Your eCommerce website can be the greatest, most beautiful designed, fastest and slickest website on Internet.
However, without great customer service, your site will not have the success you hoped it would.
Author and entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck, wrote the book, ‘The Thank You Economy.’ Here’s a central tenet to the book:
Gone are the days when a blizzard of marketing dollars could be used to overwhelm the airwaves, shut out the competition, and grab customer awareness. Now customers’ demands for authenticity, originality, creativity, honesty, and good intent have made it necessary for companies and brands to revert to a level of customer service rarely seen since our great-grandparents’ day, when business owners often knew their customers personally, and gave them individual attention.
He’s right. If you have an eCommerce site you must seek ways to get more personal with your customers, even if they live hundreds of kilometers away. Here are several tips about critical customer service functions for eCommerce that many often overlook:
1. An ‘About Us’ Page – It sounds simple doesn’t it? Yet, a lot of eCommerce sites are filled with boring generic information about the business. Customers want to feel like they are dealing with human beings. It provides a behind the scenes look into the company and provides some measure of trust that a customer is going to have a great shopping experience.
2. Emails – How many times have you made a purchase, inquired about a product, or tried to contact customer service only to get a generic email back without any follow up or even worse, a poorly worded email that is impersonal and is grammatical nightmare?
Auto reply emails are fine. It gives comfort to a customer that their email inquiry was received. However, a personal follow up email should be sent as soon as possible. In fact, the time you to take to reply personally to emails should be noted somewhere specifically on your website.
3. Out Of Stock items – One of the more frustrating experiences a customer will have is to purchase an item and find out later it is out of stock. This can happen with eCommerce websites. The difference is how it is handled. Many sites will send, generic (impersonal) email messages that inform the customer the item is out of stock and that they can cancel their order. They will cancel the order. And most likely take their business elsewhere.
Craft a personal email recommending another product that is in stock that is similar to what they ordered. This is your shop, so you should be able to do this without a problem. Offer a discount code or a gift certificate/coupon for their next purchase because of the inconvenience. Make sure in the email there is direct contact information for the customer service representative. Finally, let them know exactly when the item will be back in stock. It may only be a few days and the customer will be fine with waiting.
The success of Zappos was culled directly from CEO Tony Hsieh’s insistence on providing top notch customer service. People shop there not because they have the best prices. They shop there because they know they are going to be treated better there, than anywhere else.
Set your eCommerce business apart from the rest. Focus on your customer service.