3 Common Mistakes in Ecommerce Customer Service


Simplr’s State of Ecommerce Customer Service 2021 report reveals costly gaps across nearly 1,500 online brands.

2021 is the year of the NOW Customer. They want everything on-demand and in their hands.

As the demand for online shopping skyrocketed in 2020 and 2021, customer service has become one of the most critical aspects of ecommerce business. In a competitive landscape, great customer experience is the key differentiator. 

However, the gap between what customers expect and what brands are able to deliver is getting wider. In Simplr’s 2020 Forrester Market Opportunity report, we found that 81% of brands say that customers expect and demand faster resolutions than just 2 years ago. However, only 30% of brands say their customer service strategies are “very effective” at responding to customers in a timely fashion. 

Where is ecommerce customer service falling short?

In The State of Ecommerce Customer Service 2021, we found that the majority of the 1,500 brands researched in the study were missing at least one key component of exceptional customer experience. The three biggest “problem” areas were around:

1. Email and chat availability
2. Email response times
3. Inability to resolve chat interactions

Over time, these mistakes have grave implications for a company’s customer base and annual revenue. For a closer look at all the findings from this report, click below.

1- Email and chat availability in ecommerce

We were shocked to find that only 40% of ecommerce brands have live chat available, and 21% do not offer readily-available email support.

Email remains the most popular digital channel for customer service inquiries. Despite the proliferation of text messaging, social media DMs, and live chat, email remains a tried-and-true channel for customers and online businesses alike.

But just because email is the digital stalwart, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be molded for the NOW CX era of customer service. Email needs to be readily available and used to its full potential.

2- Email response time in ecommerce customer support

Response time is a critical component of an email CX strategy. Where a rapid-fire response can dazzle a customer, a 2-day-long response will send them packing. In this study, mystery shoppers submitted a post-sale email. By design, the email content was complex enough where an auto-generated response would not suffice.

Scaling email is particularly difficult — even the top ecommerce brands in the world didn’t ace it. Brands that have a solid grasp on email in 2021 have:

  • Active, response live chat to help temper email volume
  • Very clear return policy instructions on multiple pages of their websites
  • Proactive outgoing email sequences that address a customer’s order status will prevent inquiries coming in.

3- Inability to resolve chat interactions

At the end of the day, businesses and customers care about whether or not an issue was resolved. This was an area of focus in this study because unresolved chats carry significant risks to revenue and customer satisfaction.

In the report, 49% of chats were unresolved. For a full breakdown of what all these unresolved interactions had in common, please download the full report.

Ecommerce opportunities for 2022

There’s no doubt that the demands of the NOW Customer have skyrocketed over the course of the pandemic. We hope that these findings help businesses find their own gaps and give them the tools to make 2022 their most successful yet.