The number of online stores is increasing which makes staying ahead of the competition harder than ever before. And with customer experience overtaking price and product as a key brand differentiator, it has never been more important for merchants to provide an exceptional ecommerce experience.
As experts in customer service, Gorgias were the perfect people to ask about what makes a customer tick and the tools needed to build brand loyalty and favourability. So we caught up with Gorgias’s very own Partnership Manager, Louis Lavedan to reveal all.
What is customer experience and why is it so important in ecommerce?
Customer service is what differentiates your online store from your competitors. Essentially, it’s about how your customer perceives their experience with your business. If the experience is good, then this will be reflected in your retention rate, satisfaction rate and sales. So if a customer is happy, then an online retailer will reap the benefits!
Sometimes things don’t always go to plan and customers are left with a negative perception of a brand. What causes a bad experience and what impact can this have on a retailer’s business?
Many things can leave customers feeling frustrated, but recent research by Hotjar revealed these five to beware of:
1) Long response times
If you leave a customer waiting they’ll go to another store, simple as that.
2) Not understanding the customers’ needs
If you don’t understand what your customer wants they’ll leave with a sour taste in their mouth.
3) Unresolved issues and unanswered questions
Failing to answer your customer promptly will leave them feeling dissatisfied.
4) Lack of human touch
AI can’t possibly answer all of a customer’s questions. Customers prefer speaking to a ‘real life human’.
5) A lack of personalisation
Sending your customers a generic message will backfire and show the customer you don’t really care about them.
Customers are the foundation of success for any ecommerce business. If you’re not taking care of your customers then you can expect your businesses reputation to suffer, profits to shrink and your customer retention to plummet.
How to deal with complaints on social media
For any brand handling complaints via social media can be a minefield and with more and more customers preferring this method to complain it’s imperative brands get it right. From the offset businesses need a community management strategy in place. The bigger the retailer the more important it is.
Firstly, try to respond to complaints immediately. At Gorgias, we use First Response Time - or FRT for short - as a metric when referring to the time your customers spend waiting before being attended to. Lower FRT results in better customer satisfaction rates. On social media, we’d recommend responding to your customers within 60 minutes.
What’s more, always use positive language, but obviously, if you’re delivering bad news it’s best to be direct and professional about it. The key is to always position the response as solving the customer’s problem. For example, if a customer has ordered something that’s out-of-stock an automated email informing them you don’t have the product just won’t cut it! You need to inform the customer when they can expect it to be delivered or suggest alternative products. Show the customer you care!
Finally, be reactive and proactive. The longer you leave a complaint unanswered on social media the more likely the issue will escalate. Comments on social media are public, so ignoring the messages or deleting them entirely can be brand-damaging.
Is the customer always right?
It’s not a question of them being right or wrong. But since customers drive the success of an ecommerce business, it’s important to always put their needs first. Sometimes a customer complaint might not be logical, but businesses still must respond with professionalism.
Customer experience best practices
It’s really important that merchants set KPI’s and track them to successfully measure the impact of their customer experience. Things to consider include response time, conversion rate, converted tickets and total sales. Another indicator of successful customer service is employee satisfaction. When customer service is poor this will be reflected in an employees workload and engagement.
Another tip we’d suggest is to build a user-friendly customer help centre. Over 80% of customers will try and solve a problem on their own, before talking to a customer service representative. So the key here is to make the process of finding a solution as easy as possible.
There are a few ways you can do this, firstly, keep navigation simple on your ecommerce site and make sure you have a prominent CTA to contact your customer service team. Also, an FAQ page that answers most common questions can improve your customer’s experience and reduce the workload for your staff.
Automation is essential. This is because it offers retailer’s 24-7 customer service, but it shouldn’t be overused! For example, you can automate email responses, so if a customer asks a question out of hours then you can still answer them. At Gorgias we suggest using AI in alliance with customer service reps because as I mentioned before; automation doesn’t have the answers to all of your customer’s questions.
What’s more, ecommerce business owners should actively collect customer feedback. Rather than asking your customer to log into a portal to answer a survey, we suggest embedding these surveys into emails. At Gorgias we offer our ecommerce clients a customer satisfaction survey feature which can help business owners determine how well their customer service team are supporting customers. With each survey being sent out after they’ve had an interaction with a customer service representative.
As discussed above, it’s also important that customer service responses are reactive, proactive and professional. We’d also suggest revisiting your policies. Customers worry A LOT about the fine print, so sloppy policies just won’t cut it! Make sure every policy is available on your website and is concise. For those retailers that need help with this, check out Gorgias’s policy generator.
Meet the marketing experts
Want to talk about your next marketing strategy? Get in touch with our team of experts at Velstar today.
For more exclusive Shopify insights, news and resources, explore the Velstar blog…