Efficient customer service matters more in ecommerce than perhaps any other industry. On top of the normal consequences of poor service, you have to worry about situations like Amazon suspending your account if you get sloppy. So how do you deliver fast solutions that your customers demand?
1. Educate and Empower
Your customer service will flounder if you don’t follow universal best practices. The most important of these are to educate and empower your agents.
Each agent should know your products inside and out. Nearly 17 out of every 20 customers report being frustrated by agents who didn’t have the info they needed.
Agents should also know all your customer service policies so they never need a supervisor to tell them the right course of action. They should be trained to spot fraud, deal professionally with angry customers and coordinate with other staff members.
Knowing is only half the battle. You can have the best-trained agents in the world, but if they can’t grant refunds or access critical data without permission, your operation will slow down and customer satisfaction will plateau. Empower your agents to solve any issue and they’ll knock down problems like dominoes.
2. Go Global
Ecommerce is a 24/7 business. Customers can shop anytime and therefore have questions at all times, and most expect answers to emails within one hour.
Luckily, you don’t have to limit your hiring pool to your time zone.
Hiring agents across the globe means you can solve customer problems around the clock without paying night shift differentials. That means no morning ticket backlogs and no customers waiting 15 hours for a reply. Picking up a few fluently multilingual reps will also tear down language barriers, improving the efficiency of your international customer service.
3. Connect Channels
Few e-tailers sell on only one platform. Your average mom and pop online shop is quite likely to make daily sales through Amazon, eBay, and a website of their own, and possibly other channels as well. The pileup of support systems and dispersion of tickets gets worse with every new channel.
Integrating your customer service into a single helpdesk will make it much more efficient. A great budget-friendly option is to use Freshdesk’s totally free Sprout plan to integrate basic email and social media support, then add ChannelReply’s eBay and Amazon integrations. (You can also do this with Zendesk or Desk.com.)
4. Use Macros and Placeholders
Helpdesks like the three mentioned above come with awesome support tools. The two most important of these tools for customer service efficiency are macros and placeholders.
Macros (a.k.a. canned responses) are generally prewritten answers to common questions, but they can also be chunks of text you find yourself writing again and again. Good helpdesks let you create libraries of macros and add them to responses with two or three clicks.
Placeholders make sure each macro is effortlessly customized. They can take any data collected about your customer and automatically fill it in at the spot you choose in a macro. For example, if you collect the customer’s name through your contact form, you can use a name placeholder to automatically enter their name in your greeting.
ChannelReply even lets you use eBay and Amazon order data as placeholders. This saves tons of time. In one macro, you can do things as complex as:
- Greet a customer by name
- Apologize that the specific product they ordered did not meet their expectations
- State the exact dollar amount they’ll get back in their full refund
…all without touching your keyboard.
Macros and placeholders are jet fuel for customer service. Learn how they work in your helpdesk and put them to good use!
5. Prevent Mistakes
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The last step in efficient service is to prevent bad customer experiences in the first place.
A common problem in multichannel ecommerce is inventory management. A customer can buy the last copy of a product on eBay, and before you have a chance to update it as out of stock on Amazon, someone else places an order there and forces you to cancel a sale. This can be catastrophic.
Using an ecommerce inventory management software prevents that problem. Not only does it save time on inventory work, it also means fewer angry customers bogging down customer service.
That’s just one example. Always be on the lookout for ways to save your customers from bad experiences that force them to contact your support team. Not having a problem at all is better than solving a problem perfectly.
The Core of Efficient Customer Service
Efficient customer service comes down to two things: limiting problems, and making sure support has everything it needs—people, training, power and tools—to do its job well. Manage those and customer satisfaction will skyrocket.
About the Author: This guest post was written by ChannelReply. ChannelReply enables Amazon and eBay sellers to manage all their customer messages on one screen for more efficient customer service.