How to provide stellar customer support as an online merchant

Whether you’re an online merchant or a digital buyer looking for new attire, the term ‘customer experience’ (CX) is bound to have made its way into your vocabulary.

The experience that a brand offers is one of the most influential factors when consumers are making purchases. But, what is customer experience?

It can be many things – advertisements, social media posts, checkout flows, emails, direct messages, and more. Customer experience is the culmination of all the interactions a consumer has with a brand – and most importantly, how they feel about it.

So, why does customer experience matter?

To start, it’s a way to stand out from the crowd. With 7.9 million online retailers worldwide, it can feel almost impossible to cut through the noise and connect with potential customers.

This is where customer experience comes into play.

Exceptional customer service can turn regular customers into loyal brand ambassadors – consumers who are not only going to come back again and again but are also willing to promote your brand to their own communities.

Plus, investing in customer service won’t hurt your brand. In fact, studies show that 73% of companies with above-average customer experience perform at higher financial standards than their competitors.

Now, the next big question is this: how do online brands provide the best customer experience?

The short answer is that it all begins with customer support. We’ve got you covered with 5 tips for supporting digital shoppers, and in turn, creating a stellar customer experience.

Offer self-service resources

Did you know that 73% of shoppers would rather solve issues on their own, taking customer service representatives out of the equation completely?

Offering customer self-service is a wonderful way to give customers the control over their experience with access to resources, tools, and technology that enable them to troubleshoot independently.

This is a good thing! With customers answering questions themselves, your support team will have some extra bandwidth to address more complex inquiries and issues.

Incorporate the below self-service technology to fully support your customers in their online shopping experience.

  • Build an in-depth FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page. Having a full FAQ section on your site allows customers to guide themselves through your brand. It’s a way to build trust and ease in the shopping experience. Make sure that your FAQ section is easily accessible and user-friendly with clear sections or a search feature.
  • Keep real-time inventory counts. Keeping your stock up to date is a best practice for proper inventory management, but it also helps drive customers to make a purchase. If a customer sees that your shop is running low on an item they want, they’re more likely to bite the bullet and make a purchase. Plus, it’ll help alleviate many SKU related inquiries.
  • Utilize chat-bots. Though chat-bots take a bit of time to get set-up, they are worth investing in as an important self-service tool. Customers expecting speedy response times, and chat-bots are able to answer simple questions very quickly. Plus, 56% of consumers would rather use chatbots over calling a customer support line.

Provide multi-channel support

Given the vast amount of technology in today’s digital climate, it’s no surprise that shoppers are turning towards less conventional methods of online shopping. Thanks to the rise of social commerce, it’s more important than ever to meet your customers where they are.

Investing in the time and resources to provide email support, phone support, chat support, and social media support helps your brand engage with a much wider pool of potential clients than you would have been able to reach with just one method of communication.

However, the experience doesn’t stop there. Simply having the option to communicate via multiple channels is not enough to provide a stellar customer experience.

According to a study by Zendesk, almost 60% of customers are most frustrated by long holds and wait times – so, you’ll have to make sure that your technology systems and service reps are prepared to answer in a timely manner to secure a positive experience.

Collect customer feedback and act upon it

If you think that customer comments and reviews aren’t being read by prospective consumers – think again. Studies show that 93% of customers say reviews influence their decisions. Not only that, but prospective customers are willing to spend 31% more on a business with good reviews.

For online merchants, it only makes sense to include reviews and feedback within your customer support model. This means having someone from your customer service team on-hand to answer reviews and collect data about customer experiences.

Collecting this type of feedback data is an invaluable insight for improving your customers’ experiences. Plus, from a potential customer’s perspective, seeing a brand engage with negative comments in a professional and problem-solving way confirms that brand’s legitimacy and dedication to the consumer.

The total number of digital shoppers is expected to increase to over 290 million in 2025. That’s a lot of people buying products online! As the popularity of online shopping continues to rise, more customers will be looking for support whenever they are shopping.

To get ahead of the curve, it’s vital to find new ways to provide the best customer support. Your customers will thank you for it, and they’ll keep coming back for more!

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