There are plenty of reasons to invest in a good quality of customer service, not least because 68% of consumers are apparently willing to pay a premium for products and services from brands known to offer a positive experience.
From a longer-term perspective, it’s also thought that 86% of customers cite good customer service as being key to turning them from one-time buyers into loyal brand champions.
Arguably, customer service is even more important to online businesses and ecommerce stores, as it plays a more central role in the consumer experience.
In this post, we’ll take a look at the key components of your customer service checklist and why they’re so important.
#1. Speed of Response & Resolution
While each customer is different, the modern breed of consumers is increasingly impatient and wants to resolve their online queries as quickly as possible.
This involves focusing on improving your first call resolution (FCR) rate, which measures a business’s capacity to process and resolve customer queries during the very first interaction.
Also referred to as first contact resolution, it’s a great measure of your customer service team’s performance and ability to respond quickly to queries. A key metric is the time it takes users to get in touch with an agent or sales representative; the quicker, the better.
In general terms, the average FCR rate is around 74%, although this can vary according to industry and the typical nature (and channel) of complaints. It’s good to aim for an FCR rate of 90% or higher, while 40% is considered to sit towards the lower end of attainment.
But how do you start to optimize your FCR rate? Ideally, you’ll make your customer support team accessible 24/7 ( at least during office and evening hours on weekdays and during the daytime on the weekend), through multiple channels including live chat, email, and telephone.
However, this can be costly to fulfill in-house. It’s important to note that you can outsource your customer service to ecommerce specialized contact centers like Salesupply.
This will enable you to tailor your teams and provide additional support in the evening or at weekends to meet demand, while also providing additional channels of support across social media channels.
Also, customer service agents need to have a certain amount of autonomy to solve requests. They need to have clear guidelines and documentation helping them in how to solve the most common requests as well as the solutions they can offer.
You should also be proactive and create resources that provide customer support directly through your website. For example, FAQ pages can be used to provide answers and insight pertaining to general queries and frequently asked questions, and directing customers to such resources may help to resolve queries ahead of time.
#2. Provide Multilingual Customer Support (Where Required)
If you sell into international markets, it’s also important that you’re able to provide real-time support in the customers’ native language.
Interestingly, online marketplaces such as Amazon already require that listings and customer support are delivered in the relevant language, with local dialects making it easier for consumers to understand product listings and how to raise queries with sellers.
This equates to superior service, higher customer satisfaction, and ultimately a lower rate of returns, while it also enables you to resolve queries quickly and with the minimum of fuss.
Once again, Salesupply offers international coverage and support in 36 languages and three different time zones, so this is a key consideration when building out your customer service.
#3. Create a Customer-Oriented Website
As we’ve already touched on, it’s important to feature FAQ resources prominently in order to deliver effective and proactive customer support.
The same principle applies to live chat functionality, as these entities provide key and accessible points of contact for customers who want to resolve their queries as quickly as possible. You may even want to consider the latest technologies to incorporate video capability into your chat function, creating a customer experience that’s akin to being in-store.
Ultimately, you should also strive to regularly update your FAQ page to reflect the most common and relevant queries, as this will help to incrementally improve your FCR rate. At the same time, you can monitor responses and the complaints received to make customer-oriented improvements to your website, particularly pertaining to your checkout page.
When combined with technical features such as fast page loading times and responsive design that allows for content to be viewed optimally across different device types, this approach can help to create a customer-first website that’s focused on the user experience.
#4. Create Your Ideal Team
One of the benefits of outsourcing is that you can quickly tailor and scale your customer support team in line with demand, rather than constantly facing issues of over and understaffing and the associated costs.
Outsourcing also enables you to create a flexible and agile customer support team that suits your needs, whether you experience increased demand during the evenings or weekends or have a largely seasonal business.
With Salesupply, you can choose for dedicated or shared agents depending on your volumes per country.
#5. Have a Transparent Shipping and Returns Policy
Transparency is key to an effective ecommerce operation and seamless customer support, especially as it helps to communicate terms clearly and helps consumers to manage their expectations (reducing frustrations in the process).
By developing clear shipping and returns policies (whether these are created in-house or in conjunction with a fulfillment specialist), you can ensure that customers know exactly what to expect and provide the quality of service that they deserve.
In the spirit of transparency, it’s also worth ensuring that you or your third-party customer service provider has access to tracking software. This ensures that your customers can receive real-time updates on the progress of their delivery, further reducing the burden placed on your support staff.
The Bottom Line
Customer service is an important nut to crack if you operate an ecommerce business, but this can be challenging as your business scales or when selling a diverse range of products.
As we can see from the checklist above, outsourcing customer service to an ecommerce specialist like Salesupply may offer particular value. This certainly helps you to scale your customer support in line with demand, while also delivering your service in multiple languages.
Read about the experiences of some of our clients here:
- Salesupply supports HIRMER in internationalization
- expert relies on Salesupply for supporting its online customers