Why customer care is of (utmost) importance to e-commerce
Customer care is a key sales service for any type of retail channel. But in the online world, customer loyalty is what increases a store’s presence. According to recent studies, up to 65% of customers gave up on a purchase at the checkout page because of lingering doubts about the company and/or their products.
This is common among more conventional shoppers who have had to contend with buying online rather than in brick-and-mortar stores. Unlike at a cash register, they have no one to speak with about their doubts. That said, if you consider the number of users closing their window with a full cart, an overwhelming majority are willing to spend more online if they get the attention they need. It’s time to give it to them.
What is the current state of customer care?
Information during the checkout process, troubleshooting, and post-sale customer service are three of the most important aspects of customer care. The most common techniques used by online stores are:
- E-mail support or contact forms, used by 90% of companies.
- Telephone hotlines, used by more than 80% of companies.
- Apart from FAQs, which are offered by two-thirds of all stores, hotlines are the method of choice for customer care in Spain.
- Live chat is implemented by 20% of online stores.
- Although forums have become largely anecdotal in some countries, in Spain they are the preferred method for e-commerce.
Why is this so important?
Stores have only one chance to make a first impression—and in the online world, this is paramount. Since customers will be on guard following a negative experience, large sums are at stake.
In addition, after a negative experience, it has been shown that between 10 and 12 positive experiences are necessary in order to win back a positive impression of a store. Not all users are willing to give a second chance.
Worse yet, it’s rare for the same customer to visit your store again following a negative experience. This is particularly true if your sector deals in luxury products, as customers require a more tailored approach.
So what happens after a bad experience?
What happens if I’ve already made a mistake? Should I just cut my losses for that buyer? Let’s be clear: you should always take bad experiences seriously.
The first thing you should try to do is learn what problem the user actually encountered. There are parts of your online store that you can automate. Others, like customer service, should be adapted to each individual problem, whether it’s a request for product information or a problem with delivery.
Another thing to take into account is response speed. When faced with a customer issue, it’s important to reach out as quickly as possible so the customer sees that you care. If you’ve opted for a communication channel such as e-mail or a contact form, respond within a short time frame and, if you can, provide other communication methods that offer an instantaneous response, such as phone or online chat.
Finally, depending on the problem, think about ways you could compensate your customer for the bad experience. People generally understand that mistakes happen, but if users feel that they are looked after and compensated when it happens to them, it’s easy to make up for a bad experience–so long as you act quickly.
In addition, we encourage you to follow up on the problem to be sure that the customer is satisfied with the result. Following up isn’t only about learning whether or not the problem was resolved. It’s also an opportunity to have a dialogue with the user in a positive atmosphere where the customer will feel cared for until the very end.
Keep in mind that studies show a satisfied client will recommend your store to between four and six people, whereas an unhappy customer will vent to between nine and fifteen.
What are the most common problems?
We suggest you take special note of these ways to prevent the following problems with customer care.
One of the biggest mistakes is not having experts available to assist customers. If you are lacking in this area, organize a team composed of individuals specialized in product information, troubleshooting, etc. It’s also important that this team be empathetic, so that they are capable of reaching out to customers.
Finally, be sure to offer them the means necessary to solve problems. By this, we don’t just mean technical means, but also the know-how required to make decisions.
Unable to meet order volume
This happens to quite a few companies during specific periods like Christmas. In short, high order volume exceeds their capacity. During times like this, poor planning can lead to disaster. Be sure to anticipate order growth and consider hiring extra hands to help you manage it.
No action plan to respond to complaints
Nobody wants to deal with an unhappy customer, and many might even freeze up in such a situation. Come up with an action plan to guide your employees in matters of customer care, so they can know how to react to the most common situations. This can be particularly useful for new hires.
Sometimes, mistakes can come about with services rendered by a provider or shipping company. You should explain the problem to your customer, and in no case should you ignore it. Although your store is not directly responsible for the mistake, it is your job to make sure it doesn’t happen again—so in this way, you are involved. Above all, be sure to let your customer know that you are addressing the issue and trying to find a suitable solution.
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