Being an e-commerce site owner, we are pretty sure that you are putting all your efforts into building the next Amazon. Or Etsy. Or Asos, perhaps?
In fact, we know you are putting your blood, sweat, and tears into creating a well-designed, high-performance, worldwide-known, go-to e-commerce site, users will love navigating (and shopping!) on.
Yes, your ultimate goal is to keep the new users coming.
But, what about the loyal consumers, the ones that keep coming back after their second, or third purchase? Do you have one of “those”?
If you don’t have a lot of returning customers, it’s time you start investing time and money into building customer relationship management.
Why, you may ask? Because, nowadays, people are spoiled. Did you know that almost 50% of consumers expect specialized treatment for being a good customer and that 89% of consumers have decided to switch to doing business with a competitor due to a poor customer experience?
Shocking, right? Well, not really. People loooove special treatments (and you do, too!) and basically, any sign of attention is highly appreciated.
So, to help you build a customer support service that will gain your users’ attention for all the right reasons (and will stop them from googling your competitors and buying their products), we have decided to write down a list of 5 tricks companies with good customer service do to keep their consumers coming. All you need to do is “steal” these tips, and you’ll be perceived as a brand that cares about its consumers.
Here’s the list:
Companies with Good Customer Service Know Their Consumers to the Core
As Seth Godin, American author and business mastermind once said 一 “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”
When building an e-commerce site and deciding to sell products, you need to keep in mind who your buyers are going to be.
You need to create a profile of the audience you are trying to target if you want to sell as many products as possible.
Imagine that you have an e-commerce website that sells trendy, latest-fashion sunglasses. All kinds of sunnies 一 the ones with the white frame, the vibrant-colored ones, the ‘90s inspired styles, etc. They are all signed by the world-wide known brands like Armani, Miu Miu, and Versace. Keeping in mind the price and style, you can be pretty sure that your customers won’t be 80-year-old ladies that are looking to invest their retirement plans into buying an apartment in Tampa, Florida. Your target audience is probably going to be men and women in their late 20s or 30s whose income is high enough they can afford the luxury, designer sunglasses.
The reason why we advise you to define the target audience first is that by doing so, you can determine which tone and voice you are going to use when talking to potential customers and returning consumers. We’ve talked about the tone and voice in one of our previous articles, in which we explained how a fashion online shop should take care of its customers. In that post, we mentioned that, when replying to a consumer, Customer Service Specialist should be respectful, polite, and kind. We also mentioned that the tone should be adjusted and personalized depending on who the target audience is. You are probably not going to use the same tone when reaching out to a 20-year-old hipster and a 70-year-old gentleman.
Companies with Good Customer Service Know Their Products
It goes without saying that your customer support staff should know EVERYTHING about your products. Each product specification, each product detail, each material.
Let’s imagine the following scenario.
Your e-commerce site sells auto parts; all the tools and equipment you can imagine, for all sorts of cars 一 from Chevrolet’s SUV to BMW’s M5. If you take into account that a car can consist of several thousand parts (up to 40,000 parts, if you count the tiniest screws), you’ll get an idea of how many auto components there is to sell.
Now, let’s imagine that a customer, John, sent an email, wishing to return a particular component and asking for a refund. In that email, John mentioned that the component he bought is not manufactured correctly. He explained the issue in details and attached a photo in the email.
To help a customer in trouble, your staff MUST know how to handle the situation 一 what the problem with the product is, if it’s truly a manufacturer’s mistake, and whether there is a chance that it can be fixed. In this case, the staff, also, must be familiar with the refund policy. If not, your customer support staff won’t be able to help John. Which means you got one less customer.
So, remember: your staff needs to be familiar with the products to the smallest details, the inventory, experience with your products, each product’s benefits, features, and performance.
Companies with Good Customer Service Don’t Lie to Consumers (and Make False Promises)
Let’s go back to the example with the online shop that sells sunglasses.
Imagine that a customer, Jane, ordered Dior Club 1 visor. As you made clear in the email that confirmed Jane’s order, the visor should be at her address a day after. Now, imagine that you knew for a fact that there is an issue with the shipping 一 the CEO of the company that handles all your shipping fired a bunch of people, and there’s a lack of staff. There is no way that the product will be delivered to Jane’s address a day later 一 it will take five days, at least. The next day, when the postman hasn’t arrived, Jane, triggered by this issue, decided to send you an email, asking what’s going on.
The way we see it, there are two ways out of this mess.
The first one: You can apologize for the inconvenience, mentioning that you are not quite sure what is going on, and that there must be some mistake. You hope that the visor is going to be delivered as soon as possible. And that would be a lie.
The second one: You can again, apologize for the inconvenience, and be transparent about the shipping issue, providing an explanation of why the delivery is late. You can also offer a discount code for next purchase, and a liquid and a specific tissue which Jane could use to clean the visor.
Our advice? Never lie to your customers and never ever make false promises. A broken promise can cost you a customer. Or two. Or more, since Americans tell an average of 15 people about a poor customer service experience and 11 people about a good experience.
Companies with Good Customer Service Know How to Turn Challenges into Opportunities
A good customer support staff knows there’s a thin line between love and hate and that there is always a chance to turn a negative comment into a positive one. Period.
As soon as you come across a negative comment on a product, customer service, or something else, know that there’s always a chance to turn the tables around if you play your cards right.
How to turn a hater into a fan? Start by handling the situation cold-headed, apologizing to customers for a poor experience. No matter who’s fault it is (your customer’s or yours), politely explain why the situation happened and what you will do to fix it. However, don’t focus on the problem too much 一 focus on finding the solution. Being aggressive when talking to consumers is never an option.
Companies with Good Customer Service Don’t Do It (Only) for the Profit
Don’t get us wrong; every e-commerce website wants to generate profit. That’s why e-commerce site owners (including yourself!) offer discounts, special offers, exit-intent popups, and other small tricks that will stop consumers from visiting competitors’ site.
However, when it comes to providing help to customers, the ultimate goal shouldn’t be to make money but to help the ones that decided to trust the brand, but have experienced an issue. Excellent customer service is the one that is helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable.
So, do your e-commerce website a favor and train your staff. When training, be sure to provide examples of what excellent customer service is and what a consumer-customer support interaction should look like.
Customer service is all about 一 you guessed it 一 the customers.
If you want to keep the customers coming, even after they had an unpleasant experience with your brand, you need to invest into educating your staff about how a Customer Support Specialist should behave.
Best of luck with building customer relationship management!
Also, if you have any stories regarding customer support you would like to share, be sure to write them in the comments.