By Alfredo Atanacio, Founder UassistME.CO, Inc. 30 Under 30 2012 and AGLN Fellow.

Mature businesswoman at cafe

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Competition is a significant threat to any business running via the internet. Amazon alone represented nearly a third of all U.S. e-commerce sales growth in 2020. Exceeding what customers expect will depend on the e-commerce customer service practices that an organization adopts. 

E-commerce customer service acts as a guide for shoppers who shop online. Operating an online business is complex because there are many challenges that an entrepreneur encounters when serving online consumers.

Besides, e-commerce customer service plays a huge role in assessing plenty of communication channels that clients use to guarantee an instant response. Integrating good customer support while applying the right tools and resources will help your business thrive. This has proven to be more useful during this pandemic when more and more people are shopping online.

Based on what we learned in 2020, here are five best practices that you can combine to improve your brand in 2021.

1. Choose the right metrics based on your business.

Running a successful e-commerce business involves plenty of assessment and tracking of customer experience. Various customer-related key performance indicators can be used to track and measure customer experience. You can also come up with surveys, polls and many other activities to gather qualitative data. Some of the quantitative metrics we use with our clients to measure customer service success include average resolution time, customer support abandonment rates and first response time.

• Average resolution time: Today, clients want their issues to be resolved as fast as possible. To find your average resolution time, add up all your case resolution times and divide them by the total number of customer cases.

• Customer support abandonment rates: In the more than 10 years that we’ve been helping our clients with customer support, we’ve learned that most customers will exit a chat or hang up the phone if they’ve been waiting for too long. It’s imperative that you reduce this metric to zero or as close to zero as possible. To measure this, you can divide the number of abandoned customer support inquiries by the total number of inquiries.

• First response time: To reinforce the metrics above and make sure your clients are getting immediate support, you can measure the first response time. Measure how long it takes for a customer support agent to respond from the moment a user reaches out.

2. Select an inbox that is compatible with your e-commerce software.

The effective running of an online business is possible if the right customer support app is selected. The app plays a huge role in ensuring that a solid foundation for customer service has been built. You can start by assessing the tools that agents use more, mostly for inbox needs.

When you have a shared inbox for your team, you will be able to keep in contact with the customers’ requests and ensure that you are well organized. 

An effective workflow for your e-commerce business is achieved by ensuring that your inbox integrates with the business platform. The interactions that a client has with your brand will be spotted and collected as a team, thus enhancing your returns and dividends.

Once a customer support app is integrated with your e-commerce platform, support staff can view relevant and total customer info. Such details include the latest purchases, prior chats and links to social media platforms, among others.

Additionally, a customer support app should give the user a chance to respond to various service channels initiated by the client and not just within the inbox.

Integrating all communications through an inbox minimizes the time spent checking the hourly chats that happen on social media platforms.

3. Meet your online shoppers via their preferred communication channels.

Nowadays, many customers choose their preferred means of communication when they want their needs addressed. Online shoppers have high expectations on highly improved platforms to be linked to their favorite products via websites, email, real-time texting and mobile phone chats, among others.

However, keeping in touch with the most recent channels can prove to be a tough and challenging task for the response team. We have realized that it often requires an entrepreneur to work with a professional to link to a helpdesk.

4. Create a knowledge-base article in your e-commerce platform.

By linking a knowledge-base article to your e-commerce business, you allow clients to find your products with ease. It is also an excellent way to support potential customers by responding to their popular queries. Through the knowledge base, support volume is reduced, enhancing the level of customer satisfaction after purchase.

Furthermore, a solid knowledge-base article helps save time for both the clients and the customer service support team. This is because relevant info such as frequently asked questions (FAQs), deliveries, return policies and much more can be retrieved with ease.

5. Automate without interfering with the individual touch.

Good customer support for an e-commerce business is achieved through adopting automation. This concept has given our team an excellent chance to interact more on an individual level with more clients.

Some of the things that you can opt to automate include order confirmations and receipts as well as shipping notifications. During the automation process, you can do away with recurring questions that most clients ask.

Besides, you can get rid of recurring errors that occur during automation by creating customized auto-replies. Alternatively, auto-replies can be created to focus on clients with specific needs and demands.

Conclusion

In order for your e-commerce to flourish, you must consistently handle customer service successfully. You are likely to beat your competitors to the top once you understand the needs of your customers. I hope that the above tips come in handy to improve the overall customer experience for your business.

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Roland Millaner