How to improve the customer service of an ecommerce business: tips for satisfied customers
What customer service is
Customer service is involved in all stages of sales. Customer service also provides support, where necessary, during the purchase and immediately afterward. The team is in charge of any possible friction encountered by customers, solving them and providing the most suitable solutions for each situation. Furthermore, customer care maintains the relationship with the customer even when the purchase is successful, ensuring that the customer is satisfied and that the relationship with the customer is nurtured to promote loyalty and repeat purchases. So, customer retention passes through the work of customer service. This is also proven by some relevant data reported on Mailchimp.com: 89% of customers are more likely to complete a further purchase after a good customer service experience.
This is why a well-prepared and reliable customer service team is a crucial part of almost every business.
How to improve customer service in an ecommerce business: the do's and don'ts of MultiSafepay
For a payment solution provider such as MultiSafepay, customer service is crucial. Managing a complex subject such as payments requires a lot of expertise, careful attention, and a good speed of action.
Every day there is something new to learn and improve. Therefore, the following list of tips is the result of our experience with this long learning process. They are 'universal' tips for online shops and companies with physical stores.
Trust is the basis of any kind of relationship, including professional ones. This is especially true when you want to maintain a long-term relationship with a customer and stimulate repeat purchases.
Customer service can't promise anything it cannot do. Being true to your words is essential in good customer service Living up to the customer’s expectations is crucial, as well as providing timely responses and support (especially in case of issues).
Counting on a team of honest, respectful consultants to put themselves in the users' shoes and provide the most convenient solutions for them (and not necessarily for the company) will help create a transparent relationship. That transparency will build trust between the consumer and yourself, which'll greatly increase the odds of them returning to your webshop.
Integrity must always be the first rule for an excellent customer service team.
Be a problem-solver
Empathy and honesty are essential skills. But anyone working in customer service knows how vital proactivity is. Perfect customer service exceeds expectations. And above all, to solve any complexity, provides the most immediate and appropriate solutions to each situation. Simplifying the customer's life by solving large or small issues is almost like a mission!
Today, not being found is almost impossible. The Internet and new technologies provide companies with numerous channels to offer their customers the support they need around the clock.
But the old phone number is still irreplaceable.
In some countries (such as the Netherlands) making your phone number easy to access on your website is not a matter of choice but a legal requirement for webshops.
Allowing customers to talk to their consultant by phone to solve a problem 'live' or receive an immediate answer to their questions will help reassure them and improve their relationship with the company. For this reason, it is essential to give good visibility to the contact details on the website (and social channels) and clearly explain how to get in touch with customer service and other business units.
Handle critical issues quickly
If you work in a challenging industry such as payments (both online, in-person and omnichannel), you know how much speed matters when faced with critical issues. For a PSP such as MultiSafepay, merchants often ask the customer service department for help handling chargebacks and refunds or solving a glitch related to using a specific payment method. These and other difficulties, if overcome over a long period or not solved at all, can cause considerable losses for the company.
Moreover, it may happen that an issue involves certain parties over which the PSP has no control. In this case, good customer service means being able to direct the customer to the solution anyway. It must provide support as much as possible, always keeping in mind that transparency and immediacy are the key.
As already mentioned, transparency and timeliness are crucial, especially in payments. Precisely for this reason, any interruption of one of our payment methods is immediately reported on our status page. At the same time, we send timely communication to our merchants via e-mail/sms /webhook to avoid any problems for them and their customers.
In addition to the assistance and expertise of our support service, the most effective solution we offer our merchants in these cases is the chance to manage all transactions from one central 'hub'. MultiSafepay's dashboard simplifies operations such as refunds and chargebacks and monitors the status of all payments, both online and at the physical point of sale, through a unique point of control.
Take care of after-sales
Managing what happens after the sale is more than just contacting the customer from time to time to find out if they are satisfied with our products and if they are planning to make the same purchase again. The' after' often has some challenging issues to deal with. For instance, returns and refunds. If added to the daily requests that reach customer service, they add to the team's workload. Being able to deal with after-sales means providing effective and radical solutions to the most critical issues so that they do not recur.
On the other hand, optimal and effective management of customer care can undoubtedly contribute to a positive response in terms of online reviews from customers.
Reviews are essential for growing your business and acquiring new customers. According to data from Shopify, 93% of new customers actively search for reviews before buying.
84% of buyers trust business reviews as if they were personal recommendations. Finally, customers are 63% more likely to trust a company that has received good, impartial reviews from other users.
A good example is what we did for The Little Green Bag. Following the expansion of the online channel, and the consequent increase in refunds, the customer service of the Dutch company had to deal with dozens of requests from customers who needed to keep track of their payments in their banking environment. Our solution to fix this was the implementation of a virtual IBAN, which allowed users to locate their transactions quickly. Thanks to the introduction of the VIBAN, monthly requests to The Little Green Bag's customer service went from 60 to 0 (read the case history to learn more).
Speak your customers' language
How to improve the customer service of an ecommerce business? Simple, by speaking customers' language! That is the easiest and most immediate way to open dialogue and build the trust of your buyers.
This is important, especially when you want to expand your business into new markets. Offering your users the opportunity to deal with a customer care service that speaks their language will ensure a more relaxed approach, facilitate interactions and contribute to customer retention. All to the benefit of handling more complex files and requests. The same applies to all communications (newsletters, emails with offers and promotions, etc.), which must be customized in the recipients' language, and to the essential sections of the site (e.g., product pages).
Localizing one's business is more than just a matter of language: any online company that wants to expand abroad must also be able to offer the most popular and country-specific payment methods.
As we already said, offering the right solution to every customer is important.
Create and update your FAQ section
Creating a FAQ section on your site that provides comprehensive and transparent information on the most relevant topics of your business and answers the most frequent user requests can reduce the workload of your customer service. If the customer is satisfied with the information provided by the FAQ, he may not get in touch with them.
We recommend periodically updating the FAQ section with details of new products and services and the topics most frequently found in customer reports and requests.
Keep on training your staff
Whoever works in customer service must have innate personal qualities such as empathy, a predisposition to contact people, patience, and the ability to communicate. However, it is always a good idea to combine personal skills with periodic training sessions on new products that are about to be launched and improve customer service, time management, and workload optimization. Who will benefit from this continuous and constant training? First and foremost, the customer.
Don't ignore complaints
As we have said, customer requests should be handled with empathy and patience. This is especially true for complaints and critical issues that, if adequately addressed, can help to reflect on how to improve your offer and the work of the company's business units. Ignoring a complaint would further annoy the customer and make them distrust you.
No arrogance and superficiality
Kindness, empathy, and communication skills are must-haves for a company's customer service.
Remember that your customers are people before they are buyers. If you want them to trust your company, buy your products and come back again, you will have to make them feel welcome. Your customer service team should show a natural predisposition for human contact, the first rule for a profitable and long-lasting professional relationship.
On the other hand, approaching customers and responding to their requests with arrogance and superficiality would only damage you. The first things to be caught in the middle would be your reputation and the image of your company.
Money is not all that matters
If you want to build a long-term relationship with your customers, you shouldn't consider them just as a wallet. Pushing them to make a purchase thinking only of your immediate gains rather than feeling their real needs would compromise the relationship. They will certainly notice this. Those who work in customer service must always put themselves in the user's shoes and lead them toward the best path for them. Only in this way can the customer decide to come back.
Don't make promises you can't keep
False promises and superficiality are the quickest ways to lose customers' trust and damage your company's image. Today, mainly thanks to social media, word-of-mouth (even the harmful kind) still works very well, and it takes very little to make yourself look bad. On the other hand, as we said, honesty and integrity always pay off.
And excellent customer service, as we have mentioned, must always be able to do what it says and keep its promises to meet customers' expectations fully.
Conclusion: why is customer service so relevant for your business?
What you have read so far should make you realize that customer care is not just an add-on but an essential part of your offer. It is not something you can underestimate or do without, but it is the key to your success, just like the products you sell. And as such, it complements and completes your value proposition and strongly contributes to creating value and increasing your earnings.
To summarize the benefits that an efficient and well-organized customer care department brings to a business, we can say that:
- It allows the business to grow: customer service aims at customer satisfaction to retain customers and encourage repeat purchases.
- It also facilitates new customer acquisition: satisfied users will only speak well of a company that made them feel welcome and provided the proper support at every purchase stage.
- Structuring one's customer care team at best means putting the customer at the center of your business, which for many companies is a strength over the competition.
- A well-prepared team can enhance the value of the products/services it sells most properly, as well as identify the most suitable solutions for each customer and thus directs their choices in a relevant way.
- By carefully following the customer at all purchase stages, customer care reduces possible friction and complaints, facilitating the following steps and smoother processes.
- Through its work, the customer care team contributes positively to the brand image, reinforces the company's credibility, and protects it from negative word-of-mouth, with excellent results in popularity and online reviews.
What does all this mean? To ensure your success, you will have to continue to invest in your customer service team: the choice of people, their training, and the tools provided for their work will be first-rate aspects that will forever drive the success of your business.
Since customer service is one of the most critical aspects of an ecommerce business, we provide some tips on improving customer service in our guide about the most important ecommerce trends and the best future-proof strategies. Click here for an overview of the guide's contents, and download it for free.
To learn more about the advantages of the right payment strategy for your online and physical shops, check out our website's new omnichannel section and contact our experts.