When it comes to responding to the concerns of your customers, there’s no such thing as overdoing it. Online shoppers demonstrate a lot of trust when they buy from you. Unlike in traditional retail, they can’t interact with the product before they purchase it. They don’t even have proof the product exists. That’s why 66% of customers say they’re more likely to shop from online stores with excellent customer service.
So when issues do arise, it’s imperative that you provide your customers multiple avenues to resolve their problems. Your technique doesn’t have to be expensive or require dedicated hires. Customer support can be managed through multiple easy methods that work in tandem.
Note: While these methods will be fine to start out, most of them are not scalable. When you hit larger volumes of sales, you’re going to want to advance to more powerful online support systems with more functionality. But for now, let’s get into the list.
Email support is a great starting point for any ecommerce business because accessing and replying to emails is something we all know how to do. Plus, it keeps customer complaints out of the public eye.
Here are some tips for your email support strategy.
- Create a dedicated address for support. Make it separate from general inquiries and your personal email address. This ensures customer issues never get lost or buried.
- Set up an auto-reply to the email that lets a customer know the message has been received and how long it will generally take to get a response.
- When you reply, suggest a solution to the issue as quickly as possible. Email support gives you plenty of time to think and craft the perfect response, so use it to your advantage.
Like email support, phone support is great because it’s a private way to resolve customer complaints. However, it has an added personal element that is entirely unique. Both the customer and the seller become humanized when using this method. It can be great for diffusing tension.
Remember this advice when you’re developing your phone support strategy.
- Be prepared before the call even begins. Make sure you’re well-versed on your policies and your products. If a customer suspects you’re not sure what’s going on, tensions will rise.
- Take time to show interest in the customer and to build a connection. Learning about them can help you more deeply understand the nature of their issue. The customer will appreciate the care you have for them.
- Don’t get roped into an argument. Because phone support is instant, it can sometimes be easier to find yourself in a back and forth with a customer. Stick to your policy, don’t be argumentative, and work with the intention of leaving the customer happy.
Social Media Support
Customer support is one of the many ways an ecommerce business can use social media. Not every business owner is a fan of social media, but it’s important that you offer support through various channels. When a customer complains on social media, it is typically because they’ve exhausted all other avenues. Since these complaints are so public, a lack of a response could scare off potential new customers.
Keep the following in mind when offering support over social media.
- Issue a public response to the comment so everyone can see that you are courteous, polite, and eager to resolve issues.
- Invite the customer to a more private channel for the specific resolution. This can be done through private messaging. It’s imperative that you get the customer out of sight of the public.
- Customers who use social media expect a fast response. Whereas it’s typical for email support to take 24 hours, try to respond to social media inquiries within an hour or two.
Community support delegates some of your support needs to your own customers. Rather than having to respond to every issue yourself, community support methods simply require you to create a space where customers can share common issues and solve problems together.
Community support works best if you can keep these three tips in mind.
- There are several different platforms you can use for your community. You could create a forum, a private Facebook group, or even a Reddit subreddit.
- Offer your input as often as possible. Don’t let the inmates run the asylum. You should always present yourself as an active participant and expert in the community.
- Establish rules for discussion. Monitor the community to be sure those rules are being adhered to. This helps prevent spam, abuse, and other distractions from dragging things down.
There you have it. These four methods will be enough to sustain any eCommerce business through its early days until you’re ready to move on to a more advanced customer support system. Your buyers will feel more comfortable knowing they have an avenue to resolve any roadblocks they come across. Good luck!
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