Congrats on creating a fabulous product! We can imagine you’re proud of the effort it has taken to develop and look forward to getting it into the hands of customers.
It’s likely that in this competitive eCommerce space, your immediate focus has been creating a high converting website and innovative digital marketing. While managing eCommerce sites and growing digital businesses are two big reasons many customers hire us, we want to share a reality with you…
A great product and marketing strategy does not always equal success.
We attribute this to what is sometimes called the “Amazon Effect,” a term that pays tribute to Amazon’s early and ongoing domination, evolution and disruption of the eCommerce market. This powerhouse has revolutionized the online shopping experience and set the standard for what customers expect.
Quite simply, it means that because of Amazon…people get what they want, when they want.
In 2019, this online retail giant will capture nearly half of U.S. online sales, according to the market research company, eMarketer, and while Amazon has made the lives of customers around the world dramatically easier, it has also made the jobs of businesses like yours so much more challenging.
Because of the world-class order and fulfillment standards they have set for customers, it’s necessary for online retailers to run a seamless shopping experience that is convenient, reliable and enjoyable.
The “Amazon Effect” coupled with social media has also created the perfect storm for online retailers in which just a few bad reviews can damage your credibility. There are approximately 3.4 billion active social media users worldwide, many of which take to their social platforms to voice their feelings and experiences about brands.
Customer reviews are powerful, and dramatically affect other consumers’ buying habits. Consider:
- 93% of consumers determine whether a company has a good reputation based on reviews
- 97% of consumers report that customer reviews influence their purchasing decisions
- Products with reviews are 270% more likely to be purchased than products without. Yes, 270%.
The net net…if your eCommerce website and customer service are not exceptional, people will hear about and will stop coming back if they even consider you at all.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOUR BUSINESS
So, while a great product and marketing strategy does not always equal success, we’ll now add the point that…
Laser-focused attention to customer service and order fulfillment WILL create a happier and more frequent shopper.
It’s time to get back to the basics, and by this, we mean customer service. Here are a few strategies you can start implementing in your eCommerce business today, which will help strengthen your brand in the days to come.
1. Be an updater.
In the age of eCommerce, there is no such thing as over-communicating about an order. Customers have come to expect transparency and information as it pertains to their online order.
Send frequent emails and/or mobile updates to let them know you are processing the order and another update advising that it’s been shipped…and don’t forget that customers love tracking numbers. Should the order be delayed, let them know right away and continue to provide updates about when they will receive it.
We’re pretty certain that no customer has ever complained that a company gave them too many updates about their order.
2. Be a solution seeker.
Don’t waste your customer’s time. In Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report, of the 5,000 people surveyed, over a third of both global and US respondents said that, “Getting my issue resolved in a single interaction (no matter the length of time),” when asked, “What is the most important aspect of a good customer service experience?”
A key proponent of effective customer service is being able to resolve a problem efficiently, which is the result of having a team that is capable and knowledgeable.
3. Be proactive.
If you have a problem with an order or anticipate delays, immediately reach out to the customer. Don’t wait! Do you need one and two-day free delivery like Amazon? No, but if you’re not able to ship within seven days, communicate with the customer early on so you can manage their expectations.
Customers are savvy, so it’s better to be proactive.
4. Be human.
One Gallup survey showed that customers who perceive the treatment they get from a brand as personal and empathetic, are up to 9x more likely to be fully engaged with that brand. Usually, this requires taking extra time to understand, listen and work toward providing an appropriate answer.
With the speed of the world today, it is noticeable when customer service representatives are courteous, respectful and honors your time. Make sure your team is focused on delivering the highest quality service and communication that is all this and more.
5. Be a source of surprise & delight.
Customer buying habits and preferences may differ, but they all share one quality – they like feeling special. Surprise them with freebies, gifts or useful content. Consider upgrading your packaging – it matters!
Standing out in a sea of retailers will only happen if you make your customers feel good.
6. Be available.
In addition to being available online, if you can, establish a 24-hour phone system to support your customers. Most people prefer to speak to a representative over the phone and there are many services available so that customers can interact with your brand no matter the time.
Investing in 24-hour support will make a world of difference and will contribute to your customer-first reputation.