The ROI of E-commerce Customer Service (Hint: It’s a Lot)
It goes without saying, but online shopping is big business. More than half of the population prefers to buy online instead of in-person, a trend that will continue to grow.
With such a captive audience, many e-commerce merchants simply buy ads and wait for the traffic to roll in. More enterprising e-commerce sellers try to implement referral marketing, shoppable social media, and good reviews. Those methods will help bring the traffic – but getting visitors to convert is another matter.
Building trust, increasing loyalty and boosting your ROI with great ecommerce customer service
Growing any business, especially an ecommerce company, starts with inspiring trust. Before they purchase, customers need to believe that if they place an order, the merchant will fulfill it at the agreed-upon price, timeframe, and standard of quality. That measure varies by person but, in general, people want to know that they are getting their money’s worth.
For example, direct-to-consumer furniture and home goods brands like Burrow, Article, Brooklinen, Yardbird, and Joybird have capitalized on the online shopping preferences of younger buyers. They’re all fanatical about customer service, because, as digital-first companies, they know the devastating effects of a bad online review gone viral.
Their free, no-questions-asked return policies - pioneered by Casper Mattresses - reduce buyers’ risk and make them more likely to come back for more.
As counter-intuitive as it is, for ecommerce stores that want to grow their customer bases, customer service is the fist step to increasing sales revenue. It inspires trust and that can help improve the sales funnel. It also keeps customers coming back.
A few high-ROI ways to improve your online shop’s customer service:
Implementing live chat
A study by the American Marketing Association revealed that customers who use live chat are three times more likely to make a purchase. Live chat helps answer customer questions and remove buying objections and results in a more confident consumer.
The channel also allows smaller stores to scale their sales and customer support to a level that can compete with Amazon, if they can overcome the challenges of staffing 24/7 coverage.
These days, having live chat on your store’s homepage is no longer a nice-to-have, but almost a requirement.
Providing pre-sales support
Another way that customer service can help ecommerce stores make money is through pre-sales support. Online businesses experience this often when fielding questions about products. Would-be customers ask questions through customer service channels or social media. The more in-depth the responses they receive, the more likely that inquiry will turn into a sale.
According to the Harvard Business Review, the companies with the best pre-sales support win new business as much as 50% of the time and they get repeat business up to 90% of the time. This is all by making sure they are explaining product features and helping their customer make the best selection for their needs.
Supporting customers during off-hours
Successful ecommerce stores (especially larger ones running Magento, Oracle, Big Commerce etc) know that online shopping happens 24/7 and that they need make sure that they have a presence, around the clock. These companies use platforms that consolidate customer information, including orders and customer service inquiries, in one place. They offer live chat options, so shoppers can get answers to their questions, day or night. The best ecommerce stores also provide transactional emails, like order confirmation and shipping notices, up until the item is received, then they follow up to ensure customer satisfaction. Returns and exchanges are simple and, when help is needed, it is available, 24 hours a day.
Ecommerce stores can greatly speed up their growth and odds of success by offering strong customer service, from pre-sale questions to post-sale follow-ups. Going the extra mile to answer questions and assist shoppers inspires confidence in the company, and that, in turn, builds loyalty.
Over time, online sellers can end up with repeat customers who actively advocate for the brand.