8 Keys To Great Customer Service For Ecommerce Businesses


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“The customer is always right.” It’s an old adage that most people have heard thrown around, especially if you’ve worked in retail or fast food chains stores. To most employees, it’s less about the customer actually being right and more about providing service in a way that makes the customer feel like their needs are receiving the right amount of attention and being taken care of in a prompt manner.

While the idea of the customer is always being right might be relatable and have its utility in businesses with physical locations where customers can speak face-to-face with an employee, it doesn’t exactly translate into a virtual communication medium like the Internet. How are e-commerce businesses supposed to attend to the needs and complaints of their customers? Luckily for us, there are a number of tools that can really help us address the problem of dissatisfied or confused customers.

Have a Clean Site Interface

Billionaire Edgar Bronfman Jr. once made the observation that: “You need to look no further than Apple’s iPhone to see how fast brilliantly written software presented on a beautifully designed device with a spectacular user interface will throw all the accepted notions about pricing, billing platforms, and brand loyalty right out the window.” It’s no surprise that we’re attracted to simple, aesthetically pleasing things that have deep functionalities. The user experience for websites is no different.

Site interfaces that are cluttered, slow, and don’t allow the user to locate what they’re trying to find within a few seconds will inevitably generate a large number of complaints from customers.

Don’t Slack on Visual Aesthetics

This idea really is an extension from the point of having a clean interface as good visuals and a clean interface go hand in hand. This should be on the top of the list of any company trying to run an e-commerce business. You want to aim for a site that has impressive visuals expressing a unified theme that extends to the products or services your business is offering.

Avoid Involuntary Popups

The worst thing you can do if you’re trying to attract people to a landing page is to shove advertisements, deals, account creation screens, and email subscription overlays into their face. It’s possible to argue that the goal of customer service is to promote sales and ensure that customers who have bought the product already are satisfied with their purchase. It’s rumored that Google’s ranking algorithms even aim to knock sites that implement these strategies down quite a bit.

Be Descriptive

Your product listings should be accompanied by a comprehensive description of relevant information. For example, if you are selling workout supplements, it would make sense for you to include information on the active ingredients and their intended effects along with the applicable nutritional details.

Know Your Demographic

Even among communities that pursue the same objective there are bound to be different niches. For instance, groups who are interested in pursuing fitness might be broadly split up into athletes competing in sports, weightlifters, and crossfitters. Each of these niche fitness groups has their own culture, priorities, and buying behaviors that will shape how they perceive and understand the role of customer service.

Another case is Whole Foods. Whole Foods has demographic of buyers that usually make an annual income of $100,000 or more, spend $41 during a grocery run, and return every month. Having insights into the price point and the spending habits of a demographic can allow you to serve their needs better.

Make Use of Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics is an incredibly powerful tool that is even more pertinent and suitable for online sales which are usually electronically recorded. In fact, Target was able to use predictive analytics to accidentally expose a teenage girl’s pregnancy simply based on the association between products she purchased. Investing in services like Amazon’s Machine Learning technology will really help you diagnose and better understand the source and nature of the customer service complaints your business receives.

Have a Customer Service Interface

You might not be able to hear a person’s voice or see their facial expressions online, but communicating with a real person in a chat box will still help customers feel that their complaints are being heard and processed. Intercom is one of the premier customer messaging platforms with a platform that can easily be integrated, accessed by customers, and managed by moderators. Having conversations with and hearing feedback from customers through Intercom will help you develop a better sense of where to improve your product’s designs and functions.

Pay Attention to Social Media

Nowadays, it’s no exaggeration to say that the marketing and sales efforts of e-commerce companies live and die by their involvement in social media. If you’re starting up an e-commerce business, the first thing you need to do is set up your company’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter accounts. You need a full 360-degree view of social media since it’s essentially another extension of online customer service.

AJ Agrawal
I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify


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