There used to be a huge divide between ‘online shopping’ and ‘customer service’. Most consumers expected to trade great service and brand interaction for the convenience and lower prices available on the internet. However, as online shopping becomes more common, expectations are changing. While customer service is not the same in ecommerce websites as it is in a physical store location, it is nonetheless possible and even mandatory. Here are a few ways you can offer great customer service success through your website.
Know your customers.
It’s important to identify your target markets, but many consumers enjoy the ‘personal touch’. Traditionally, salespeople and shopkeepers got to know their best customers so they could offer the best service and win customers’ hearts. Your website can do this as well, by keeping information on what certain customers buy so you can customize their next experience. This will lead to brand loyalty and increased sales.
Help consumers find what they seek.
When you enter a brick-and-mortar store, there are salespeople to guide you to the items you are looking for. These salespeople also can offer guidance on different product features and suggest peripheral goods. Your ecommerce store can do offer the same great service without having to hire and train sales staff, with search functions that allow narrowing, high quality product information, and functions that offer related items. This will allow customers to find what they need and even add a few items to their virtual cart.
Communicate about the process.
Because they are not walking away with a bag in their hand and a receipt in their pocket, customers often feel insecure about the online buying process. You can reduce these anxieties through good communication. Let people know when you have received and processed their order, and offer shipping information with an expected delivery date. This will make customers feel like they have more control over the buying process and be more likely to return.
Offer loyalty programs.
Many stores offer loyalty programs of various types, whether these are discount cards, birthday clubs, or other special deals. You should offer something like this as well. An occasional discount code sent to your preferred customers won’t cost anything once you have the systems in place, and it will encourage them to feel and act like loyal customers. You can also design ‘member’s only’ pages that offer special deals or exclusive products.
Allow ongoing brand interaction.
Customers are not passing your locations on their way to work, so online retailers must work a little hard to stay in the forefront of their target audience’s minds. Email lists can offer special deals and useful information related to your business and your products. In addition, it is important to maintain a social networking presence and to include links to these websites on your business pages. This will keep customers from forgetting about their great experience with your company!
Customer service may be different in ecommerce, but that does not mean it is impossible. By offering special tools that duplicate and even exceed the in-person shopping experience, you can ensure that your customers always feel pleased by their experience with your website.