Tips to delivering online customer service excellence

June 17, 2015 written by

It costs you five times as much to win a new customer than to keep a current one. But, customers are not loyal by nature and research shows that emotion influences purchase decision more than rationale. Connecting to your customers on an emotional level is the key to establishing a lasting relationship with your brand. You must go beyond simply delivering your product, and develop strong bonds with your customers. It is essential that you provide a unique customer experience by proactively anticipating your customers’ needs and expectations and exceeding them, every time. It’s popular to read countless articles and case studies to try to determine how your business can improve the online customer service and experience. But the best way is often to think about what you personally want whenever you visit e-commerce sites. Even though you may work for a company that sells products or services online, your own needs are usually not that much different from those of your audience – we’re all people, after all! We shop this article can shed some light on how your business can incorporate quality customer service.

Here are some Tips to Improve Customer Service on Your E-commerce Site that will help you to focus on the most important elements of customer service excellence:

Live Chat
Live chat allows your agents to help mitigate that sense of risk by providing reassurance and a sense of value in the product being purchased. The positive difference is undeniable. Every live chat session is an opportunity to establish your company as being honest and truthful. Don’t squander or short cut this opportunity. As they say, you get only one chance to make a first impression. Chat agents should communicate honestly with your customers and let them know the limits of what they can do.
If an agent needs to transfer the customer to a more knowledgeable person, he must do so without shame or any sense of inadequacy

Provide customers with a transcript
When customers chat with chat agents, they pick up useful information they may want to keep in their records. The problem is that most people don’t record every conversation, so this information can get lost.
Action: At the conclusion of a live chat session, offer to email a copy of the transcript to your customer for their records.

Use canned messages
When customers arrive within a live chat conversation, they should be greeted professionally and with courtesy. But it can take a lot of time for your chat agents to type out these standard messages time after time. This is where automated canned messages can really help.
Action: Create a set of professionally designed pre-canned messages and train your chat agents how to use them.
Consider allowing customers to browse on your site for a time before raising the offer to chat. This gives them time to get oriented before being interrupted.
Action: Identify a list of target pages where you want to increase the conversion rate, and program them to automatically raise the chat offer after a period of 30 – 60 seconds.

Provide online support 24×7
Depending on the geography of your customer base, you may need to keep your chat lines open 24×7. If you cannot keep your chat line open 24×7, then make sure you post your chat hours clearly on the chat button itself. You may even want to disable, or “gray-out,” the button in your off hours.
Action: Analyze your customer base to see if it makes sense to keep your chat line open 24×7. If so, consider retaining personnel around the globe. If not, be sure to post your chat hours directly on the chat button.

Be helpul
Even if your chat agent cannot directly help a customer with a problem, he still can be helpful by either transferring the conversation to someone who does know the answer or conducting research right there online. If the research takes too much time, the chat agent should offer to email the answer to the customer.
Action: Ensure your chat agents understand the escalation process so that all questions and concerns can be answered within the ongoing chat session. If a question or concern cannot be answered, the chat agent should write up a helpdesk ticket and flag it as urgent. (The situation is urgent because a potential sale is pending!)

Be present
Good chat agents can handle 4 – 6 simultaneous conversations and make each customer believe he’s getting undivided attention. This requires some degree of training and expertise, so carefully analyze each agent’s performance level and keep him or her out of the more advance positions until they’re ready to handle the pressure.
Action: Measure every response turn-around time to ensure customers get a sense of having undivided attention. Use canned messages whenever possible, so that the chat agent can more efficiently handle each customer

Be thankful
Even though many customers may think it trite, they still appreciate someone who is grateful for their business. The psychological effect on customers cannot be ignored; it often brings them back, because they would rather deal with people who are grateful than those who just take their business for granted.
Action: Work gratitude into every canned message your chat agents send out to your customers. Ensure your agents express gratitude in every exchange. They don’t have to knock over customers with a million “Thank you” messages, but sometimes just a simple “Thanks” can really go a long way.

Be engaging
An engaging person is a person who has mastered the art of conversation. There are some simple rules to follow when engaging with your customers, and these rules should be practiced with your agents, both online and in normal conversation. Briefly, these rules are:
• Listen carefully and ask probing questions.
• Know the product and be ready to offer key insight to the problem.
• Remain focused on the customer’s issues, not your own.
• Don’t try to impress the customer with your superior knowledge.
• Use proper grammar, particularly when conversing with those who don’t share your native language.
The above rules are fairly abbreviated, but you get the point: Customers come to you to engage in conversation that will help them, and by helping them, you obviously help yourself.

Use pre-chat survey
When customers initiate a chat session, they should be allowed to provide some preliminary information, within a pre-chat survey, that will set the direction of the chat session. For example, they can provide their name and a quick description of what they’re looking for. The chat agent can then enter the conversation prepared to answer the customer’s concern.
The pre-chat survey also allows you to quickly route the chat session to the agent who is most qualified to handle the conversation.

Promote cross-department cooperation
Your chat agents should be considered an in-house sales and support department, and as such, they should understand all product lines within your organization. This qualifies them to provide a more thorough perspective when dealing with customers – either as salespeople or as support personnel. Chat agents that know about all of your product lines can quickly identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
Your live chat agents should be able to see what customers are typing while they type it. It not only gives the agents insight to what the customers are thinking as they type, but it allows the alert chat agent to respond more quickly with an answer.
Chat agents also should be alerted when a customer has hit the “send” button during chat. The alert should be audible, visible, or both, Keep in mind that your chat agents are likely to be handling multiple conversations at the same time, so anything you can do to help them multitask will help.

Accept chat requests automatically
Customers shouldn’t have to wait for someone to answer the chat request. Once a customer initiates a chat session, the system should accept the chat automatically and inform the customer that a chat agent will respond right away. (During this time, the customer can fill out a pre-chat survey, as mentioned above) Your response time should be less than 10 seconds.

Add chat button to email
Customers who receive email from you should have a chat button embedded directly on the email. This is a nice feature that allows your customers to provide direct feedback on questions they may have regarding the email. Emails could be anything from periodic newsletters or follow-ups to individual questions or grievances.

Strategically place live chat buttons
Customers should know where to go if they need help. These buttons are typically located in the upper-right corner of each page. Some of the more sophisticated sites place these buttons in an animated “slide-out” position along the left or right margin.
Do not place these buttons along the bottom of the page, as they will disappear below the fold and may never be seen.

Provide agents with visitor behaviour analysis
Chat agents should be aware of each visitor’s online behaviour before the chat session begins. Agents should know the pages that the customer has visited, and if possible, whether the customer has been on the site before. This allows the agent to more accurately understand what the customer might be looking for within your site.

Use chat agent performance reports
Each post-chat survey should be associated with the chat agent(s) that handled the communication, and the score should be analyzed periodically to identify trends.
Keep in mind that there may be other factors involved in a chat agent’s score. This can be tracked with other KPIs such as the number of visitors on the website during the chat session and the size of the chat agent’s queue. You may want to adjust your staffing depending on trends that you identify.

There’s an expression: “Listen, don’t just wait for your turn to talk.” Too many customer service interactions, especially those run by scripts, fail to heed this advice. There are four components to active listening:
Clarifying: Asking questions to make sure you understand a customer’s ideas.
Paraphrasing: Rewording what a customer just said to confirm you understand.
Reflecting Feelings: Using phrases like “that must have made you angry” or “you seem pretty excited about that” demonstrates empathy and shows that you’re paying attention.
Summarizing: Finishing a conversation with a quick summary of the most important points ensures that everyone’s on the same page.

Say “I Don’t Know”- It’s tempting to make something up or take your best guess when somebody thinks you’re an expert, but it’s a mistake. Instead, admit it by saying, “I don’t know, but here’s what I’ll do to find out.” Then set a time to get back to your customer with an answer.
Exceed expectations and treat customers as if you would treat a guest in your own home. Spread the word – promote your brand promise by empowering your employees to act as ambassadors. Hire good employees from the start; study your culture, and find the right fit. Always remember what your corporate values and purpose are, and set mission to that goal. Tell the customer the truth, and love what you do. Personalize your service to meet your customers’ needs.
By remembering and working through these steps, your team stays on track even during the most embarrassing mistake. It keeps the customer service session from veering off into other stages like “insisting you’re right” and “taking unnecessary abuse.”

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