5 Tips to Improve E-commerce Customer Service

What do customers want from your e-commerce business? Did you think of products first?

That’s a good guess but think again.

Do you buy from Amazon because you’re getting the best products? Probably not. It’s more about how easy it is to find and buy what you want, how quickly you get it, and how easy it is to make returns. More than individual products, they’re selling an experience.

In Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer, 88% of consumers say the experience a company provides is as important as its product or service.

The customer experience drives success, especially in a digital-first world. Yes, this includes your products, but it’s also about engaging with your customers, streamlining purchases, and getting ahead of issues before they happen.

Let’s explore what your e-commerce experience encompasses, and discuss tips to improve e-commerce customer service.

The elements of e-commerce customer service.

E-commerce businesses face a unique challenge. (And at this point, who isn’t running their business online?) You have to create connections and build your entire customer service strategy online without frequent face-to-face interactions.

At the same time, customer expectations are increasing. Customers expect businesses to understand their unique needs and expectations (73%) and anticipate their needs (62%). They also want to connect with brands emotionally (62%). Those are much taller orders for online businesses of the past.

Before we jump into e-commerce customer service tips, let’s take a look at the elements that go into it.

Solve customers’ problems.

A key part of your customer service strategy involves attending to customer issues. Speed, convenience, and clarity are important factors.

But that’s where many businesses’ customer service plans stop. While resolution must be the pillar of your strategy, it’s just the beginning.

Help customers make purchase decisions.

Upselling and cross-selling are important customer service functions, but your team should also be available at key points in the purchase process.

If customers view your sizing guide, program a chatbot to start a conversation using web chat (also known as live chat). Suggest accessories to go with their new computer when they view the cart. Assisting with and validating your customers’ decisions will help increase revenue and add value to their interactions.

Build customer loyalty.

Digital transformation has accelerated over the last few years. Now, customers interact with businesses more online than they do in person. Salesforce reports that 60% of customer interactions now happen online.

With more online competition, it takes more to stand out—but you can with customer service. In fact, 90% of consumers say customer service is important to their choice of and loyalty to a brand, reports Microsoft.

5 tips to improve e-commerce customer service.

Online shoppers want instant replies and easy answers. E-tailers catering to their customers in these ways will benefit from consistently refining their service, sales, and marketing communication strategies. Five common ways to improve e-commerce customer service include using the following communication channels and automation.

1. Engage with customers at their convenience.

The biggest problem with phone conversations (of any kind, but it stands out with the ones you don’t want to have) is that it requires nearly your entire focus. There’s no going about your day engaging in other conversations, and there’s very little room for multitasking.

That’s why messaging has become so popular. In today’s fast-paced world, your customers need flexible communications. They need asynchronous messaging.

Asynchronous messaging doesn’t require both people to be present at the same time to have a conversation. Whereas phone calls and live chat typically require the attention of both parties to have a conversation, asynchronous messaging, like SMS/texting, doesn’t. Your customers get their questions answered, and your customer service agents can manage multiple conversations at once.

Provide asynchronous service with text messaging:

Text messaging for customer service is fast and convenient, making it easy for e-commerce companies to connect with customers. This shopper-friendly channel allows consumers to be on-the-go while getting answers to product questions, order information, or processing returns.

An asynchronous conversation like SMS/texting enables e-commerce businesses to move at the speed and cadence of their customers, creating a convenient and modern online shopping experience.

2. Offer on-demand support through the customer journey.

Admittedly, you lose something when shopping online instead of at a brick-and-mortar store. Customer service is (generally) readily available when you shop in person, and online shopping can feel impersonal when done wrong.

Customers on your website may have many options for finding answers, like an FAQ page, sending an email, or calling. Yet e-commerce customer service is at its best when it recreates the feeling of shopping at a small boutique. It takes quick, easily accessible customer service to do that.

Create on-demand support with web chat.

Web chat gives e-commerce businesses fast and easy ways to connect with customers at multiple points in the buying journey.

Typically presented in the lower right corner of your website, web chat lets customers connect instantly with your customer service team (or an AI-powered chatbot) whenever they need assistance.

Give your customers the fast service they expect, especially at critical junctures. Being available to answer questions when they’re adding items to the cart or completing a purchase can help close sales. Without web chat, customers may save their purchase for another day or find what they are looking for elsewhere altogether.

Web chat is a critical part of any e-commerce website to ensure customers are helped at every point in the customer journey, from product recommendations to purchase confirmations or follow-up questions.

3. Be where conversations are happening.

While “owned” forms of communication (like web chat, email, and phone support) are critical, waiting for customers to come to you is no longer enough. Wherever your brand has a presence, you should be prepared to offer the same service on your social media channels that customers expect directly from your website. To them, it’s essentially the same thing.

But more than that, being available where your customers are can actually boost revenue. According to Zendesk’s CX Trends Report, 93% of customers will spend more with companies that offer their preferred method to reach customer service (for example, web chat or text messaging). So extending your customer service reach across multiple channels is good for your customer satisfaction and your bottom line.

Do it with social media.

Engage with your customers across social media platforms to build advocacy and highlight your brand in the broader marketplace. These platforms offer more opportunities to connect with consumers in direct messages to answer questions and be a part of the conversation.

Before diving into multiple social media platforms, identify where your customers hang out the most.

Facebook remains the most used social media platform among US adults (69%), according to the Pew Research Center, with the following platforms coming somewhere in the middle.

But remember, numbers differ drastically depending on age. For example, 71% of 18 to 29-year-olds report using Instagram and 70% use Facebook. Pick the platforms that will have the biggest impact and provide the same level of customer service you do on your e-commerce site.

4. Provide proactive customer service.

The best kind of customer service? The kind that actually prevents problems before they happen. Right now, only 64% of customers say that B2C companies meet their needs and expectations, according to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report. Proactive customer service helps build trust and makes your customers feel supported and willing to purchase from you again.

If you’re looking to build trust (and increase sales as a result), proactive customer service is the way to do it. Two of the top 5 actions that build trust are to resolve issues proactively (#4) and to communicate proactively (#5), according to Salesforce. And you can do it with outbound messaging.

Embrace outbound messaging.

Online retailers reap huge rewards by keeping their customers in the know. A prime example is order status. You can eliminate a large number of customer service questions by proactively including tracking links and status updates for every shipped item.

Outbound text messaging is an incredibly effective way to communicate with consumers. Text messages have much higher read rates than other forms of written communication (like emails). It also allows you to provide personalized coupon codes, upcoming sales, or restock notifications.

The best solutions don’t stop at just sending outbound messages. Businesses should also enable 2-way conversations so consumers can respond and have agents or bots standing by to help answer any questions.

5. Provide always-on service.

Since customers can now order at all times of the day, they also expect the same from your customer service. While you can’t ask your support team to always be at the ready, you can ask that from chatbots.

Turn to chatbots—they never sleep.

Chatbots are truly revolutionizing e-commerce to encourage more sales and are becoming a key part of customer service strategies to improve customer satisfaction.

According to Zendesk, 47% of US consumers believe AI (like the kind used in chatbots) should improve customer service quality. Chatbots are always available to answer pre- or post-sales questions, assist shoppers with their selections, provide order and shipping information, and answer common questions. From quick answers to always-on responsiveness to AI-enhanced suggestions, chatbots can help satisfy customers and improve revenue.

But chatbots don’t just increase your revenue—they also help your bottom line. Retailers and e-commerce companies are increasingly leaning on the efficiency and cost savings that chatbots provide.

Chatbots help your customer service team move faster. They’re becoming increasingly useful for companies with high traffic volumes, speeding up response times, resolving common problems, and even conducting customer surveys. They can also perform critical tasks, like assisting agents and routing the most high-value conversations to the front of the line.

Make your customer service stand out with Quiq.

For e-commerce businesses, customer service is more important than ever. Standing out in a crowded online space is difficult, but it’s possible with the right strategies and tools.

Now that you know how to improve online customer service, it’s time to take action. You can improve e-commerce customer service for your business in a number of ways, from implementing business messaging software to including automation with bots in your customer service strategy. Whatever your company’s goals, Quiq is here to help you create the ultimate online customer service strategy.

The Evolution of Texts and Instant Messaging in Business

Instant messaging has changed the landscape of business-to-consumer interaction. The average American now receives a variety of texts from corporations and acquaintances. Digital-based customer service also opens more avenues to conduct business worldwide. How has digital transformation changed this multichannel approach and disrupted eCommerce and the sales cycle as we know it?

Brief History of Technology in Customer Service

Instant messaging has come a long way since the days of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and web messaging platforms used throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Now there are multiple messaging apps on a consumer’s smartphone at a time, such as WhatsApp, Kik, and Snapchat, supplementing the already versatile channel of text.

Call tracking has also grown in sophistication to be more than logging what phone number will reach the customer. This technology includes more insights and integration to create personal profiles and track the entire customer journey, not just record a conversation.

The Impact of New Technology on Customer Experience

A deeper customer experience arrived with 21st-century technology. The wave of instant messaging began as more Americans purchased smart phones and computers. They’ve become acquainted with the ease and quickness of communication, and the text message now dominates exchanges between friends and family.

As customers spend more time connecting through mobile and online, businesses are next to adapt these new technologies into their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. For representatives, the use of the traditional call center declines in favor of the direct, instantaneous nature of text and web chats. As customers know, when they can reach out to companies faster and avoid waiting on the phone, they’re increasingly willing to initiate these conversations.

How Customer Behavior Drives Business Messaging

Today’s market is full of tech-savvy digital natives who often rely on their smart phones to gather information and shop online. Customers prefer the convenience and familiarity of text, especially because they can start and stop the conversation as they please.

In today’s stores, the phones might ring less often but an organization’s social media and web chat bustle with activity and potential new customers to connect with. Instant messaging ultimately drives a more personalized experience when learning about your products or services.

Also, businesses are able to continue to build trust and loyalty by sending relevant outbound messages to customers with up-to-date information about products and promotions that will keep them coming back for more.  It is extremely important that businesses consider this is not just an opportunity to reach customers, but that if the customer has a question, they should be able to easily respond to the message ensuring it is a two-way conversation.

The Future of Instant Messaging for Business

Mobile messaging volume is rising by the year and signaling no intentions of slowing down. Another noteworthy trend is the way in which third-party platforms continue to develop their messaging apps, injecting rich media into the presentation along with more features and service integrations.

You can expect to see more businesses harnessing instant messaging on their platforms. Chatbots are already in-demand for supplying even faster solutions. What’s more, sales and service reps need training for this channel to act authentically with customers — professional, conversational, and engaging — as if two friends were texting.

Does digital transformation within the customer experience mean the phone call is obsolete? Perhaps these technologies shouldn’t be competing but complementing each other to give the customer more say, whether it’s using their voice or their fingertips.

Embrace the Future of Instant Messaging With Quiq

The Quiq Digital Customer Engagement Platform utilizes SMS/Text and instant messaging as part of an multi-channel approach to business and customer communications. The streamlined integration with your existing CRM solution and in-depth performance analysis allows you to use messaging as your most versatile communication channel and make improvements to customer service operations. To learn more, request a live demo today.

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Increase Conversion Rates With These 7 Business Messaging Tips

While conversion rates are more traditionally tied to eCommerce sites, it’s a metric that every company cares about. A conversion can mean different things for different companies. Websites can measure conversions by the number of visits, form fills, subscriptions or, more commonly the number of sales made. The goal you’re measuring can be a macro goal, like requesting a demo or it could be a micro-conversion such as watching a video. No matter what the conversion is, there’s always one universal thread that binds them all together. Everyone wants more of them.

Your conversion rate is a direct reflection of the number of visitors that find value when they visit your website. For the purpose of this article, we’ll think about a conversion as any action that leads to revenue generation such as a cart checkout or an appointment confirmed. In this article, we’ll share a few customer messaging tips to help you increase your online conversion rate.

Text Messaging Increases Conversions

Driving traffic to your site is only part of the conversion equation. Once you get traffic there, that user will either bounce from your site or engage in some way. Messaging may not be an obvious way to get more conversions, but it’s proven to be an effective one. Again, we’re seeking to move a site visitor to complete a transaction. There may be some barriers you have to remove for that visitor before they complete the transaction, such as finding the right solution on your site or answering questions about security. Messaging is the vehicle to help you do that.

The average conversion rate across for online retailer is just about 2%. While that may seem shockingly low to some, achieving that number takes some serious effort. Optimizing your site with compelling copy, clear call to actions and easy, logical navigation are critical to hit even the average number of conversions. It’s not unrealistic to achieve conversion rates higher than 2%, but you need to employ ways to get your site visitors engaged with your brand.

Quiq clients have realized an increase in conversions when they’ve implemented messaging. Retail clients, like The Laundress for example, use messaging to provide customers with personalized help to find and purchase the right products. Messaging has allowed their agents to provide the same kind of white-glove service to online customers that visitors to the retailer’s trendy SoHo location have come to expect.

At Quiq, we believe any customer should be able to reach any business via messaging. Why? Because interacting via messaging is the fastest and most convenient way to do business. We’ve also found that messaging encourages customers to re-engage with your brand.

Whether you already have messaging available on your site or are considering opening this up as a channel for your customers, there are a few critical things to keep in mind to make the experience truly beneficial for you and your website visitor. Follow these 7 customer messaging tips to increase conversion rates.

7 Customer Messaging Tips to Increase Conversions

1. Make live chat available right on the homepage

On a sales floor, you don’t let customers suffer in silence. At a trade show, you wouldn’t let prospects just wander aimlessly around the booth. It shouldn’t be hard for customers to reach you on your website. Put out the welcome mat and let customers know that you’re available to answer questions right away.

There are a few asynchronous ways your customers can contact you that sit under the Messaging umbrella. Live chat, SMS, MMS, rich messaging, and social platforms like Twitter and Facebook all present opportunities for you to connect, engage, and convert. All of these channels can be easily managed with the Quiq platform.

2. Make text messaging just as easy

If you’ve ever tried live chat on a mobile phone you know that the experience is less than ideal. Considering the number of purchase decisions that begin with and end with search on a mobile phone, it would be wise to make sure your mobile experience rival that of your desktop experience.

While chat may be the answer for desktop customer messaging, it can be clumsy and cumbersome on a mobile device. Instead, enable a “Text Us” option on your mobile optimized site so that your customer can communicate via their native messaging app. Most traditional chat experiences require both agent and customer to maintain a constant presence on chat, otherwise the chat “times out” and closes itself automatically. Because Quiq’s chat and messaging channels are all asynchronous, the conversation is never closed and it never ends. This allows your customer to send and respond to messages when it’s convenient for them.

3. Use inviting imagery

Since we’re visual creatures by nature, the use of well lit, clear images will keep customers engaged in the conversation and provide more context around the conversation. For retailers, this could be just the right enticement for customers to explore more product lines.

Modern messaging apps allow sharing of hi-res images, videos, links, PDFs, and gifs. Include attractive images of products, videos of client testimonies, or even fun emojis depending on the conversation to add that personal touch.

4. Add an element of interactivity

No one likes a one-sided conversation where one side is talking and the other side may, or may not, be listening. People and your customers want to be heard. It is critical to ensure there are open, two-way channels to support this requirement. Some communication channels, like email may feel like you were “talking at” your customers, modern messaging apps, like Apple Business Chat and Google RCS helps you “talk with” your customers.

These messaging platforms, allow consumers to easily interact with rich cards. Now consumers can choose from a list of available times to schedule an appointment or select the color of an item from a list products – all within a messaging conversation with just a few taps.

5. Give an approximate time for a reply

Every channel has certain expectations that come with it. The same goes with messaging. Customers expect ease, convenience and timeliness. If a successful promo or other event spikes your wait times on the messaging channel, let your customers know how long they can expect to wait.

Couple their approximate wait time with a message such as “Our wait times are longer than expected due to our successful winter sale”. This seemingly small tweak not only notifies your customers how long they may wait, but also provides some social proof that affirms your brand. As we’ve come to understand, social proof, like referrals or online reviews can help online conversions.

6. Provide multiple options for communication

Contact center leadership may cringe at the thought of having to manage multiple contact points simultaneously. Omni-channel communications can sound daunting but Quiq Messaging makes it manageable.

You never know where a prospective buyer may see you. An intriguing Tweet, an irresistible photo on Facebook, or a search on Siri could prompt a prospect to reach out to you. With Quiq, you can easily manage every conversation that comes in via text, live chat, app, social profiles, or searches on Google and Apple.

7. Have a real person available to assist with questions

Consumers are turning to messaging because they’ve exhausted their patience on FAQ pages and with email, and they simply don’t want to call for help just to wade through a confusing IVR system to talk to a live agent. They want answers, and they want them now.

Quiq clients have found success in using technology such as chatbots to gather information prior to handing the conversation over to a live agent. The main objective is supporting the agent with enough information to help your customer faster. Use automation to enhance the human touch, not replace it.

Increasing conversion rates, no matter what that may mean for your site is about getting visitors engaged. While messaging have proven over and over again to be the friction-free way for customers to get post-sales service, we’re seeing more evidence everyday that proves it is also providing the pre-sales support that increases conversions. Ready to join the growing list of Quiq clients who are realizing a boost in their conversion rates? Request to see a short demo today.