Peak season is rapidly approaching. You’ve got a reliable website and a solid fulfillment network in place – but how is your customer care? Problems with service and customer experience may not become clear immediately, but unless these areas of your business are solid, it may prove hard to convince this year’s customers to make a return visit next year.
Despite the ease of switching between different retailers with every purchase, it’s convenient for customers to stick with a single known quantity from one year to the next. If you want your eCommerce site to be that reliable shopping destination, it’s vital that you review your customer care operations and get them up to speed with demanding modern expectations.
If you put enough effort into your service efforts this year, you may make some very early progress on retention for the 2018 holiday season. There are a few specific elements to check up on when determining the effect your services will have on customer satisfaction.
1. Live Online Chat
Speaking with representatives is how customers get their voices heard – but they may not want to use the phone to do so. Shoppers today often pick phone calls as the least accessible form of communication with brands. This is why measures such as live chat are valuable. Typing a simple query is easy, and if the representatives and technology are there, your company can answer effectively.
Most retailers consider email a must-have contact channel, and it’s not hard to see why. Sending an email is a very natural form of communication today. People may also appreciate that email lets them speak to brands on their own schedule, replying once they’re ready. This makes it near-essential for busy customers without a lot of time to spend. Of course, being left waiting for a reply could aggravate these same consumers, so your team should be ready to respond.
3. Social Media
The perception that social media is just a customer tool rather than a business must is fading – and not a moment too soon. When customers encounter problems with online services, they may head straight to social media. If your company has a presence there, you can help. If not, that shopper may just publicly lament the poor experience. When social media platforms are part of a customer care strategy, you get a great chance to improve happiness and satisfaction, as well as to deepen loyalty through personalized communication.
4. Phone Calls
While some customers think the phone isn’t a helpful contact channel, abandoning this method in favor of only digital contact methods could make your brand seem remote or inhuman. After all, a voice at the end of the line is a great sign that a problem is being noted and understood, and a solution may be on the way. Too much automation can be a weakness in customer care. Human beings are the engine of service, and open phone lines are the easiest way for customers to reach them.
Be Ready for the Busy Season
Not only should you make sure the capabilities described above are in place and ready to go during peak season, but you should also be ready for them to scale up and face the volume of customers that will want help when your business is at its busiest. This may mean working with an outside partner, but it’s not worth hiring a third party that will compromise your ability to deliver great service. Finding a balance between performance and scale is key to making the right decision.
An ideal partner won’t be too separate from the rest of your operations. This is especially important today, as the digital means of communication that have become prominent are veritable wellsprings of useful customer data. Customer care is part of a retention strategy in any case, because happy shoppers are more likely to come back. Collecting helpful information means customer service can smoothly integrate with your overall marketing and outreach methods. If you need support along the way, we can help.
Consider these improvements to your company’s outreach for 2017, and see how many happy shoppers are back in 2018!