Online commerce has revolutionized the way people shop, buy and receive products, but not much has changed when it comes to delivering exceptional customer service.
Sure, there are more touchpoints to maintain, metrics to evaluate and customer preferences to satisfy, but the tried-and-true customer service criteria of yesteryear still holds value in our fast-paced digital landscape, even if the terms and conditions have evolved.
If you’re still stuck in a cycle of asking what is an e-commerce store and how has it changed the customer service landscape, get back to the basics with these six tenets of stellar customer service.
Even before computers, people still valued timely responses, or at least, not having to wait on hold for an hour. The internet heightened consumer expectations on response times, but the same customer satisfaction principle remains: let customers know that their issue and ultimate happiness is your priority.
Depending on the complexity of a support ticket, many customers don’t expect an immediate resolution; they just want to hear that their problem is being addressed. This can be accomplished with a simple automated email that’s sent to customers upon creation of the support ticket, letting them know the message has been received as well as an approximate time window for resolution.
Customers reach out for help because they have a problem. Do you want to add to that problem because you’re not easy to reach? You can diffuse many customers’ frustrated moods by giving them a convenient, way to reach out through the channel of their means, such as a chatbot on the welcome page, an email widget or easy-to-find phone number.
Customer support has historically been labeled as lower level work that’s prime for outsourcing. But this is changing with the advent of customer experience as a key brand differentiator. Neglecting to develop the customer support team reflects poorly on an entire company. After all, customers have no way to get a personal feel for the company other than the interactions they have with a support team. Empower your employees to be positive brand ambassadors by equipping them with a 360-degree understanding of how your company operates so that value is infused into customer interactions. Or you could limit your support team’s scope and risk frustrating customers because customer service is clueless.
To be transparent in your customer interactions is to showcase trust. You have nothing to hide because your company mission is genuine. You give customers an honest breakdown of the situation because you’re not trying to deceive them. When customers don’t feel like they’re being sold or treated as consumer prey, they develop a lot more respect for a brand and are more likely to engage with it. The entire customer experience improves. If you’re trying to operate on a questionable business model, however, expect your customer relations to be dicey at best.
You exist to serve your customer’s needs. In this way, you want to act as a hotel would providing a guest with lodging; solve their needs and exceed their expectations. Every time you interact with a customer, you need to be hospitable. This doesn’t mean being fake and over-the-top cheery, rather, genuine, helpful and good-natured.
Customer-facing employees shouldn’t be coached to have a uniform vernacular of positivity, but your company culture should clearly dictate a certain level of care, attentiveness and enthusiasm shown to customers.
Being hospitable to all, you also want to hone in on those who could become like family. Whether consumers are buying essential or non-essential products, they want to do business with companies they love and respect.
Give your customer base a reason to love your brand, and you’ll have arguably provided the ultimate customer service feature: adoration. Experiment with a loyalty program and evaluate your traction but be sure to instill in your customer service team to interact with customers inclusively, like they’re all part of a clan, collective, a family.
How many of these tenets do you convey daily in your customer relations? Which areas are you falling short? The transition to embodying these six tenets of stellar customer service in all your interactions won’t happen swiftly. Commit to excellence from the top and develop a company culture fueled by customer happiness. It’ll be the best initiative that your company’s ever taken.