Each of these situations contributes to the store’s image in the customer’s eyes and their willingness to make purchases from the shop. Next we will showcase some common ways of interaction and problems and opportunities associated with these methods.
Offering customer service by email is standard procedure for any modern e-commerce store. Despite predictions to the contrary and the rise of social media, email continues to be highly popular way of communication.
If problems occur, the customer’s first reaction is often to send an email to the merchant. Minimum level of email customer service is achieved if the store’s email address is easy to find on the website, customers receive automatic confirmation that their message has been received and they receive quickly reply.
In e-commerce the customer does not have the same kind of direct contact with the salesperson as in a physical store. This can be problematic. What to do when there is problem while ordering or browsing for a specific product?
Email is often too slow medium for asking advice. Real-time chat services are desired to mend this problem. Instant messaging programs offer way for customer to chat with store salespersons while browsing the product collection, and hence provide the people-oriented service they want.
It is good idea for an e-commerce website to provide a phone number where customers can call if they have questions on products or ordering. Opening hours should be provided with the number. Phone number can also be added to all emails sent by customer services.
Contact forms are a popular and convenient way to allow customers to send the merchant any questions or requests. Communication should not be a one-way street, but merchant also needs to respond systematically to all valid messages coming through the system.
A functional contact form is clear and simple. There should be as few fields as possible – only what is absolutely necessary. Online store should never ask users for personal information unless absolutely necessary. In addition, the feedback form should work properly on most popular mobile devices.
Social media services are part of a wider change in the online were user are often active generators of content as well as recipients of this content. In other words more and more people are getting their news and daily dose of entertainment from the social media content feed produced by their friends.
Social networks have offered to people easier and more efficient ways to provide feedback and pass it on. Nowadays many conversations, praises or criticisms, which in the past would have been expressed privately between the consumer and customer, are expressed publicly on the company’s social media profile.
This new situation demands a new range of skills and abilities from companies to manage their digital footprint and to also deal with negative feedback in a transparent and straightforward manner. What companies need are social media savvy customer service personnel, continuous monitoring and rapid responses when things come up.
Regularly send e-mail newsletter is an effective customer communication source. Newsletter can help the e-commerce business to build trust between the merchant and customers and drive web traffic to the site.
Newsletter serves as an effective tool for acquiring new customers interested in buying, strengthening the loyalty of existing customers, and reinforcing the company’s brand as a leading expert. Newsletters can include any kind of content from further product information and tips to discounts and offers.
Most people who unsubscribe from the newsletter do it because either of these two reasons is met: the content is not interesting enough or messages are sent too often. For this reason, you should carefully take into account what the customers really want. Do they want a general newsletter or just information about discounts? Which topics customers are interested in? How often they would like to receive messages?