Conversation with a real person is probably the oldest form of customer service – but in a digital world, do online shoppers still want to talk?
In an online world it’s easy to underestimate the power of conversation. Many online retailers seem to think that because a customer has chosen to shop online, they’ll want to get in touch online too. This isn’t necessarily the case.
Your website may be the face of your company but your business needs a voice too. The option to call a retailer is important as it provides an instant response to a query and it’s also the best method of communication for offering advice, reassurance and dealing with complaints.
Customer Service for Multi-Channel Retail Customers
As businesses try to grapple with the idea of ‘multi-channel shoppers’, the telephone can be forgotten in favour of high-tech ways of communicating, and yet most shoppers expect to be offered multiple ways to get in touch with a business. Multi-channel shopping is about giving consumers choice as well as a coherent shopping experience across all options.
What Is Good Customer Service?
The very nature of it means that customers are not confined to one method of communication. Similar to how they may browse in store or on their phone, they expect to be able to communicate with you in a similar way.
So, if a customer is shopping online, this does not mean that they only want to communicate online. They are just as likely to want to call you. The digital age has not created purely digital shopping, but multi-channel shopping where customers embrace multiple channels for communication, browsing and purchasing.
It may be the case that some customers have their own preference when it comes to getting in touch, but hardly any consumer these days will solely communicate via email or twitter or telephone.
A recent survey by IMShopping has shown just that. 77% of online shoppers said that they want to talk to a ‘real’ person before buying. The research also shows that 43% of all ecommerce transactions begin with the customer searching the web, and yet end with them picking up the phone.
Why Customer Service Conversation is Important
In many ways, new ecommerce sites have a lot to learn from customer service agents. Throughout the in-store checkout process, a customer service agent is on hand to offer help and reassure the customer about their purchase.
The importance of customer service can’t be denied. This kind of service delivery at the crucial moment when a customer is deciding whether or not to buy your product, can often be enough to turn an ‘I’ll come back later’ into a sale. The common problem of abandoned shopping carts is, among other factors, the result of inadequate customer service.
On top of that, telephone customer service has the highest level of customer service satisfaction. At 69%, it scores better than email (60%) and FAQs (56%).
The Difficulties of Call Centers
Customers may want to ‘talk’ to businesses, but call centres are often avoided by retailers for one simple reason: cost.
Needing a combination of office space and extra staff is enough to put many businesses off – despite the clear benefits to their customers. As a result, many ecommerce sites only offer support online via email, live chat and social media. This can be very effective but it is not the right option for every customer and every situation.
Virtual Call Center, Very Real Customer Service
Cloud call centres solve these problems, making excellent customer service affordable for all retailers. This kind of call centre can be thought of as ‘virtual’ because everything is stored in the cloud.
This means that there is no need for additional software, equipment or even an office. Everything you need to operate the call centre is accessed via the internet, meaning that remote working is possible for all of your staff.
Going virtual also means it’s easier to deliver customer service training to agents when, where, and on the exact topic that they need. The result means, more expertise in dealing with customers and a better customer service experience all around.
Cloud call centres are also more flexible. If you have an influx of custom over Christmas, this is likely to result in more calls, so you can hire a temp without having to worry about whether you have room in the office. This means that your call centre is very cost-effective, as you can scale up or down to meet the demands of your customers.
How You Can Provide Online Shoppers with the Best Telephone Service
Cloud technology may enable call centres to become a viable option for many small ecommerce businesses, but there are many ways in which the technology can be utilised to make sure you can offer the best service.
- Make sure to start using VoIP teleworker services and add your businesses phone number to the checkout page. This will enable customers to ring with a quick query before making a purchase.
- Add a ‘request call back’ option to the checkout page, so that an agent can help an online customer as they checkout – this can help to avoid abandoned shopping carts.
- Implement intelligent call routing so that their call goes to the department they are likely to need (based on previous purchase/phone calls).
- Use an IVR (interactive voice response system) menu to ensure customers get through to the right department.
Many online shoppers still want to ‘talk’ and it’s down to you as a retailer to provide this option. If you can’t offer the reassurance and help over the phone that customers want, they are likely to go elsewhere in search of excellent customer service. Check out https://www.conxhub.com/ for more information on how to improve the customer service of your business.
Do you think call centres are necessary for online shopping? How do you think the multi-channel shopper wants to get in touch? Share your thoughts below.