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5 ways ecommerce business can improve customer service

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | March 3, 2016
Ecommerce and customer experience experts discuss how mobility and younger consumers have changed the nature of online customer service – and how companies have responded.

“Social [media e.g., Twitter and Facebook] presents an amazing opportunity for companies: make customers happy while their friends are watching,” says Jim Rudden, CMO, Spredfast, a provider of social software. “As a result, most companies are building out their strategy and processes for social customer service.” (Airlines, such as Delta, even have separate Twitter accounts just for handling customer service and support issues.) Just remember, be cautions, “consumers on social expect an answer within an hour.”

But just having a presence on Facebook and Twitter is not enough. “For the greatest success,” says Caravella, companies should “develop and manage reactive (solving an issue), proactive (educating at scale) and preemptive (addressing potential issues before they arise) social customer care programs.” And they should ensure that the people who manage their social channels are properly trained and that the company tracks “important metrics like response rate and time.”

4. Messaging apps. “Messaging apps are ripe for customer engagement,” says Scott Horn, CMO, [24]7, a provider of customer engagement, voice and chat solutions. “They’re widely used, convenient and have an ease and informality that customers love. Expect to see more companies test the waters with messaging platforms, such as Facebook Messenger, as a customer service channel,” he predicts.

5. Live chat.“The standards for customer service in the ecommerce business are higher now,” says Simon Slade, cofounder and CEO, Doubledot Media. “People expect immediate help, and it’s our job to give it to them. We do that by using chat software that allows the customer to immediately connect with a customer service representative.” “[It’s] instant, personalized, online communication.”

“For the 2015 tax year, Intuit introduced SmartLook, a one-way agent video that provides customers the ability to request and receive help within the product at the point of need,” says Alex Balazs, vice president and fellow architect, Intuit. “For customer care agents, being able to see the customers’ screens and where they are in the tax filing process is critical for resolving problems faster. They answer questions in real time for free and highlight key fields and next steps so customers can complete their return with confidence.”

Today’s online customer service is all about the customer

When it comes to online customer service, “it’s becoming more imperative than ever for brands to be where their customers are and to find new ways to reduce effort and friction,” says Horn. “From proactive shipping updates to post-purchase support, brands can [and should] leverage [a variety of] channels to offer service and sales capabilities to their customers in the channels they enjoy using.”

The result is happier customers, fewer returns and a reduction in churn and attrition.


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