Without the benefit of face-to-face interaction with buyers, eCommerce customer service presents a valuable opportunity for brands to connect with their customers and assure them that they’ve made the right purchasing decision.
Since every online brand is a little different, there’s no single secret to ensuring customer service excellence. But, by learning from the methods of other eCommerce stores, you can find the right blend of strategies that support your buyers when problems arise or questions need to be answered.
By rethinking the fulfillment process, monitoring online reviews and prioritizing convenience, you can take your brand’s customer service to the next level.
What is eCommerce Customer Service?
Traditionally, customer service is thought of as a number you can call when you have a question about a product or service. Since the advent of online shopping, customer service has expanded to include everything from how a user interacts with your site, to how they eventually receive an order.
For an eCommerce brand to be successful, customers need to be supported throughout every step of the way. Digital stores that provide clear and up-to-date information on available products, pricing, and order tracking tend to leave their customers more satisfied and willing to return in the future.
Making it easier for customers to complete a purchase and have their questions answered sounds like common sense, but in the fast-paced world of eCommerce, building that infrastructure can be easier said than done. Automations, order management and performance tracking can be a lot to deal with, so some brands have turned to third-parties that can upgrade their customer service protocols quickly.
Partnering with these third-parties helps your brand build a helpdesk that optimizes customer service and drives profits. By providing services like messaging, self-service and live statistics, these companies can turn eCommerce customer service into a cost-effective branch of the business.
Fulfillment & Customer Service
One of the easiest ways to boost your customer’s shopping experience is by making a few quality adjustments to how your orders are fulfilled. Let’s take a look at some of the recent trends in fulfillment and how they can take your brand’s customer service to the next level.
Multiple Delivery Options
As the volatile supply chain continues to cause problems in warehouses all over the world, brands have begun to explore alternative delivery options to take some of the pressure off their staff while ensuring the customer can still get their order on time.
For brands with a brick-and-mortar location, in-store pickup has become a reliable and time-saving fulfillment solution that allows customers some flexibility in how they choose to receive an item. However, not every online retailer has the benefit of a real-world location. That’s why so many online brands have purchased additional retail space or underutilized warehouses to offer their customers a pickup option.
These rented facilities, known as micro-fulfillment centers, help get products closer to their destination while limiting the expense of last-mile shipping. If a customer lives close enough to one of these locations, they’ll have the option to pick up the order themselves during regular business hours. For an extra layer of flexibility, many fulfillment centers now offer a parcel locker option that can be accessed 24/7.
Providing these extra delivery options helps avoid the cost of postage, labeling and carrier fees that can really stack up and drive away customers before they place an order. With customer expectations higher than they’ve ever been, supporting their purchases with multiple delivery options could be the key to ensuring they’ll come back for more.
Customized Buying Experience
One of the most important developments in eCommerce customer service has been the emphasis on a personalized buyer experience. At this point, customers expect online stores to present them with custom content that’s most relevant to their previous purchases and guides them towards items they’re most likely interested in.
By offering features like product recommendations, price comparisons and personalized interfaces, retailers are employing what’s known as an omnichannel marketing strategy. An omnichannel approach gives your customers specifically tailored content that’s designed to help them make informed purchasing decisions while boosting the amount of products sold.
As customers visit your site and interact with the omnichannel interface, they’ll be able to find the products they’re looking for more easily and will be encouraged to purchase similar products.
Product returns might mean someone is unsatisfied with their item, but they still present a key opportunity to connect, communicate and problem solve with your customer base.
In the crowded field of online shopping, ensuring a fast-paced and efficient returns management process can help your brand stand out from the crowd. With the recent advancements in fulfillment tech and warehouse management software, building an intuitive returns process is easier than ever.
Providing upfront and clear instructions on how to complete a return can sometimes be the difference between a stress-free product return and a frustrating experience for the customer.
Rethinking how your brand handles returns and implementing changes can be time consuming, so many online stores outsource this side of the business. Third-parties like Loop Returns help clients optimize their warehouse returns process and provide an easy solution for customers that need to send an item back.
For a scaling online store, returns can be an unwelcome issue to deal with, but anticipating and supporting a customer’s decision to make a return can help ensure their satisfaction in the long run.
Social proof and online word-of-mouth can make or break an online store. With so many customers turning to user reviews before making a purchase, there’s a reason so many brands pay close attention to how they’re being talked about online.
From inside a company, it can be difficult to tell where your customer service approach needs the most improvement. The often brutally honest feedback gained from a customer review can be a great resource when thinking about what aspect of your customer experience could use the most focus.
As more and more customers get their shopping done online, customer service has become a competitive advantage for eCommerce brands. With the right blend of communication, fulfillment efficiency and feedback processing, brands can stick out of the crowd and turn their customer service approach into a profit-driving branch of the business.
If you’re looking for a fulfillment partner that can help keep customers happy from the moment they place an order, talk to the fulfillment experts at ShipHero today.
Click HERE to Schedule a Meeting Today
Maggie M. Barnett, Esq., COO
About the author: Maggie M. Barnett, Esq., is the COO of ShipHero. She is responsible for planning and executing the overall operational, legal, managerial and administrative procedures, reporting structures and operational controls of the organization. Barnett’s greatest strengths are leadership, risk mitigation, change management and a passion for business transformation. She is known for her expertise in delivering operational excellence and an ability to provide guidance and mitigating risk. Her leadership of ShipHero is grounded in a servant mentality, always doing the right thing for our stakeholders. Her passion for ShipHero comes from the ability to drive operational excellence throughout the organization impacting the lives of our employees, customers, and partners.