Customer Service over the Phone, through Live chat, by E-mail and on Social media
The e-commerce sector shows no signs of slowing down. According to reports carried out by internetretailer.com e-commerce in the U.S grew by 14.6% in 2015, totalling $341.7 billion in sales. Here in Ireland, things are also looking up, an article published by the independent states that Ireland ranks “first of 28 EU countries at incorporating technology at work”. Furthermore “Ireland also tops the European tables when it comes to selling online across borders”, the article goes on to examine the improvements that can be made in broadband coverage and training but it is extremely encouraging to see Ireland top these charts.
Customer service plays a significant role on the back end that affects sales and marketing on the front end. For smaller online businesses customer service acts as a way to stand out from the crowd and create brand advocates, word of mouth can quickly spread about a unique product, perhaps for a niche market. For large online companies, it acts as a way of maintaining a positive public image and also a way of advertising a great service when targeting new markets or releasing new brand extensions.
Outsourcing Customer Service
One option for companies who really want omnichannel customer support is outsourcing to a third party customer service provider (CSP). The advantages:
- Cost Effective
- Interact with More Customers
- Open 24/7, 365 days of the year
The decision is knowing exactly what contact centre to choose and what exactly they can do for your business. Here are the ways that a third party customer service provider can help:
Customer Service Calls
These calls generally consist of post sales support. It includes helping customers through issues they may have with the service or product. An up to date FAQ page on an e-commerce website can solve a lot of these queries before a call needs to be made, it is for this reason that an FAQ page, or as it is now sometimes called a support centre, must be displayed clearly and be easily accessible.
The key here is product knowledge and customer tracking. Through effective training methods and easily accessible documentation a contact centre team of customer care representatives can become great representatives of a company. It’s all about answering questions, the more questions a customer asks the more interested they are. With a wealth of experience in over the phone interactions, we can also conclude that the Irish accent is a plus.
Non-product related calls actually account for a surprising amount of interactions. Whether it is someone looking for the marketing manager, a client requesting an invoice or a B2B sales call. These can be logged or escalated depending on a companies preferences.
In some cases, an inquiry may need to be forwarded immediately. This may be for an urgent emergency situation, an extremely irate customer or perhaps an important client. There are 2 types of escalations, one is a blind transfer where the customer is transferred there and then, the second is a confirmed transfer where the agent will speak with the point of contact before transferring or returning to the call.
Customer Service Emails
Supporting customers via email is standard for most contact centres. The important things are quick response times and proper spelling. Some companies prefer to work with a template based response method whilst others prefer a more personal reply, as a contact centre, we tailor our methods accordingly.
Customer questions coming in over Facebook or Twitter need to be
answered a lot quicker than email. Large scale companies will have the resources to have dedicated in-house teams to handle these queries but for SME’s a third party may be a viable option as it ensures every Tweet is responded to for a fraction of the cost.
People will always notice an SMS message. It is a tool used for advertising, notifying, confirming and more. For example, an e-commerce company sends an email containing the SMS message and a list of numbers to the contact centre. From there the dedicated team can contact everyone on this list quickly and cost effectively.
Live chat is faster again it’s immediate and looks good on a website. It is a fantastic sales tool that can decrease shopping cart abandonment drastically. Live chat is another channel that makes a website more friendly, more alive and reassures customers just as a salesperson in a brick and mortar store would.
IVR Services (Interactive Voice Response)
An e-commerce business may want their customer service broken down into different departments and filter customers to the team that best suits their requirements. This also means that first call resolution is higher. For example, you may want to handle all financial queries in-house but may want to outsource customer service calls, IVR can be set up by a contact centre to accomplish this.
On the back end, a contact centre can work with your chosen e-commerce software to track orders, shipping numbers and outstanding cases. This can be used to improve the level of customer support by allowing the contact centre team to track customers and increase first call resolution.
Refunds/RMA’s (Return merchandise authorization) are a major part of shipping products to customers. Using a contact centre allows you to handle extremely busy periods such as Christmas by working through those case tasks on the back end and the front end.
Who is better suited to carry out the reports than the very company handling the customers? From our experience, these are mostly done monthly. It is a great way of determining a companies busiest periods and identifying trends developing in the marketplace. Furthermore, it allows the e-commerce company to give feedback on call recordings and emails so both parties can constantly improve.