly respond to customers. In most cases, it’s enough to be consequent and aware that the client has a lot of other places to choose from. Besides, the internet gives you much more opportunities for better customer service than selling in offline stores. Let’s add one more thing to this, namely the results of research carried out by American Express, according to which nearly 60 percent of customers are willing to spend more on the products or services of these companies that provide excellent service. Do you really need so little? The answer is yes. However, customer service is a much more complex process than it seems at first glance.
Understand the client’s needs
Customer service is a process that everyone in the company is responsible for. It starts as soon as the customer appears, for example, in the e-store for the first time. He is still a so-called anonymous user, but first of all – he appears with specific expectations often built through a promotional campaign, and secondly – with experience of shopping in other places and on different devices. Although it may be hard to believe, many stores still have problems with the proper operation or even a display on mobile devices.
When entering the store, the customer expects to reach the product he is interested in in a convenient way. That he will receive enough information about him, and if it was not enough – he will be able to quickly and conveniently learn more. It is in the interest of the e-store that the customer does not have to go far for such information, because there is a chance that he may not return to our store from such a trip.
The client also expects – and this results, among others, from the Gemius report on the Polish e-commerce market – more personalized offers prepared on the basis of earlier purchases. In this case, we are already talking about a returning customer. It is worth remembering that the user visiting the e-store for the first time would also like to receive a personalized offer. Such opportunities are provided by the sales automation class tools, thanks to which you can adjust the offer to the user based on his behavior or similarity to the behavior of other users who have made purchases in the past.
In the end, the customer expects that this personalized offer will be able to safely buy and then quickly receive. These are the next two stages, which quite often are a serious challenge for e-stores, although they should not be in the era of paying with a smartphone and delivery of drones. Unfortunately, in the process of creating e-stores, logistics is often treated with neglect, which, unfortunately, later becomes a source of many problems.
A recipe for success
As you can see, customer service is, on the one hand, a clear process that can (and should) be planned, but it is also a challenge that can not be met by acting ad hoc. Often, it is customer service that turns out to be the element that has made it possible to achieve great success. Especially in a very competitive environment.
One of the pillars of the success of Zappos.com was exceptional customer service, entered into the company’s DNA. The company’s head, Tony Hsieh, summed it up, who said that customer service should not only be a department but the task of all employees. It is worth listening to this advice, regardless of the scale of the business and the industry in which we operate. This is the simplest recipe for success.