How to Improve Customer Service in an E-commerce Business

E-commerce businesses face a challenge that physical stores do not—they do not meet their customers in person. All their communications and interactions take place online or on the phone, which can leave some customers feeling like little more than a number to a faceless company. To ensure your e-commerce business stands out from the crowd, you need to show customers how much you value them at every stage of your relationship.

Over 50% of customers who have a poor experience with a company will not buy from that company again, and/or tell others not to buy from them either. It can be difficult to know where to start when trying to provide your customers with the best possible experience, but the truth is your strategy does not need to be convoluted. This guide outlines some important tips to consider when improving your e-commerce business’ customer service provision.

Provide multiple contact options

Gone are the days when customers would only be offered one phone number to call when they had a query. Now, customers expect to have multiple communication options when it comes to contacting a business so that they can choose the channel that suits them. This includes phone support, social media, email, and live chat on your website. Customers can then contact you in the way that is the most convenient for them.

The modern customer does not have much patience when they are interacting with a business, and many become frustrated if they do not receive a response to their query within an hour. Whether they have sent an email or a message via social media, your team need to be working to resolve queries and problems as soon as possible, while ensuring each customer gets the best possible solution.

Give customers control

While sometimes a customer will get in touch with a unique problem or question, most of the queries your customers have will be on a similar theme; for example, delivery, warranty, or your returns policy. To prevent customers having to wait for a response by email or sit on the phone waiting for a free agent to answer their simple query, ensure your website has a detailed FAQs page covering key topics. This will also mean your team will have more time to focus on more complicated problems and enable them to solve issues more quickly.

Treat your customers like individuals

Customers do not want to be treated like a number on a spreadsheet, but as businesses expand it becomes more difficult to create and maintain a personal relationship with each customer. This is why many businesses bring in customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRM software provides businesses with the tools they need to record key information about their customers, as well their buying history, past communications, marketing preferences, and more. The more information you have about your customers, the more you can provide them with a personalized service.

Optimize shipping and delivery 

When you have put so much effort into your product, service, and customer communications, it would be both frustrating and a shame to fall at the final hurdle. When a customer has placed an order, they expect you to dispatch it to them as soon as possible, but they also expect to be informed at every stage of the process. At the point of purchase, you should provide customers with a clear indication of when they can expect their product; for example, within 1-2 working days or by a specific date. A realistic estimated delivery date is important, as your task is to ensure that you meet or exceed the customer’s expectations.

Supply chain delays and poor communication can leave your customers feeling disappointed, even if your customer service has been exemplary up to that point. Modern customers expect to be able to track their parcel’s journey from when it has been dispatched to the point when it arrives on their doorstep. It is essential that you deliver an efficient last mile that runs as smoothly as possible in order to provide excellent customer service.

Take every opportunity to engage with customers

Some businesses only communicate with their customers at the point of purchase and/or when customers get in touch with a problem. However, you do not need to restrict your customer communication in this way. There are several channels that enable you to positively engage with your previous and existing customers. For example, social media platforms and email marketing can be used to provide useful information and entertaining content, as well as special offers that will keep customers connected to your brand. This shows customers that they are valued and increases the likelihood they will buy from you again.

Collect regular customer feedback

Nothing is more frustrating than feeling that you are not being listened to, and this is certainly true in the context of a customer feeling ignored by a business. To ensure that your customers have a voice, you should be seeking their feedback regularly.

If you are not already doing so, you should be asking your customers to provide a review of your product or service. A popular way of doing this is to send an automated email when the customer has received or experienced their purchase, requesting that they provide a review. Their feedback will give you an invaluable insight into what the customer particularly appreciated and where they would like to see improvement. In addition, positive reviews can also be used in your marketing campaigns.

You could also send customer surveys out to all the customers on your database (ensuring that they have given their consent to be contacted), asking them to provide a rating for their customer service experience. This will help to pinpoint exactly where improvement is needed and enable you to track improvement over time if you repeat the survey at a later date.


In conclusion

Your customers are the key to your business’ success, so the quality of your customer service is of paramount importance. With an efficient, personalized, and comprehensive customer service strategy, your e-commerce business can create a solid base of happy customers who will not only buy from you again but may also recommend you to friends and family. By continuing to adapt and improve your customer service, you will establish an excellent reputation that will keep customers returning to you again and again.


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