What is customer service, when you don’t actually meet your customers face-to-face? Once you’ve managed to get potential customers to visit your site, how do you convert them into buyers and keep them coming back for more?
Establishing a great customer relationship is key, of course, so here are a few simple steps to setting up the framework for customer service that will pay dividends for your business and keep your customers happy.
Customer Relationship Management specialists Zendesk, reported that 62% of B2B and 42% of B2C customers returned to purchase again after a good customer service experience. This demonstrates that a well-planned approach to customer care can boost your business’s reputation as well as increase long-term customer value and retention.
Treat your website like a shopfloor
It seems obvious, but a bad website is like a mismanaged or neglected shop – it can turn away customers in seconds. Broken links, misspellings and bad photography have an immediate and negative impact on any trust in your service or products, and can drive away potential sales.
Create trust, drive desire, generate action
Website content should work hard, be informative, create engagement and drive action. Persuasive and customer-focused product copy, for example, can be crucial at tipping points in the check-out process. For instance, top digital marketer Neil Patel estimates that up to 35% of abandoned shopping carts could be recovered by improving the check-out process. That’s a huge US$260bn that could be recovered from current ‘lost’ sales, according to recent research carried out by Baymard Institute. Of course, once a purchaser has confirmed a sale, they will be more inclined to give you further information.
It pays to keep things easy
Well over a third of shopping cart abandonments occur when a potential customer is asked to sign up or register at the website before buying. So why put up a barrier that blocks purchases? Let new customers complete their transaction seamlessly as a guest and they’ll be extra likely to come back for more. You can apply lead nurturing rules in your post-sale contact in order to encourage further sales and capture useful data for targeting later.
Get responsive and give your customers the best online experience
Above all, ensure your website is responsive and customer-friendly to use on smartphones and tablets as well as desktops. Latest statistics from OuterBox show that smartphones are now the preferred shopping device and account for over 40% of all global e-commerce transactions, so make sure your website is ready to take a slice of that e-commerce pie.
Add value to develop customer relationships
There are a number of simple, cost-effective ways to add perceived value to your online service, which demonstrate you are willing to go above and beyond your competitors. Successful strategies include special discounts if a customer provides an email address, an offer for free P&P on the next order etc. Making the returns process easier will also build a trust with the consumer, showing reliability through easy procedures. DHL Express business case studies show that adding practical, fun or thoughtful additions to online orders can build customer loyalty, and go a long way towards building future sales.
Reap the rewards of social in 2018
If you’re not already in the thick of it, now is the time to harness the power of ‘Like’ and ‘Share’ on social media. A report by ValueWalk shows that companies embracing social media are now generating roughly US$2.4m every minute through e-commerce.
In fact, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter together are helping generate more than US$40k in revenue every 60 seconds. In 2018, an estimated 2.5 billion people will be social media users. If you want to take advantage of this huge audience, work out your social strategy and get posting.
Give the human touch to online customer service
Use live chat tools on your website and your business can start to connect meaningfully (and profitably) with customers. Your customer services team can engage in real-time when people visit, respond quickly to queries and enrich the customer’s online buying experience.
One-to-one customer interaction generates trust and reassurance in your business or product, removing any uncertainties that could be jeopardising potential sales. Econsultancy reports that adding a live chat feature to a website can lead to 92% satisfaction with the service received.
Build trust and sales with online reviews
Social media and online reputation can be a powerful dynamic for profit in e-commerce. More and more people check out online reviews before they buy, trusting the feedback they read online as much as they would personal recommendations.
According to research by Zendesk, as many as 88% of people said an online customer service review had influenced their decision to buy. It’s clear that the impact of good customer service on customer lifetime value should not be underestimated.
If you’re doing online customer service right, signing up to third-party software such as TrustPilot can enhance your business’s reputation and give you free word-of-mouth marketing – without requiring any additional work from you. It speaks volumes when your happy customers have taken the time to sing your praises. See our article on the role of trust in e-commerce.
Good online customer service means good online profit
It’s often said that people are more likely to share bad experiences of customer service than good ones, so it’s worth taking care of every visitor on your website. Giving focus to your online customer service is a winning strategy if you want to turn casual browsers into enthusiastic buyers.