Ecommerce has created tremendous opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs. In fact, statistics produced by Mintel suggest that 70 percent of consumers now shop online. If you aren’t implementing e-commerce as part of your business plan, you are missing out on an extremely large chunk of the market.
However, there are many challenges presented by e-commerce. For one, ecommerce is more detached than brick and mortar retail since customers purchase products on their computer/phone possibly thousands of miles away from the warehouses that actually store these products. However, despite this often distant relationship, customer service is extremely important to creating long term business.
On that note, here are five ways to increase customer satisfaction and consequently boost your e-commerce sales.
Avoid Outsourced and Offshored Customer Support Services
If a consumer experiences a problem in a retail store, obtaining help quickly from employees isn’t too difficult. The same can’t be said for the ecommerce experience. Customer support must be provided to online shoppers as well even if that requires extra effort. Many companies, however, simply outsource customer support to call centers, especially in places like India. This is often a mistake. According to research performed by the MIT Sloan School of Management, customer satisfaction drops significantly when customer support services are outsourced to foreign countries.
Consider Live Chat
You should also consider alternatives to customer service provided over the phone as well. One good option is a live chat. A customer can load the chat through a pop-up instant messaging system on the company website and discuss his or her problems with a company representative. For many people, this is far more convenient than having to make a phone call and wait on-hold for an extended period to finally talk to a human being. Since consumers would already be using the internet when accessing the website, it allows them to multi-task while waiting for the chat representative as opposed to having to focus all their attention on a phone call.
Increase Customer Engagement
One way to increase customer satisfaction as well as long term customer loyalty is to increase customer engagement. If customers feel their input with the company matters, they are more likely to continue supplying that company with repeat business. Make sure you have a customer engagement program in place. Interacting with customers through the use of social media accounts or apps are two proven methods to keeping customers engaged with a company’s products and brand.
Streamline Your Shipping Processes
One of the most important parts of any ecommerce business is its shipping logistics. You need to have the infrastructure and partners in place to make sure the process of shipping products from your warehouse to customers is as smooth and transparent as possible. Invest in equipment like conveyor systems to assist warehouse employees in quickly preparing products for shipment. Also provide shipment tracking with alerts so that customers know exactly where their package is at any given time. This can lower frustration caused by customers concerned about their packages becoming lost. Without tracking, customers can feel left in the dark.
Focus on Mobile Optimization
One fact about the internet in the modern era is that it has largely switched from something people connect to on personal computers and laptops to something people connect to with their phones. As such, mobile optimization is vitally important to maintaining customer satisfaction with e-commerce websites. According to statistics, the number of mobile users viewing online retail stores exceeded PC users quite some time ago, making mobile optimization something that has to be attended to. If an online store is difficult to navigate on a small touch screen, chances are you will lose a good deal of your business to the competition.
Overall, maintaining high customer satisfaction takes some work. In the ecommerce world, a lot of technical work is required to insure customers remain happy with a company. It also requires the human touch to make customers feel valued individually. In many ways, making a conscious effort in this direction is the first and most important step to getting it right.
Got more tips on how to keep your customers happy and engaged? Write to us at email@example.com with your thoughts or simply drop a comment below.
About the Author:
Sia Hasan is a tech entrepreneur by day, and a freelance writer by night. Her passion lies in business technology, efficient and sleek programming, and customer relationship management. When she doesn’t have her nose pressed against her computer screen, you can find her spending time with the loves of her life, her two dogs, Pixel and Vector.