8 reasons why customer support is your most valuable ecommerce service

15 June, 2017

The term ‘Good Customer Service’ stands for helping customers make the best choices.

Your ecommerce brand needs to reduce your customer’s uncertainties, answer any questions, and establish enough trust to convince the shopper to pull the trigger and purchase.Unlike physical retailers – online stores don’t have the benefit of helpful customer service assistants.

You need to make sure your content and your online store’s user experience does your brand’s customer service shift for you.

The right user experience will convert your one-time shopper into a repeat customer, paving the way for a friendly, loyal and lasting experience with your brand.

In today’s ultra-competitive ecommerce environment – your online store is competing for your customers attention against millions of potential distractions. In a mall, your competition is clear and finite.

On the internet, your online store is not just battling it out with the other brands in your niche. At any point in the buyer journey, your potential customer can choose to close that browser window whenever they like. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and every other website on the internet beckons. If your customer experience is not best-in-class, you’ll find it hard to convert interest into revenue.

Every ecommerce brand claims customers are their number 1 priority but in reality, very few actually provide ‘Good Customer Service’.

You cannot consider customer service enquiries as ‘another ticket to deal with’. Dealing with questions should not be a chore. Your brand needs to consider this service interaction as an opportunity to develop a lasting relationship with a repeat customer.

So, rather than doing the bare minimum to satisfy customers, you have to go above and beyond to wow them and keep them loyal. And remember, this applies to every kind of customers i.e. existing, new and potential ones.

You don’t just want to meet expectations.

You want to exceed them.

Make it your brand’s mission to surprise and delight your customers!

Why your ecommerce brand’s customer support service is so important

#1. Products will be forgotten, service will be remembered

Remember you can sell hundreds of products, but customer service is the single touch point for your customers with your business. Your online shoppers have no physical interaction with your brand. Any personal connection is a priceless chance to show how much your brand truly cares.

Customers aren’t just searching your products. Online shoppers are searching for information and solutions to their problems. If possible, you need to design a content experience that reduces your customer’s uncertainties, solves potential problems, answers common questions, and sets clear shipping and returns expectations.

Regardless, you always need to provide a direct avenue for customer support. A dedicated email address, phone number, Twitter handle, or live chat function should do the trick. Just make sure you explain when the customer can expect to receive a response – and make sure you reply to their query on time!

If your customer service exceeds expectations – you’ve probably earned yourself a loyal customer. This interaction will be remembered for sure. If the same task leaves a sour memory, the customer will be banished for good (along with the bunch of friends they tell to avoid you).

#2. The best customer service builds trust

Loyalty is both the rarest ecommerce commodity and the biggest determinant of sustainable ecommerce success.

If you can reliably generate loyal customers – you have yourself a competitive advantage.

Remember, the market is full of competitors and if your customer service fails by any parameter, online shoppers don’t have to walk far to visit one of the thousands of other competitor stores in your niche.

Ecommerce brands need to work harder than any other business to retain customers and develop trust. It’s just so easy for your online shoppers to leave without having to provide any explanation.

#3. Direct enquiries will be the only contact pureplay retailers have with customers

Everyone of us has dealt with customer issues and problems from time to time. When these issues with the product crop up, we have ourselves a make or break moment.

These potential customers can spend hundreds or even thousands of bucks per year purchasing your products. This one service interaction could be the difference between tens of thousands of dollars in lifetime revenue – or a negative Google review, an angry social media post and another email unsubscribe.

You need to take the time to invest in this aspect of your business.

Ecommerce can never be ‘set-and-forget’.

Otherwise you’ll be set up to fail and you can forget about your profits.

#4. Customer support can make or break your brand’s reputation

With the emergence of social media, disgruntled online shoppers can immediately publish their discontent for their world of followers to see.

Stakes are higher than ever – and one wrong move can send your brand spiralling into a public relations disaster (just ask United Airlines how much their online ticket sales suffered after their well-publicised incident).

If your customer support fails to live up to expectations, your business will cop some negative comments on any variety of online social media channels.

#5. You can use your customer service as a foundation of your marketing program

Customer service can be a competitive advantage for your ecommerce store. If you’re confident in your team’s ability to back up your claims – build your marketing messages around your brand’s customer friendliness.

If you’re able to make your customer service stand out of the crowd, tell the world about it in your promotional content to help you convince potential customers to shop with you.

Social proof works, especially when real customers similar to your target audience share their personal stories about your top notch customer service.

Make sure you ask for testimonials and product reviews from your online store customers after they purchase.

Include these prompts in your post-purchase email automation series and add in an incentive to help you generate more responses. A freebie, free shipping, or a referral discount work wonders.

#6. Excellent customer service improves and strengthens your brand

If you want to enhance your brands’ strength, build your reputation and improve the public perception of your company – quality customer service will help you stand out from your competition to achieve these goals.

You can’t buy words of mouth advertising.

You can build it with authentic, genuine, customer-first online shopping experiences.

People always lend more weight to the advice of a peer. Social proof from friends, family, colleagues or respected influencers of your target audience will always trump your promotional claims.

Happy customers are most likely to recommend your products to their friends and family and help to solidify your brand image across different social media channels.

This enhances your brand’s visibility and helps you bring in new customers, saving you cash, time and effort in customer acquisition.

#7. Great customer service results in a reduction of overall problems

Customer service problems are an inherent part of any business. No matter how slick your online shopping experience, no matter how well-trained your customer service team, no matter how good your courier team – every ecommerce brand will confront incidents where customers are worried, frustrated or concerned.

Quality, genuine customer service can always help you to minimise the impact of these issues. When customers believe they can voice their complaints and the issues will be taken care of properly – you can confidently reduce the expenses you need to reserve for this types of crisis.

Proactive customer service helps to keep customers satisfied prevent problems like furious customers waiting on hold to complain about product defects, shipping issues or returns dilemmas. Quality processes will also help you reduce refunds and exchanges.

If you succeed in reducing overall problems, you can be rest assured of establishing your brand as a customer-centric one.

#8. Customer service helps you achieve the ultimate ecommerce goal – customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is now ecommerce marketing table stakes.

To convert customers into repeat sales, you need to exceed expectations.

Loyal ecommerce customers are developed when a personal connection is established with your brand.

That’s why ecommerce brands now need to meet customer’s rational and emotional expectations. Focus on surprising, delighting and satisfying your customers.

Only with a great customer service desk can you create truly memorable experiences on a consistent basis. Unlike earlier days when customers were mostly concerned about price tags, most online shoppers are now willing to pay a premium for brands they care about.

Ecommerce brands with the best customer service will see lasting success

Customer service is crucial for any business.

As the internet crashes barriers to entry in retail markets across the world – ecommerce competition is fierce. Products are more of a commodity than ever. Customer service is inextricably linked to your brand.

If your ecommerce store provides the best customer support in your niche, you can develop loyal customer relationships, generate regular repeat sales and retain profit margins by convincing customers to pay a premium.

By Scott Evans
As co-founder and Director of Gorilla 360, Scott has spent the last 12 years helping businesses grow through smart digital marketing.
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