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E-Commerce Customer Service: Best Practices for the Holidays

Brand Development

Holiday shoppers have many options these days, and they won't hesitate to switch to a competitor the moment they aren't satisfied with the value your business has to offer.  

80% of businesses think they provide excellent customer service, but unfortunately, only 10% of customers agree. According to PwC, 1 in 3 customers will completely abandon a brand or business they love after a single bad experience.  

Given the fierce competition during this peak season, you can’t afford to lose any customers because of poor customer experience. You need to identify what holiday shoppers expect and find ways to exceed those expectations to retain their trust, keep them coming back, and ensure you get your share of the holiday market.  

So, how can your small business guarantee satisfaction to holiday shoppers?

Optimize for Florida SEO marketing and put customer service at the center of your eCommerce holiday business strategy!

What is eCommerce Customer Service?

eCommerce customer service is assisting customers with everything they need throughout their lifecycle. This can mean:

  • Answering inquiries promptly across multiple channels
  • Providing product details or service information to help them make online purchase decisions faster
  • Resolving issues

Modern consumers have high expectations when it comes to quality eCommerce customer service. The good news is that they’re willing to pay 21% more if you meet their expectations.  Meeting their standards this holiday season is a must for success!  

7 eCommerce Customer Best Practices for The Holidays

The holiday season is just around the corner, which means it's time to start paying attention to how you can increase customer interaction and boost your visibility online through SEO marketing in Florida.  

The more visible you are, the more conversations you have, and the more opportunities you have to make all customer experiences and transactions delightful.  

Here are seven eCommerce customer service best practices for delighting holiday shoppers:

1. Personalize Your Approach to eCommerce Customer Service

Local business owner offering same-day delivery to local customers.

In eCommerce, it's necessary to meet your customers on their terms to make them feel special. This means adapting to their ever-changing behaviors and increasingly demanding expectations, including offering multiple customer service communication options.  

According to Forrester, 66% of people use at least three different communication channels to reach out to customer service.  44% of customers prefer to contact a business via phone, while 39% find it more convenient to access them through social media.  

Meet your customers where they want.  

If they want to receive order status updates via SMS, they should be able to get alerts on their phones.  

If they want to reach out to you on social media, they should be able to chat with you on Messenger, send a DM on Instagram, or simply tweet you.

If they want to search for you via Google, they should be able to find you right away. Use SEO marketing in Florida to ensure that your business appears first when they search for your products or services online.

However, keeping up with multiple communication channels can overwhelm small businesses. To help you meet your customers’ expectations despite limited resources, run a survey to determine which customer channels they prefer.  

Pick their top three channels and start from there. Once you get the hang of it, you can serve customers across all their preferred communication channels.

2. Use an Omnichannel Inbox to Respond to Customers Across Channels and Platforms Quickly

According to Sprout Social, businesses can expect to receive 18% more social messages during the holidays.  

Handle the surge of queries during the holidays and solve customer requests by using an omnichannel inbox that integrates well with your online store. This will make it easier to collect, consolidate, and track all your messages and customer interactions into a single, easy-to-view platform.  

The best customer support software for your online store gives you the ability to quickly view relevant customer information, such as recent purchases, links to social media accounts, and previous conversations with you.

It also has a saved replies feature for answering frequently asked questions. This guarantees consistency and quality conversations despite the volume of messages you're trying to accommodate.  

Stay on top of your customer interactions and conversations during the holidays to provide the stellar eCommerce customer service consumers expect from you.

3. Embrace the Notion of eCommerce Self-Service to Boost Customer Satisfaction

Holiday shopper scanning her own goods for checkout.

Modern consumers want to have more control over their holiday shopping experience online. This means giving them self-service capabilities and tools, such as a virtual fitting room or detailed specifications about a product, to help them make informed purchases.  

When you allow them to virtually try on lipstick, for example, or envision how a sofa would look like in their living room, it raises their level of satisfaction and provides you with data you can use to better understand your target audience.  

Here are some tips on how to implement self-service capabilities on your site:

  • Provide thorough answers and tutorials to the most frequently asked questions by creating a page dedicated to customer support. This will reduce their likelihood of contacting you for support post-purchase.
  • Make sure your FAQs, delivery information, return policy, and other relevant details are easy to find on your website and through Google.  Florida SEO marketing will allow you to display answers in the search results for your customers’ most frequently asked eCommerce customer service questions.  
  • Use a chatbot or live chat tool to give instant gratification to web visitors.
  • Launch the same core bot functionality across all touch points to provide accessibility on channels they prefer to engage with you and a seamless, consistent experience.
  • Use customer data and Google analytics to personalize the online experience to the highest degree possible.  
  • Allow customers to get in touch with a live agent if a situation calls for it.
  • Create a dedicated page to provide real-time order status updates. This way, customers don’t have to go to third-party websites to know what’s going on with their package.  
  • Design detailed product catalogs that walk customers through each product's features and prices.

During busy sales seasons, like the holidays, anything that helps customers find their answers can boost your sales. Empowering customers with self-service capabilities also saves their time and yours!

4. Offer Personalized Guidance and Expert Tips

There are times when all consumers are looking for quick answers to basic questions. However, there are also times when they’re looking for more thorough and insightful answers.  

To cater to consumers who are looking for expert advice, it’s critical to offer guidance so they can make the best purchase decision according to their needs and wants.

This means publishing tailored holiday gift guides, creating video tutorials, posting short clips of industry hacks, doing live Q&As, and using Florida SEO marketing to boost their visibility in the search results.  

Aside from content, it’s also crucial to provide the same expert advice in your one-on-one interactions via chat. Customers look to you as experts when it comes to the products or services you’re selling. And you are!  

Equip your customer service team with software that gives them easy access to customer information so they can address people by their first name and use relevant data to get an idea of what a customer is talking about without asking them to explain their recent interactions with your business.  

This way, your team can quickly provide the relevant answer and provide a solution right away.

Just keep in mind that 71% of consumers say they’re frustrated by impersonal experiences. Use customer data to segment your customers and tailor your content around each group’s specific needs and wants. This way you can create insightful content with the right tone and message that resonates with holiday shoppers.

5. Use Customer Reviews to Boost Your eCommerce Customer Service

Reviews play a crucial role in your company’s long-term success. Aside from the fact that it helps build trust to convince customers to buy from you over your competitors, it also provides you with insights you can use to improve your customer service.  

According to research conducted by Salesforce, 78% of consumers will do business with a company again after a mistake if they have excellent customer service.  

Modern consumers want to be heard, and more importantly, they want to hear what others have to say about your products and service. 77% of consumers say they favor brands that actively seek out reviews and accept feedback from their customers.  

Encourage your customers to share their thoughts about your products and services, and make sure to take action. Reviews and feedback are great sources of ideas on how to improve your customer experience and insights into the customer journey.  

It’s also a great way to make your customers feel important and heard, which encourages others to leave reviews as well.  

6. Be Proactive in Solving Customer Issues

Happy holiday shopper because of prompt customer service and Florida SEO.

Proactively solving customer issues can help you stand out from the competition.

How can you do this? By anticipating all possible customer problems and preparing possible solutions to either prevent or solve them in advance before they even escalate.  

Many online retailers focus on providing reactive customer service. For example, they might only confirm a delay in shipment when a customer asks for an update. This is frustrating for the customer and can damage your reputation in the long term.

Here’s how you can provide proactive customer support:

  • Be transparent with your customers and let them know about a problem before they notice it themselves..  
  • Send automated follow-up emails to determine whether the customer is experiencing the same issues again after you've resolved them. This is a great way to make your customers feel important and that you care.
  • Accept your mistake and apologize. Be upfront about it and tell them how you will fix it.

7. Measure, Improve, and Repeat

Consumer wants and needs are constantly evolving, so your customer service approach should also progress to meet their new demands.  

Always collect customer service data so you can find effective ways to  improve your processes for better customer satisfaction.

Here are some metrics to pay special attention to:

  • Your busiest hours
  • The channels that receive the most inquiries
  • Customer service review and feedback
  • Trending customer service topics among your target audience and customers

Analyze this data to measure your customer service performance and optimize your strategy based on the results. This should be an ongoing task. Always seek to improve the kind of customer service you’re providing customers online.  

Take Your eCommerce Customer Service to The Next Level During the Holidays with Florida SEO Marketing!

Online shopping doesn’t come without risk. Customers don’t know if the product they bought is damaged, if there are any delays in shipment, or if the product they receive will match the description on the site.

However, by providing quality and reliable eCommerce customer service, you can ease these worries, offer a delightful post-purchase experience, and win the valuable trust of your customers.  

At Digital Resource, our SEO marketing team in Florida and digital marketing specialists will work with you to create a custom customer service strategy that will boost your business during the holidays and beyond!

Do you feel like you’re not able to meet your customers’ expectations when it comes to providing excellent customer service? We can help! Contact us today!

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