5 Types of Customer Service Software for E-Commerce Businesses

Customer service takes more than a team of hardworking agents. It takes a solid technology strategy, too.

E-commerce brands, in particular, face chaotic customer service challenges. Between omnichannel support, the demand for 24/7 availability, and higher overall requests, there’s a lot to manage. 

Unfortunately, it’s getting even more challenging. Many retailers know their customer service needs to improve, and customers aren’t making it easy. Customer engagement is up 14% in 2022, and so are customer standards. 60% say they have higher customer service standards than before, but only 26% say the overall quality of their customer service is extremely strong.

This year is tough. There’s a big gap between customer expectations and reality, and the talent shortage isn’t helping. But there is a way to fill that gap and deliver exceptional service to your customers.

You need customer service software

Dive in to see how you can make things easier for your customer service team while improving customer satisfaction, and see the five must-have support tools that can help you do it.

What is customer service software?

Customer service software helps your support agents serve your customers. From CRM to analytics, you can put together an ecosystem of tools to enable efficient and effective customer support.

What kind of software do you need for e-commerce customer service?

Your support team is spread thin. They’re handling the rapid influx of inquiries, dealing with shipping delays, and stressed customers—plus they’re likely dealing with a short staff.

Give them the gift of efficiency. Here are the five must-have types of software to streamline your customer service.

1. CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) is software that helps your team organize customer information, from storing historical information to analyzing data to facilitating conversations.

CRM software is a foundational purchase for an e-commerce business. Many of the following tools are available as add-ons or integrations so that everything can work together as one.

2. Ticketing system

Simply put, a ticketing system keeps track of customer issues. It helps customer service agents to organize and manage all customer inquiries, no matter which channel they come through, to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

You can also automate ticketing systems to help route customers to particular departments, prioritize based on category, or even tag using perceived customer sentiment.

3. Conversational engagement platform

Conversational commerce for customer serviceA conversational platform, like Quiq, seamlessly connects agents and customers through a variety of messaging channels. Messaging has proven to be a more efficient and affordable form of customer engagement than voice and enables agents to manage multiple conversations at once. 

You can also use conversational engagement platforms to connect with your customers where they are, like Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp, and more. Zendesk even reports that third-party messaging apps receive the highest average CSAT score (98%).

Quiq also delivers enhanced conversational AI to connect your customers through chatbots. Chatbots lighten the load for your customer service agents, filling in at various points in the conversation.

Designate a chatbot as the welcome wagon to collect customer information and route the issue to the appropriate department, automatically capture customer feedback at the end of an interaction, or even have bots answer common customer service questions. 

4. Analytics software

Every team can benefit from more data. Analytics software helps you understand customer behavior, trends, and pain points. Use this information to identify areas of improvement in your customer service team or uncover problems before they happen. 

For example, if you see a jump in “Where’s my order?” inquiries, test what happens when you send tracking links via text message, which has a much higher open rate than email.

5. Knowledge base

This software allows you to create and manage a customer self-service portal. Customers can find answers to their questions without having to contact customer service. According to a 2022 Zendesk survey, 83% of customers will spend more money with companies that allow them to find answers online—without having to ask anyone.

Knowledge base software can be as simple as a content management system, but there are also specialized services that help you catalog information so that it’s easier for your customers to find. 

How customer service software can all work together

As you piece together best-of-breed solutions for your customer service, look for software that integrates with each other to enhance your workflows. Investing in solutions that play well together is vital for the success of your customer service team.

For example, Zendesk’s Quiq integration enables your customer support agents to work with customers right from the Zendesk interface. When customers send a message to your company, no matter which platform, it automatically creates a ticket and fills in information like assignee, ticket type, priority, and more.

Agents can also use the customer information that’s already in Zendesk to help them solve issues. Access information like order history, past conversations, and more. Quiq will even scan conversations to identify pain points and pull up answers from Zendesk’s knowledge base.

You can find other Quiq integration opportunities here.

What are the benefits of customer service software?

Enhancing your team’s workflows with customer service software provides tons of benefits, felt by your customers, your agents, and your bottom line.

  1. Quicker response times: When customer service agents have the right information at their fingertips, they can respond to customer questions faster. Customer order information or past interactions can be stored within a CRM and automatically pulled up a the beginning of a conversation. Or, when agents are asked a question they don’t know, they can simply search their knowledge base. 
  2. Faster resolutions: Above all else, customers want their problems solved quickly. Since agents have a more comprehensive picture of the customer and their problem, they’re more likely to resolve their issue with fewer messages.
  3. Reduced costs: Automating manual tasks and improving efficiency enables customer service agents can handle more customer requests in a shorter time.
  4. Happier agents: Customer service agents spend a lot of time dealing with unhappy customers, which can really take its toll. Only 15% of agents report that they’re extremely satisfied with their amount of work. When work is easier to manage—and customers are happier—your team benefits, too. 
  5. Improved customer service: Support agents can deliver even better customer service with insights pulled from customer analytics. They can track things like sentiment and easily escalate problems to a manager when needed.

Plus, customers don’t need to repeat themselves when their information and conversation history is readily available. That itself provides a premium customer experience—one they’re willing to pay for. 88% of surveyed shoppers said they would spend more money with companies that ensure they won’t need to repeat information. (Wow!) 
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Start with Quiq

If you’re looking for customer service software to deliver exceptional customer experiences, Quiq’s conversational AI is the place to start.

Unlock the power of conversations with rich messaging, intelligent chatbots, and tools to help your agents thrive. Plus, you can meet customers on whatever platform they prefer. 

Start using asynchronous messaging and deliver stellar customer service.

With customers flocking to messaging channels, it’s a great time for your customer service team to adopt asynchronous messaging. The best way to set your team up for success? With a conversational platform, like Quiq.

Turn any messaging channel into an asynchronous experience. With Quiq, you can:

  • Manage conversations across multiple channels
  • Serve customers based on sentiment
  • Increase agent efficiency and boost customer satisfaction

Sign up for a Quiq demo and see how it can help you deploy asynchronous messaging and elevate your customer service.

Asynchronous Messaging: How to Use it to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service

Messaging is good. Asynchronous messaging is better.

Let’s face it. Customers have little tolerance for inconveniences of any kind. Whether that’s waiting around for a response, repeating information, or finding an immediate solution to their problem.

Customer service teams aim to serve, so having the available channels to give customers the exact experience they want is crucial to increasing customer satisfaction.

What is asynchronous messaging?

Imagine you’re the customer. You’re busy but need help returning a pair of boots (that just aren’t your style) that your well-meaning dad bought you for your birthday. A completely random example…

You reach out to the live chat service on the eCommerce website to initiate the return, but you’re interrupted midway through the conversation. There’s an immediate work problem that needs your attention. The kids are fighting. The sky is falling. Whatever it may be, you have to start the process all over again.

Frustrating, right? It’s just a simple return!

Well, asynchronous messaging (sometimes called async messaging or asynchronous chat) takes the stress out of that conversation. It doesn’t require both parties to be present at the same time to complete the interaction. You can simply jump back in once you’ve taken care of life’s responsibilities. This is asynchronous messaging at its best.

SMS/text messages, WhatsApp, and Facebook Chat are all prime examples of asynchronous messaging in action. Conversations can start, stop, and resume whenever either person is available.

At the other end of the spectrum is synchronous messaging. It’s typically a live, one-to-one chat between a customer and a customer service representative.

What makes it so different? There’s usually a clear beginning and end to a synchronous chat. A customer reaches out with a specific question or to find a solution to their problem, and the conversation ends once those needs are met.

Think of it like a typical phone interaction—just using messaging instead of voice. And since synchronous messaging is so similar to phone interactions, it often comes with the same drawbacks.

  • Customers have to wait for a live agent.
  • If the agent can’t answer a question, the customer has to be rerouted.
  • Agents can only serve one person at a time.
  • Complex problems take up more of your agents’ time.
  • If a customer gets interrupted, the chat ends without a resolution.

Now that you know what asynchronous messaging is, keep reading to learn about the benefits for your customers, your support team, and your bottom line.

Getting started: 7 benefits of asynchronous messaging.

Think of asynchronous messaging somewhere between live chat and email. Customers typically expect a quick—but not instant—response. This flexibility allows your team to deliver exceptional customer service in a time that works for the customer and your team.

But that’s not the only benefit. Here are seven benefits of adding asynchronous messaging to your customer service arsenal.

  1. Customers can fit you into their busy days. Life is busy. We’re always multitasking. There are too many distractions—it’s a lot. Asynchronous messaging gives customers the flexibility to fit you into their schedules. They don’t have to block time out of their day for a lengthy live chat or wait for business hours to get someone on the phone. Instead, they can get their support requests taken care of on their own time, at their own pace.
  2. Less wait time. Since agents can jump in and out of multiple conversations—as many as 30 at a time—customers spend less time “on hold” waiting to connect with a live agent. And that is really important to customers. Zendesk reports that over 60% say getting their issues resolved quickly is the most important aspect of good customer service. With asynchronous messaging, customers can get answers while going about their day.
  3. No repeated information. One of the things that frustrates customers the most is to have to repeat their problem. No matter whether they get disconnected from a live chat or transferred to multiple people before they get an answer to their problem, repeating themselves almost always leads to a bad experience. With asynchronous messaging and a conversational platform behind it, customers (and agents) can pick up the conversation right where they left off. There’s no information lost between sessions. Their conversation history is available for agents to reference at any time.
  4. Resolve problems in less time. While asynchronous messaging potentially drags out conversations (depending on how quickly your customers respond), agents often spend less working time per interaction. Quiq clients can reduce work time by 25–40% when converting calls to messaging. This is because agents can quickly address those frequently asked questions that don’t necessarily require a phone call (think password reset process and hours of operations). Simple problems get solved faster, while more complex problems have the breathing room to come to a thorough resolution.
  5. Prioritize customer requests. During peak times, when your team is truly overwhelmed, asynchronous messaging helps your agents triage customer requests. Collect customer information, sentiment, and problem upfront to determine how quickly the problem needs to be addressed. A customer service agent can immediately help an angry customer with a simple problem and close out the ticket quickly. While a neutral person with a more complex question can wait a little longer for your agents to figure out the right response.Asynchronous messaging agent efficiency customer engagement performance channels sms facebook instagram whatsapp conversations
  6. Meet support demands with fewer agents. Much like phone calls, synchronous messaging requires one agent per customer interaction. To meet demand and avoid long wait times, you need a higher volume of staff members at all times. This also means that you likely have to hire extra team members to support peak times. Asynchronous messaging can help with that. Since your support team can take part in multiple conversations at once, you can serve more customers with fewer agents. This is particularly helpful now when baseline support ticket requests have gone up 20% since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Zendesk.
  7. Get more opportunities to initiate a conversation. Since conversations are more flexible, customers are more likely to engage with customer service reps at different stages within the the customer lifecycle. Customers don’t have to set aside big chunks of time for conversations and your team will have more context to help serve them better. From starting a conversation from Maps with Apple Messages for Business or using Facebook Messenger to ask about size options, there’s ample opportunity to serve customers and increase revenue.

How to make the most out of asynchronous messaging.

Messaging as a whole has significantly grown in popularity since the pandemic began, and it has done so at a faster rate than any other channel. Support tickets coming in from messaging channels rose by 48%, compared to a 15% increase from live chat.

If you haven’t embraced asynchronous messaging yet, we have a few best practices to shape your approach and help you get started.

  • Design your asynchronous messaging strategy around your agents waiting for the customer—not the other way around. While it gives your agents the ability to manage multiple conversations, the benefit should really be for the customers’ flexibility. If you use asynchronous chat to spread your team too thin, the experience can end up feeling like email, which no one likes.
  • One way to improve response times and decrease the time agents spend per interaction? Use a chatbot to welcome customers and collect pertinent information beforehand. This way, customers get served quickly, and agents can spend their time problem-solving instead of gathering information.
  • Want to stand out? Don’t treat messaging like email. In 2020, Zendesk reported that it takes more than 11 hours, on average, to close messaging tickets. That’s compared to 30 minutes for voice and live chat and 11.5 hours for email or web form tickets.
    While messaging gives your team more flexibility to respond, customers still expect a response time in under 5 minutes. Try staffing it as you would with voice and live chat to start. Then, adjust as your team becomes more efficient and you invest in other ways to streamline service.
  • Remember to track actual work time. Overall, asynchronous messaging will have high-resolution times since you can resolve issues in two minutes, two hours, or two days. Giving customers the freedom to respond at their own convenience can superficially elevate those numbers. But remember: if a customer is responsible for the delay, a two-day conversation can result in a lower work time and a higher customer satisfaction rate. So take resolution times with a grain of salt. A conversational platform like Quiq can help you measure actual work time.

Start using asynchronous messaging and deliver stellar customer service.

With customers flocking to messaging channels, it’s a great time for your customer service team to adopt asynchronous messaging. The best way to set your team up for success? With a conversational platform, like Quiq.

Turn any messaging channel into an asynchronous experience. With Quiq, you can:

  • Manage conversations across multiple channels
  • Serve customers based on sentiment
  • Increase agent efficiency and boost customer satisfaction

Sign up for a Quiq demo and see how it can help you deploy asynchronous messaging and elevate your customer service.

Top 3 Things to Know About Apple Messages for Business

How much do you know about Apple Messages for Business?

We know what you’re thinking. Not *another* messaging platform.

But hear us out. Business Messages is one of the most organic messaging experiences you can offer your customers.

There’s no denying that Apple knows how to create a great customer experience. From their Genius Bars to their MacBook packaging, there’s care and attention paid to every small detail.

And that extends to their Business Messages feature. We’re answering three basic questions to help you discover what it is and how to use it to improve your customer experience below.

What is Apple Messages for Business?

Apple Messages for Business allows users to connect with your business through Apple’s native Messaging app on their iOS- or macOS-enabled devices. With more than 1 billion iPhone users, you have a simple way to connect with your customers.

When you enable Apple Messages for Business, users get one-on-one access to your representatives directly in Maps, Safari, Search, Siri, Spotlight, and even within your iOS app. All they have to do is click the messaging icon, and they’re taken to their messaging apps.

Your customers don’t need to navigate through an automated phone tree, search for an email address on your website, or download an app—they can simply open up the Messages app and start chatting with a customer service representative right away.

What can you do with Apple Messages for Business?

Besides enabling customers to connect with you as easily as they do with their favorite people, Apple Messages for Business offers a variety of features you can leverage to improve your customer experience.

Rich messaging

So much more than a text. Rich messaging allows you to send images, links, share a location, read receipts and more.

Send a rich link that displays website information from within the message. Customers can verify it’s the information they’re looking for before tapping the link, and they’re provided an easy way to get back to the conversation after they’ve visited the site.

Retailers can use messaging to send product images, insurance companies can ask for pictures of car damage, or you can share nearby brick-and-mortar locations.

Appointment scheduling

Let customers schedule appointments right from within messaging. Customers can see if it conflicts with their schedule, automatically add the appointment to their iCal, and get reminders to ensure they don’t miss it.

Augmented reality

Help customers decide if a product fits in their home. Using their iPhone camera and augmented reality, customers can visualize a product in their homes.

List picker

Simplify customer choice by letting them pick from a pre-populated list. Use it to help them pick locations, item size, color, or service.

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Accept payments with Apple Pay

Eliminate abandoned carts by completing sales right within Messages. You can send payment requests with Apple Pay and make it so much easier for customers to complete a transaction. No more entering in extra information, and no getting up from the couch to get your credit card… Just instant gratification.

Collect (secure) customer information

What’s one thing customers hate most about customer service? Having to repeat themselves and give out their information to multiple people. Apple Business Chat removes this obstacle by providing the customer information you need. Plus, messages are long-lived. No matter when a customer reaches out, their previous conversation will live in the messaging platform so you can pick up right where you left off. Just like messaging a friend.

What are the benefits of using Apple Messages for Business?

Apple Messages for Business provides many opportunities to delight customers while still streamlining your customer support process. Benefits of Apple Messages for Business include:

  1. The ability to encourage messaging with Message Suggest.
  2. Delivery of a seamless customer experience.
  3. Incorporation of both live agents and chatbots.

Encourage messaging with Message Suggest

Typically, customers can message you by tapping a messaging icon. But you can boost messages and reduce your call volumes with Apple Message Suggest. Customers can tap on your business phone number from anywhere within iOS or macOS, including websites, social media, business directories, etc., and they’ll be given the option to message instead of call.

Adding Message Suggest can help reduce call volume and drive traffic to messaging, which is often more efficient and cost-effective.

Deliver a seamless customer experience

Think of Apple Messages for Business as an extension of your brand experience. You control your business contact info the user sees when they search your name, including logo, contact information, and more.

You can even customize the call-to-action text for Apple Suggest. Instead of the standard, “Why call when you can message?”, consider a simple “Text us” or an encouraging “Get faster service when you send a text.”

Incorporate both live agents and chatbots

One of the requirements for having an Apple Messages for Business account is having live agents available to respond to customer inquiries. But that doesn’t mean you have to have someone at the ready at all times. You can still use chatbots at specific points of the interaction to ensure instant service at all times.

Use bots to:

  • Welcome customers
  • Automate the checkout process
  • Gather customer information
  • Troubleshoot simple customer issues
  • Collect feedback

Since messaging can happen at any time, you can use bots to service customer questions 24/7, such as:

  • Checking order statuses
  • Canceling an order
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Confirming account balances

You can still utilize bots to help you deliver the best experience to your customers while tapping in live agents to provide that one-on-one support.

Take a deep dive into Apple Messages for Business.

We’ve just scratched the surface on what you can do with Apple Messages for Business to surprise and delight your customers. By giving customers a way to connect with your business that they know, love, and use daily, you’re creating a comfortable and inviting experience for them. P.S. To use Apple Messages for Business, you’re required to use a messaging service provider like Quiq.

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