While you put a lot of time and effort into acquiring new customers, retaining existing customers can boost your long-term success.
In fact, a whopping 84% of consumers consider good customer service a key factor when deciding to buy and stick with a brand.
This is why you should consider customer support as the central part of your business to earn the trust of new customers, retain existing customers longer, and improve customer lifetime value.
But, what is the importance of customer service for an ecommerce business?
And how can you ensure that your support team delivers exceptional customer service that not only assists and retains customers but also turns them into raving fans?
Let’s get right into it!
Why is customer service important for ecommerce businesses?
Customer service is the heart of an ecommerce business. When a customer reaches out to your support team and receives an instant, exceptional response, they’ll continue to buy from you and may not consider switching to a competitor easily.
And this is just one reason.
Let’s look at a few more reasons why offering high-quality customer support can make your brand stand out.
1. Improves your bottom line
Buying products from large stores like Amazon is an easy decision for most ecommerce customers. They know that the products will be delivered and if anything’s amiss, they can easily get a refund.
But the same cannot be said when buying from a new store. Building the trust to get your customers to make their first purchase is quite difficult.
Your customers may find you on any of your support channels and your responsiveness on all of the channels decides whether customers will buy or leave you for good.
While it can become difficult to manage conversations across all channels, you can make it easier for your support team to respond better with the help of an ecommerce helpdesk that merges all channels into one dashboard.
2. Retains customers longer
Delivering exceptional customer service right from the entry point not only helps customers make their first purchase but also continues to come back to your store for more!
After customers buy from you and you display your service quality, you win their trust.
When they want to make another purchase for a similar product or service, they’re far more likely to turn to your brand!
And if you exceed their expectations with every purchase, your customers will continue to buy from you for as long as they need your product or service.
This is especially true because humans dislike change. And once they become comfortable with purchasing from your store, they’re far less likely to go to a competitor brand.
3. Helps achieve brand advocacy and a loyal following
The next time someone asks your customers where they purchased your product from, they will talk about your brand. You’ve now converted your customer into a brand advocate who spreads the word for you!
The more brand advocates you have, the less you have to worry about advertising and acquiring new customers!
But remember, brand advocacy is a double-edged sword. As much as people love to talk about great experiences, talking about bad experiences is much more prevalent.
So keep customer support at the highest priority.
4. Increases Customer Lifetime Value
Highly engaged customers buy 90% more frequently from a brand and increase your average customer lifetime value.
Additionally, engaged customers are also brand evangelists and will mention your brand if a situation calls for it.
This does two things for you at once –
- You get regular orders from your loyal customers
- Your customer base increases without spending on marketing
And a customer who is referred by one of your brand evangelists is also likely to become an evangelist herself.
There are many customer retention strategies to optimize the customer’s lifetime value for your store.
5. Builds a positive brand image
Amazing customer experiences lead to building your brand image. As more of your customers talk to their friends and family about your products and services, more people become aware of your brand.
Coming from someone they already know gets them to trust you quicker and builds a positive brand image in their mind. This also encourages customers to stick with you.
How to retain customers with delightful customer experiences?
Big ecommerce brands are raising the quality of customer support with every interaction. For smaller brands, it may seem that no matter what you do, you cannot come anywhere near that level of service.
But what exactly do these large brands do and how can you do better to delight your customers and keep them coming back over and over? According to a survey, proactive and consistent service are marked as the two most important factors.
So here are the most important steps you can take towards delivering excellent customer service experiences every single time.
1. Reduce your response times
Large brands offer instant support. Strict SLAs, extensively trained support staff, and systemized operations make every agent respond to customers in the shortest time possible.
But as a smaller brand, you may not be able to instant support at that level, all day long.
Instead, make use of modern support apps to automatically respond to common queries, offer users a self-serve widget to help them answer frequent questions, and add automated after-hours messages so your customers don’t feel ghosted if you cannot respond.
If you satisfy their need for instant gratification with a quick response, even if it’s a message
2. Be where your customers are
Gone are the days when customers messaged you where you were present. Now, they want you to be present for them.
They may tag your brand on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, send you an email, or just text you on WhatsApp.
And your support staff needs to respond to them on time.
Dedicating staff to each support channel works fine.
But a better way is to integrate your support channels into a customer support tool that’s built for ecommerce businesses (like DelightChat, Gorgias, Reamaze, etc).
With an ecommerce support tool that brings all support channels in one screen, your agents don’t have to switch apps anymore. They can track and manage customer interactions from one place and you can easily get an overview of the conversations that your agents are handling at any given point.
3. Show your customer something interesting about your product
Customer service isn’t only about answering questions that your customers ask. It’s also about answering questions before they ask. This is where the “Delight” aspect of your customer service comes into play.
If you sell a product that has multiple features and functions, your customers may not know all of the features. In the case of software products, customers may never know about certain features at all.
So make it a point to teach them how to use some of the interesting ones that other customers have found useful. This may end up being the only element of your product that stands out to them and prevents them from switching over to any other product altogether.
4. Inform about discounts and launches proactively
Be it on live chat, email, or your social media – always let your customers know about new offers and products. A lot of customers have your brand and products in mind but have procrastinated on buying. A good discount offer can be the only push they need to go ahead with a purchase.
Additionally, when you launch a new product, send a personalized message to your existing customers along with the launch announcements on your marketing channels.
Send a targeted message to customers who have a related product from your store that can skyrocket your sales and make your product go off the shelves quickly!
Grammarly does it every so often for their premium services and it works really well for them!
5. Add a personal touch
A major differentiator between large and smaller brands is the personal touch. With small brands, customers can talk to the owners and get to know them as a person. If something goes wrong with the product, they don’t need to go through multiple agents to get the right solution as the owner can intervene quickly and fix the problem.
Using this to your advantage can make your brand stick out in the hundreds of thousands of stores that are currently active. If your
6. Share exclusive offers with loyal customers
Reward loyal customers with personalized offers that exclusively work for their accounts. Real exclusivity works wonders when you want your customers to be delighted!
For example, Amazon does it for their Prime users – lets them buy lightning deal products before time, gives them earlier access to new products, offers faster support, and comes with the promise of superfast, free deliveries.
All of these benefits create an exclusive ecosystem that makes Prime customers feel special. If you can do that as a brand, you earn a valuable customer for life.
7. Exceed Expectations
Whether you are the only person or have a dedicated support team, you should add ways to exceed customer expectations with every interaction. This starts by understanding the main reason why your customers contact you.
Tiny unexpected actions like sending a birthday email with an exclusive offer or a gift can make a big difference.
Starbucks has a raving fan following because they make their customers feel like they’re part of a group.
If you are a member, you get a free drink of your choice. And if you’re a frequent customer and haven’t purchased from Starbucks in a while, you may receive a surprise “miss-you” drink at your address. Would that make you feel good? I bet it would!
There are plenty of ecommerce businesses and the number does not seem to slow down. The pandemic made the world go online for necessities and online shopping has now become second nature to most people.
With competition higher than ever before, customer service is one of the most powerful changes that you can make in your business to beat the competition.
To sum it up, here are the 7 steps to make your customer service effective for your retaining your customers:
- Reduce response times
- Be available for your customers on all the channels that they use
- Let your customers know of some interesting features that they should know in your product or service
- Inform customers about any discounts or new product launches proactively
- Add a personal touch to your messaging so customers know you care
- Create genuinely exclusive offers with your customers
- Exceed expectations in any way possible
These steps are the starting points for your ecommerce customer retention journey! Continually innovating and implementing unique experiences for your customers is the right way to get new customers, create brand evangelists and generate repeat purchases for the long-term success of your ecommerce business!
Ninad Pathak is a content marketer at DelightChat. He loves all things content and copy and tries to be productive with automation.