3 ways to cut the cost of customer service

Topic: Customer Service, Retail

Millennials now make 54% of their purchases online, closely followed by 49% of non-millennial buyers (source: UPS), putting ecommerce businesses under pressure to engage with their customers if they wish to retain their business. This is easier said than done when you’re missing out on the opportunity to develop a positive human to human experience.
The great thing is that you can translate the personalisation and empathy of interacting with in-store retail assistants into a great ecommerce experience with a few tweaks.

Time to get personal

While many ecommerce businesses agree that personalisation is critical to current and future success (94% according to Pureclarity),  a completely personalised shopping experience remains largely unfulfilled. To put this into perspective, 66% of consumers think brands are using outdated information about them, while 64% think assumptions have been made, based on only one single interaction.
The slow adoption of personalisation is surprising considering there is big demand and return to be had – 48% of shoppers have been proven to spend more in situations where they have received a dedicated experience.
High street stores like Debenhams, have already identified significant cost saving and optimised shopping experiences as a result of redeploying staff for front line services in a bid to boost profits and the customer experience – and online stores should follow suit.
By 2026 consumers will have come to expect a higher level of convenience and personalisation in their interactions with an online store (source: Criteo). But while your business may operate online, it doesn’t mean your customer interactions are limited to your website.
57% of online shoppers are happy to provide personal information so long as it provides a benefit, and in line with GDPR requirements, it’s also important that you explain how their data will be used.

  • Only 39% of retailers send personalised product recommendations via email. Beat that stat and the read rates typically associated with email (20% vs 98% of text messages) by offering updates when items are back in stock or alerts when new products are added to your online store via text message
  • A/B test adding a mobile number field to your online forms, making the field visible to only half of your visitors to gauge success rate
  • Use the details in the first name field on your forms to greet your customers, visitors or prospects when sending them new product or stock alerts by text message or email –
  • To save time automate the experience. Automations such as that offered by the Esendex SMS integration with Zapier and Magento enable you to automatically send SMS without having to export and re-upload your data.

Fulfilling expectations

Shoppers are looking to take back more and more control of their shopping experiences and that begins with flexible delivery options, optimised product selections, improved onsite search functionality and self-serve return and refund options – more control means better convenience.
A staggering 53% of consumers now expect the estimated delivery time of ecommerce purchases to be precise and available within three hours of their order (Ipsos research), so if you’re not offering shipment confirmations at the very least, it could be a quick win.

  • Acknowledging receipt of your customer’s order? Are you also confirming when it will be shipped? If you’re using automated email, tweak the content to include this element – if your ecommerce store integrates with your email provider, map the fields so that you can automate this process and save time for  account managers or customer service teams.
  • Where a mobile number is provided, acknowledge processing of the order together with a guaranteed shipment date by text message could streamline your customer journey.
  • Whether high or low volume orders are placed on your ecommerce store, you may want to also consider automating an internal alert to a specified team member or account manager to ensure that they can follow up on the order, maybe with a survey or a courtesy call a specified time after receipt of the order.

What’s the latest?

94% of companies see “higher engagement and conversion rates” as benefits of a commitment to customer experience. Being able to track success and know what it looks like will enable you to set targets, hit targets and help your team achieve or exceed them.
Behind the scenes of your ecommerce store it’s likely that you will be monitoring orders, shipments, invoices and any returns or cancellations, but if that data isn’t at your employees’ fingertips, they might be missing key points to intervene to improve experiences.
Just as problematic as accessing data is data overload: the average business user receives 88 emails per day which could mean important issues are missed, or worse yet your teams become numb to their arrival in their inbox and simply bulk delete.
Integrating SMS into your internal communications strategy could see complaints handled quicker, returns processed faster and potentially a more efficient and happier workforce.
We have varied integrations and communication solutions available for ecommerce and online stores. Call us on 0345 356 5758 to discuss. Take a look at our free customer service ebook for some more fantastic stats and ideas.

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