How Does Customer Service Boost Online Sales?

Growing your business via online channels is not easy. In this article, you'll find out how to boost your online sales by improving customer service.

Mukul Chaware
Mukul Chaware

Online sales have seen a surge in adoption post the pandemic - whether it's through applications or ecommerce websites. Customers are looking for hygiene, safety, convenience, and value for money when shopping online. While the demand has increased manifold, so has the competition. The market is now flooded with online vendors that sell everything from pencils to salon services to cars. Most of these services and products are delivered to your door - a comfort that was once considered luxury. But as the customer base increases, so do their grievances. The number of customer enquiries, grievances, requests, and suggestions that online vendors cater to through their customer service department has been predicted to jump up to 40% post the pandemic. A simple look at the number of tools that are dedicated to chatbots and AI in the field will prove the importance of customer service in ecommerce. While customer service can be helpful in customer retention, loyalty-building, and maintaining brand value, it can also help boost your bottom line. Let's discuss a few ways you can leverage your customer service to boost sales...

"WOW" the customer: When a customer reaches out to your business with a grievance, they are already dissatisfied and expect the issue to be resolved instantly. While many issues that have third-party dependencies are difficult to resolve, it becomes your duty to go above and beyond to ensure the customer does not hold negative feelings against your brand. Simply speaking, if the issue is a logistics mess up leading to delayed delivery that cannot be hastened, you could apologize to the customer and offer a discount or a freebie along with the refreshed tracking details and the whole truth. Allow the customer to follow up and communicate with the customer service agent. While you retain the customer, a "wow" experience is sure to be shared by the customer making them your best advocates contributing to the bottom line!

Cross-selling and up-selling: Most customer inquiries and requests through the customer service desk are regarding the products and services they're interested in acquiring. Which makes this the perfect platform to understand the customers' requirements in detail - otherwise one of the disadvantages of online shopping - and use it to your advantage. While the customer inquires about when a sold-out product will be restocked or how long would a product take to deliver, make sure to understand why they are purchasing the product in the first place. Whether it's a gift, a personal purchase or even a utility one, make sure that the customer service executives are well-equipped to suggest and guide the customer towards relative product purchases such as a bag that goes with the pair of shoes they may have bought or a service that compliments a salon product purchase. The customer service agents here are also your brand's sales team.

Social media grievance redressal: As many ecommerce brands have experienced, customers nowadays tend to reach out to the brands through social media platforms to garner quick attention towards issues. Since social media is a platform where brands try to promote and build their brand value, a customer's comment raising issues is rather counter-productive. Let's turn this scenario around for the brand. Your reply must not only be on the comment to resolve the issue, but also address the community showcasing how attentive you are towards grievances. Make sure you close the resolution loop by sharing the details and ensuring that the customer replies with an acknowledgment. While this helps your brand retain that customer, it also helps showcase your customer service to the world, ultimately influencing purchase decisions among your community of followers.

Differentiated customer services: Customer service is a cost center in most companies. In many software firms, this cost is borne by the customer. This means that the more premium software subscription the customer signs up for, the more prioritized is their customer service. How does this help ecommerce businesses? Simple, since you bucket your customers based on their purchases and loyalty - usually through a customer loyalty program - differentiating the level of customer service for these buckets should be easy. It becomes easier to communicate the advantages of premium customer service in connection to reward programs and loyalties. Those enrolled are bound to repeat purchases owing to the preferred treatment received at the store.

Post-resolution communication: Most queries and grievances once resolved will be followed by an email or a message that communicates and acknowledges the resolution. At this stage the customer is usually placated and satisfied at having their order closed. Since they have recently faced an inconvenience buying at your online store, you don't want this to be the last impression they have. Simply adding a time bound discount code or an incentive to buy again from your store should help overcome this problem. Make sure that the customer follows through and experiences a smooth purchase and order delivery in their following purchase.

As the famous saying goes - when life gives you lemons, make lemonade - we'd go so far as to say that a lemon tart sounds better! Just satisfying and retaining your customers is not going to cut it in this competitive market, going above and beyond is more of a general expectation. Studies show that 75% of customers prefer to talk to a human over automated options which implies that your ecommerce site must have a dedicated customer service team. What's more, as we discussed, the team can double as your sales team looking for opportunities and capitalizing on them. As an ecommerce site, you have the advantage of data - from the customer's history to behavior, likes, dislikes, and activity, your team has complete visibility into their data. It's time to equip your team with the skill set to use this information and boost that bottom line!

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