We’ve heard it before: customer service can make or break an eCommerce business.

In Microsoft’s ‘2017 State of Global Customer Service’ report, they found that 56% of surveyed consumers had stopped doing business with a brand due to a poor customer service experience. Half of these consumers have done so within the past year.

On the flip side, excellent customer service can result in higher customer loyalty, repeat purchases,  referrals and overall higher customer retention.

The Need For Speed In The Customer Service World

Another survey of customer care leaders and IT professionals found that the speed of service still came up tops against all other aspects of customer service.

Customers agree too.

In a research study by Zendesk, 69% of participants associated good customer service experiences with the quick resolution of their issue.

Zendesk - customer service interactions

Image Source: Zendesk

Its obvious speed is key in customer service and fast service is key to drive customer retention and satisfaction. In this article, we’ll show you some strategies you can use to speed up your resolution of customer service inquiries for your Shopify store.

1. Utilize chat applications such as the newly launched Shopify Ping mobile app.

Shopify Ping - image

Shopify merchants, rejoice!

First announced during Shopify Unite 2018, Shopify Ping, one of the much-anticipated time-saving additions to the Shopify merchant’s arsenal of tools was launched last week for iOS devices on the Apple App Store – with an Android version in development.

“All your customer relationships in a single app”.

 

“Shopify merchants are conducting many business conversations across multiple apps every day, not only to run their day-to-day operations, but also to manage customer inquiries.”

Michael Perry, Director of Product at Shopify.

With Shopify Ping’s release, you can now keep all messages from your customers in one place, allowing you to see messages from your customers and interact with them in one place and on-the-go.

It even integrates with Shopify’s virtual assistant Kit, which helps you manage all your marketing efforts.

2. Offer Self-Service Options To Your Customers

Interesting conundrum – customers demand faster service from businesses but also desire to help themselves.  In Zendesk’s research, 91% of customers surveyed say ‘they would use a knowledge base if it met their needs’.

This is awesome news for businesses – self-service is the fastest and most cost-efficient way to customer support. Do you have these resources freely available on your website? Are they easy to find?

Possible self-service resources include:

  • A dedicated resource center with searchable resources to meet customer’s needs.
  • A blog with detailed how-to guides on how to use your product
  • A customer onboarding email workflow highlighting frequently asked questions like what you would do for deliveries, manage returns, shipping, etc.

3. Manage Customer Expectations Throughout The Delivery Process with Post Purchase Emails

According to eCommerce platform xSellco’s internal data, customer questions about delivery status and questions of where customer’s orders are at any given time make up 30 percent of all incoming customer queries.

Your customer service agents spend a lot of time communicating with carriers on individual order details and reassuring customers that their orders are scheduled to reach them on time. With the number of channels customers can reach you by nowadays, that’s a lot of time spent on customer communications on a day-to-day basis.

Remember, customers are anxiously waiting and worrying about their parcels, so you can’t afford to neglect this crucial area. You need to find a more efficient way to handle this process.

If you aren’t using post-purchase emails to proactively inform your customers of delivery updates, you need to start using them now. Not only do online shoppers rely on tracking numbers shared through email to get their order updates, they’re also one of the most frequently opened; making them a prime area to continue communicating with your customers.

4. Use A Customer Service Management Service Desk To Manage Customer Service Across Channels

Customer service was simpler last time. You only needed to worry about manning the customer help desk and maybe the occasional email coming in.

But now, the number of channels and contact points customers can potentially reach your business is staggering.

Right now, you have email, social media channels, messaging and chat apps. If that’s not overwhelming enough, this number is slated to grow against a backdrop of rising customer expectations for speedy service. This begs the question: How can you provide top-notch service to all your customers without losing your sanity (or customers?).

You need help to be more efficient. And we have a plethora of technology tools out there to help.

Use technology solutions like Intercom or Zendesk for example to enhance customer service speed and hence encourage customer loyalty. With a management system to get an overview of all your customers, you can determine which customer cases are a priority, identify bottlenecks in the service process that may slow down customer response time and fix them before it impacts your business.

5. Respond To Complaints And Enquiries With Empathy.

This point may seem obvious, but its importance cannot be understated.

Customer service reps are the frontline when it comes to handling complaints. When a complaint comes in, customers are rarely in a good mood. They will either be frustrated, worried or angry. For solo Shopify store owners, perhaps you’re handling so many other things in your business that’s it’s easy to forget the mindset you need to bring to handle customer complaints or inquiries.

A framework which we like is Disney’s H.E.A.R.D for customer service recovery.

  • Listen to the customer with empathy
  • Apologise genuinely if the customer is facing an issue.
  • Resolve the issue quickly if there’s an issue
  • Diagnose by finding out why the problem occurred

Following this simple framework ensures a systematic process to educate your customer service staff (or even yourself) in resolving customer service issues or approaching conversations.

In Conclusion

Recent trends show only focusing on customer acquisition may not be enough for your eCommerce store to continuously grow. Driving customer retention is also key, and one great way you can enhance the overall experience for your customers is ensuring you respond to their inquiries as quickly as possible.

With these 5 tips to speed up your customer service, get started on building sustainable processes to manage your customer inquiries as efficiently as possible without sacrificing service quality.

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