The digital landscape is rapidly transforming, driven by the accelerated adoption of e-commerce in recent years. Businesses are embracing online channels to reach a wider audience and provide a seamless shopping experience.
However, as with traditional brick-and-mortar stores, customers expect exceptional support from e-commerce customer service, regardless of whether a chatbot, a live agent, or a combination of both provide it.
Online customer support has evolved beyond call centers and encompasses various channels, including chatbots, live chat, IVR systems, CRM, FAQs, and self-service portals. This omnichannel approach ensures that customers can access support whenever and however they prefer.
The optimal solution for exceptional customer service may lie in a hybrid human-AI approach, where technology complements and enhances human capabilities.
Yet, customers still have core needs from their e-commerce online support experiences. These needs go beyond technological advancements and instead focus on improving the simplicity and benefit of human interaction.
#1 Prompt, personalized and worthwhile responses.
Most online shoppers expect quick and efficient responses to their enquiries regardless of their channel; delays are never good. A survey of 3,200 respondents found that 46% expect responses from companies in four hours or less.
Any online retailer worth their salt will have a multi-pronged approach to ensuring quick replies. A few ways to ensure prompt responses include assigning a team or individual responsible for monitoring and responding to reviews promptly.
This could be a dedicated customer service team, a social media management team, or a designated member of the marketing department.
Either way, the best teams think on their feet, respond immediately and personalize their language so that it directly responds to the review’s contents instead of copying and pasting a standard script.
Another way is to define clear response guidelines for customer service teams, so they have a brand foundation for every personalised response.
For example, Temu customer service follows up negative reviews with informed and lengthy responses and credits towards buying more items on their website. Having store credit or discounts to enhance a good response is also beneficial.
A study by Claremont Graduate University conducted with Coupons.com found that when giving participants coupons, respiration rates fell 32% compared to those who did not get a coupon. Overall, a happier and more relaxed customer will be more likely to return to the business that made them feel so good.
For customers who are dissatisfied and on the verge of leaving, personalized offers can be effective in bringing them back. By analyzing their browsing history and preferences, you can personalize offers that will incite them to act, such as signing up for a newsletter or accepting a discount, encouraging them to return to the online shop.
It’s also important to monitor and review response effectiveness and analyze response times, customer satisfaction ratings, and overall sentiment to identify areas for improvement and optimize your approach.
#2 More me-commerce
What do we mean by “me-commerce?” Me-commerce refers to the personalization of commerce that has become popular among consumers in recent years. The term was first used by Scott Hartley, a Forbes contributor, in a 2012 article about the rise of e-commerce and the increasing demand for personalized shopping experiences.
Today, personalization remains a top priority for e-commerce consumers, particularly in the realm of customer service.
By tailoring their interactions to meet individual needs, preferences, and purchase histories, customer service representatives can create a more meaningful and engaging connection with customers, making them feel valued and understood.
The idea of personalization is widely embraced by consumers, with 90% of shoppers expressing a preference for personalized shopping experiences. Thanks to recent advances in customer data analysis, integrating personalization into the customer experience has never been easier.
Businesses can create valuable connections with their customers and foster long-term consumer loyalty by leveraging customer data analysis tools and tailoring their interactions to meet individual needs and preferences.
#3 Proactive communication and updates
Proactively staying on top of your shopper experience has multiple benefits. It can range from simple actions such as kicking off the customer-retailer relationship by sending personalized welcome messages to new customers to early fraud detection notifications.
A 2022 Gartner Survey examined how “flaws in proactive customer service can cause more harm than good.”
“Receiving proactive service leads to a 9% increase in a customer’s value enhancement score,” said Eric Keller, senior research director in the Gartner Customer Service & Support practice.
The Gartner survey also found that customer service teams increase satisfaction when proactive about more urgent consumer needs.
Prompt and proactive outreach to customers is highly appreciated, especially when it brings to light urgent issues that need their immediate attention.
Customers who were notified proactively about urgent matters (such as credit card fraud) reported higher levels of customer satisfaction than those who were left to discover the issue themselves.
Additionally, communication about returns policies is a great way to offset online shoppers' upset about paying for returns. In a recent Trustpilot survey, when asked how much of an influence a retailer’s returns policy has on how trustworthy they perceive that retailer to be, 26% said a big influence, 51% said somewhat of an influence, and only 4% said no influence at all.
E-commerce customers expect exceptional customer support regardless of whether a chatbot, a live agent, or a combination of both provide it.
Integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into customer support is at the forefront of this evolution.
The future solution for exceptional customer service may lie in a hybrid human-AI approach, where technology complements and enhances human capabilities.
Me-commerce refers to the personalization of commerce that has become popular among consumers in recent years. Today, personalization remains a top priority for e-commerce consumers, particularly in the realm of customer service.
Personalized offers based on browsing preferences can bring back customers who abandon their carts.
Proactive communication and updates can range from simple actions like kicking off the shopping journey with a welcome message to providing real-time order tracking updates.
Learn more about how Groupon used Trustpilot to improve its customer experience.