In the last 5 years, e-commerce sales have increased by a whopping 171%. This means that sales via the Internet have more than doubled its customer base. In the next three years, a number of e-commerce sales is expected to gain 55% more revenue, which means that the customer base is nowhere near stopping its increase. And of course, this means that e-commerce companies will need more and more customer support.
Surely, just like with any other segment, e-commerce businesses have different needs and different expectations of customer support. They need different skills and different teams from those operating in SaaS, for example. And we are here today to talk about the needs and wants of the e-commerce businesses as well as the solutions that we need to provide for them in order to make their operation smooth and efficient.
But first we need to understand what needs do e-commerce businesses have and what are the most popular requirements posed in front of and by them.
The most popular e-commerce needs
When it comes to e-commerce, there are several points that need to be taken into account:
1. 🖥️ Market research
This is one of the primary things that one needs to do before starting an e-commerce business. While researching the market, there are several milestones that must be hit:
Deciding what products will be the best for the store — it is impossible to determine what wares one needs to represent in their store without researching the demand and the existing offer.
One also needs to gain the deepest possible understanding of their target audience and their needs before ever launching a product or an advertisement campaign. This means that researches, statistics and other sources of market and consumer information will become the best and most valuable pieces of information right at the very beginning of e-commerce store launch.
2. ✅ Branding strategy
In the modern world it might be difficult to set yourself apart from giants like Amazon or eBay. After all, they dominate the e-commerce market. But, it is still possible to establish yourself as a force and a name to be reckoned with even in a market as competitive. One needs a good name, logo, strategy, customer centric values that are easy to translate and a team of professionals who work with customers in mind.
Different loyalty program features and offers can also be considered as a part of this strategy as they help establish good connection with those who become and stay loyal to your brand.
3. 📧 Good email marketing
A good email marketing can do so much more than just remind the customers about the existence of your brand. It can become a powerful tool of sales and marketing when it comes to developing your brand. 59% of e-commerce customers say that email marketing influences their purchasing behavior and decisions, so a good strategy can account for more than a half of a monthly order flow for an online store.
Surely, email is not the only tool that will help increase customer retention, but over the years it has proven to be one of the most popular and efficient one.
4. ➕ Good customer reviews
Reviews are everything to a modern business. 97% of buyers say that reviews influence their purchasing decisions. Imagine — every one of your customers is reading other people’s opinions and makes a decision based on what others have to say about your customer service and the quality of your wares. That means that you, as a vendor, have to do everything in your power to make sure that your customers have every reason to leave a good review and not a bad one.
5. 💛 Reliable customer support
Customers have a lot of questions and sometimes even a bit of issues. They might want to return the order or exchange it for the same item of another color. And sometimes, the order might get shipped to the wrong address. To put it short, there might be a lot of things that go wrong when it comes to customer service in e-commerce. And having a great customer support team that will deal with all the emerging issues in a precise, correct and timely manner is one of the best things that an e-commerce vendor can do for their customer base.
Of course, there are many more points that e-commerce vendors have to pay close attention to when it comes to operating within the segment, but following at least these 5 closely will ensure that any e-commerce business is capable of providing the best customer service to those shopping with them.
With that in mind, we can jump right to the requirements that e-commerce companies need to pose to their outsourced support vendors in order to be fully covered when it comes to customer support and to other needs met in the segment.
E-commerce and customer support: where are the touchpoints?
1. ↪️ Reduced turnaround time
The faster the ticket is resolved, no matter what channel of communication it got into the system through, the better — such is the ultimate truth of customer support. And the sooner the inquiries are resolved, the easier it is to maintain a high customer satisfaction KPI — one of the main metrics of any B2B or B2C operating businesses.
With importance like that, it is easy to understand why e-commerce companies are booking for support vendors who are able to reduce resolution time and get back to the customer with the right answer or a resolved question in a matter or hours if not less.
2. 🕛 24/7 availability
Shopping never sleeps. It is said that almost 7 percent of all online purchasing is done between 12 and 6 AM. This means that 2 years ago this number reached 126 million people. And the numbers just go up from there. Imagine — almost 130 million users all in potential need of help late at night. Neglecting their needs for customer support virtually means losing them. That is why availability of customer support consultants around the clock is so vital here.
3. ➿ Flexibility
High volumes of customer inquiries is not a constant in the world of e-commerce. Especially, given the seasonal popularity of the segment. That is why the flexibility of a support vendor is one of the most important points when it comes to selecting just the right provider. Their ability to scale and grow their team in the shortest of time means that all customers will get their purchases and answers on time. And that is number one priority for an online shop.
4. ⚙️ Organized workflow
There can be no chaos when it comes to provisioning outsourced customer support. That is why e-commerce vendors usually rely on help from those who have processes all set up and ready to go and to those who are only working on their SOPs and communication and workflow. The more organized and structured your company is, the more likely it is to get picked to be a partner.
Want to get support for your e-commerce business?
E-commerce and customer support: how to get a perfect partnership?
It is clear that e-commerce is not a simple industry to support. That is why it is time to look at what a support provider can do in order to give the e-commerce businesses everything they need to run as smoothly as possible.
- ✌️ Omnichannel presence
73% of customers use multiple channels to connect with a support team during their customer journey. Giving them the possibility to connect with the support team in any way they like means that the vendor really listens to the customer base and understands their needs and wants.
Those providing outsourced customer support must understand the importance of e-commerce omnichannel presence and, just like SupportYourApp must provide it for clients and their customers.
- 📚 Develop knowledge base
The L0 support tier is somewhat underrated. Over 60% of consumers in the USA alone use self-service and knowledge-base developed by the support team to get answers to their questions and possible issues. Developing a knowledge base is something that SupportYourApp has always been doing for our customers, so we know just how important it is for success, especially when it comes to e-commerce requirements.
- 👍 Proactive customer support
Does your customer support already know about a late shipment? Are they aware of some of your website’s pages not working? How is their followup flow? Answering all of these questions can help you understand how proactive your customer support team exactly is. In order to be truly proactive a support team needs to:
- Follow up with the customer before the customer manages to write the team themselves;
- Notify the customer that the team knows about the issues occurring within customer journey;
- Monitor all the conversation with the customers and be sure to answer all of them;
- Reduce the number of support tickets by identifying, fixing or reporting on the frequently occurring issues.
Taking these steps will lead to a proactive support team that the customers will be happy to turn to in time of need.
- 🔄 Act on the feedback
When customers leave negative feedback, they expect it to be acted upon and not ignored. The support team must act on any received feedback and fix the issues as soon as possible so that when the customer returns, there will be no issue to find.
Ignoring customer feedback and failing to fix the issues is one of the surest ways to lose a great chunk of your customer base due to recurring issues.
- 📈 Provide services of consistent quality
Even with a big support team there simply must be a consistency. One shift cannot work better or worse than the other. Answers must be given in the time scopes and of the same quality regardless of the team and time of day. This can be achieved by conducting monthly Quality Assurance — something that SupportYourApp has been doing for years, this way we manage to achieve a consistent quality of support services throughout all our teams.
Support for e-commerce: conclusion
More than 20% of the Earth’s population makes purchases online. All of them are potentially in need of customer support. And a quality one too. That is why it is important to look for a customer support provider that will be ready to provide support 24/7 in multiple languages all the while maintaining excellent quality of services. And that is exactly what we at SupportYourApp are doing for all our customers, regardless of their industry of operation.