Customers are the heart and soul of any business, but in the e-commerce world, you need to work even harder to ensure that they stay happy and loyal with the benefit of a ‘face to face’ interaction.
There are a lot of ways to facilitate a positive customer experience online, but there are two important keys no matter what business you’re in: communication and trust.
- Equip your customer care center with trained staff, adequate availability for your peak times, and a variety of options for interaction including live chat, email, and social media.
- Set expectations for response times when your customer sends an email or submits a form: then stick to them!
- Customer care agents should be knowledgeable enough to provide your visitors with honest, detailed answers which will help make their purchase decision easier.
- Have an FAQ page with basic questions, but don’t be surprised if customers still ask these same questions.
- Stay in control. The customer might always be right, but you still need to manage the relationship: empower agents to escalate problems if needed to get a resolution, provide incentives to unhappy customers, and take their feedback to heart. Listening to them can make sure the next customer is a satisfied one!
- Place information such as product price, shipping speed, personalization costs, etc. where it’s easy to find, telling them what to expect along the way.
- Be upfront about processes. If certain items require a restocking fee or cannot be returned, put that on the product page, shopping cart description, and on the checkout page.
- Convey potential order problems upfront instead of ‘after the fact’. For example: if a product is out of stock, place an email sign-up box below the product so that people can be alerted when the item is back in stock.
- Display delivery speeds both on the checkout page and on its own page (maybe within that FAQ page we talked about above?). Provide an estimated delivery date before the order is placed, at the checkout page, and via email after the sale. If there’s a significant change, update the customer in a separate email – or, if warranted, a phone call.