7 Tips for Improving the Customer Service of Your Online Shop

e-commerce improving customer service

Unfortunately, good customer service isn’t cheap. However, not providing a sufficient customer service experience for your customers may result in an even higher economic loss for your business. In this article, we’ll fill you in on what you need to know about customer service in e-commerce. Also, we’ll provide you with useful tips what it takes to easily improve yours.

Why does your online shop need customer service?

You may or may not already be aware of the fact that the customer service of a company highly contributes to the reputation of the entire business.

In short: customer service is important.

Unfortunately, many companies prefer to cut back on their customer service.

A study conducted in the UK revealed that more than a third of consumers are willing to pay more if provided with excellent service.

The share of British customers who said they would pay more for this purpose has even increased continuously in the course of two years.

chart: customers willing to pay more for excellent service

Source: Statista

The importance of good customer service should not be underestimated.

Businesses – especially online shops in particular – should therefore look into how to optimise their customer service.

7 tips to improve the customer service in your online shop

Let's take a look at what actions you can take today in order to offer excellent customer service in your online shop.

1. Availability and accessibility

First of all, you’ll have to make sure that your customers can easily access and reach out to your customer service.

This concerns not only the accessibility, but also the channels of customer support that your shop provides.

A good practice would be to offer multiple channels of customer service: phone, email, a live chat, social media, etc.

The popularity of the specific channels may vary depending on your target audience and industry.

In order for your customers to easily access your customer service, you will have to display information on your services and how to get in touch with your team prominently on your website.

customer-service-footer-w1280h762

In this example from Solarplexius, we can see links to emails, phone numbers, a contact us page, as well as a chatbot.

If you’re running an online shop, we also recommend for you to have an intuitive website structure.

Having a website that is easy for potential customers to navigate will not only help you improve your customer service, but achieve an overall intuitive customer experience on your website.

Recommended Reading:
5 Tips for Making Your Website Easier to Navigate

However, when talking about simplifying the accessibility of your customer support, it is also recommended to offer customers support outside of the regular business hours.

To do so, you could implement self-service solutions such as FAQs and chatbots (more on this in the next tip) on your website. In addition, you could add a feature allowing customers to check their order’s status as well as track their shipping.

This could solve the issues or questions that some of your customers have early on. This is likely to result in a reduced number of customer enquiries, which means less tickets for the actual customer service staff to work on.

2. AI technology

Another effective measure to improve your customer service would be to implement an AI chatbot on your website.

A chatbot is an artificial intelligence based feature that automatically replies to customer queries and tries to tackle their issues.

You can easily integrate chatbots on various channels such as the Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp Business, or even on your website.

customer-service-navigation-w1280h762

Solarplexius also has a chatbot integrated into their website, not to mention an "Assembly guide" and an FAQ section in the navigation.

One of the main advantages of chatbots is that they help you automate workflows as they are available 24/7, help potential customers to navigate websites, and are able to clarify frequently asked questions in a flash.

Issues that have not yet been fully clarified can then automatically be forwarded to the human customer service staff.

In other words: chatbots save resources and costs.

Modern technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) enable chatbots to respond to increasingly complex enquiries.

As chatbots are based on machine learning, they can “learn” from past interactions and continuously improve their replies and proposed solutions to customers.

Tip: Would you like to answer your customer reviews even faster and effectively? Learn about the Trusted Shops Smart Review Assistant now! 👇

Personalisation

A chatbot may come in handy when it comes to answering your customers’ frequently asked questions, but after all, these kind of technologies are no substitute for personal interactions provided by qualified customer service staff.

client speaking with customer face to face

Source: Shutterstock/fizkes

As soon as complex problems or special concerns issued by customers are involved, the preferred choice naturally is to get in touch with a human service expert.

In this sense, customers do not appreciate receiving a standard response to their concerns.

For this reason, it is crucial to give your clientele the feeling that you are taking their individual needs and concerns seriously.

One aspect that you need to keep in mind for this is personalisation. In order to offer customers a personalised service experience, you should, for instance, start by addressing them by their name.

Another approach to implementing personalisation would be to propose individual offers and recommendations to customers through your email campaigns.

All in all, you should make sure to get to know your customers, their needs and wishes in the best possible way. This will allow you and your customer support staff to process their enquiries in a personalised and targeted manner.

Recommended Reading:
How to Personalise Your Customer Journey in the Digital Age

Tonality

Needless to say that when it comes to customer service, acting in a friendly, professional and polite manner is required.

A friendly tone and positive attitude will lead to your customers feeling comfortable and conveying a positive image of your business.

On the other hand, using a formal or distant tone when interacting with customers can give them the impression that they might not be valued by your company.

Furthermore, we recommend you use an understandable language for customer interactions. The use of technical terms or complicated expressions could lead to people not feeling understood or not being able to communicate their concerns adequately.

Active listening and showing empathy is essential for every customer interaction.

Responsiveness

Good customer service is not all about the staff carrying it out.

When customers evaluate a customer service experience, they also take other factors into account.

One of them is the time it takes for the staff to get back to them. Usually, many shoppers have to wait some time before receiving a reply from an online shop.

If possible, try to stand out from your competition by responding quickly and effectively to customer queries.

woman with headset smiling while speaking

Source: Shutterstock/goodluz

A good internal policy would be for you or your customer support team to get back to customers within 24 hours.

However, whenever urgent matters are concerned, a quicker response is needed.

In order to have your customers know that their request was successfully filed and will soon be processed, you could set up automatic email responses.

However, for some online shops it may not always be possible to handle customer enquiries in a short time frame.

To be able to offer a personalised customer service experience to your target audience, it might make sense to consider outsourcing your customer service to a so-called contact centre.

Recommended Reading:
E-Commerce Customer Service: In-house or Contact Centre?

Expertise

Make sure to conduct trainings for those in charge of customer support on a regular basis. This will allow them to solve problems efficiently and track progress.

Nothing is more tiring or frustrating for customers than having their issue "passed on" to several staff members.

By implementing a well-organised system that provides information on customer enquiries and their current status, it will be easier to keep track of everything that is going on and who and what is actually being taken care of.

What is more, we would advise you to ensure that every customer service team member has a comprehensive knowledge of your company, its products, and services.

When handling customer enquiries, it is important to maintain a professional attitude, even in interactions with difficult customers.

Even if a customer openly expresses discontent or behaves in an outrageous manner, your customer service team should be able to keep their cool and uphold a positive attitude and tone in customer interactions.

To ensure that professional customer support is provided, even in difficult situations, you could offer trainings that focus on conflict management and customer communication, as well as reviewing the skills of your service staff.

This will help you improve the level of customer satisfaction.

Feedback

As an online shop, you can benefit from customer feedback in multiple ways.

Customers will appreciate you asking them for their honest opinion.

For this reason, you should regularly gather feedback from customers that have used your customer service. This will allow you to identify what you might need to improve.

There are numerous ways to do this: you could create an email survey that is sent automatically after a purchase, or use customer reviews, etc.

example of trusted shops review invitation

Identifying processes or specific elements in your customer service that customers were not entirely satisfied with will enable you to constantly optimise your customer journey.

This will then improve your shop’s overall online reputation. Also, more former customers will be more likely to buy from your company again.

Reply to online reviews whitepaper

Conclusion

There are many ways to optimise your customer service.

Chatbots, for example, can help shops not only by channeling frequently asked questions, but also by reducing the workload for your customer support team, as well as enabling the implementation of automation processes.

What is more, improving the accessibility, responsiveness, and the expertise of your service staff will lead to an improved overall customer experience in your online shop.

Remember to collect customer feedback in order to be able to align with your customers' wants and needs when shopping on your website and turning to customer service.

All of these measures will help you improve your service.

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This article was originally published on our German Trusted Shops blog: Kundenservice verbessern: 7 einfache Möglichkeiten

19/07/23
Anastasia Gündel

Anastasia Gündel

Anastasia completed her bachelor's degree in business administration at the Otto Friedrich University in Bamberg. Her passions in the e-commerce world include online marketing and social media.

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