What do you think is the most important contributor to eCommerce customer satisfaction? Most people would answer: "the quality of my products, of course". While this is true, a quality product certainly doesn't guarantee happy buyers if your customer support is chaotic.
Chaotic business practices lead to bad customer experiences and poor reviews, tarnishing your reputation. This can ultimately spoil your business' growth trajectory. The best way to prevent chaotic customer support? To identify the most common signs of poor customer support and implement top-level customer service strategies – including a proper complaints handling policy and responsive live chat solutions – to ensure you never land yourself in a chaotic moment that could have been avoided.
- Customer support is an umbrella term for all the customer interactions that a business provides with the aim of improving customer relationships with your business and product.
- Good customer support is essential to building customer trust and loyalty, ensuring you maintain a great brand reputation and increasing your likelihood of repeat business and referrals.
- Common examples of chaotic customer support are a lack of communication, inaction, missing communication records, a lack of empathy, brushing off complaints, transferring customers from agent to agent, and making customers wait too long.
- You can avoid chaotic customer service practices by implementing fit for purpose customer support solutions, maintaining consistent communication, managing customer expectations, and respectfully handling complaints.
What is customer support?
Customer support refers to all the interactions that a business has with its customers, with the purpose of enhancing customer experience and improving relations. The most important elements of customer support in an eCommerce business are well-defined and connected communication channels, a user-friendly interface, and organized selling, shipping, and returns processes.
Importance of good customer support
If you want your eCommerce business to thrive, you need to meet your customer expectations. You can't do this without good customer support.
By offering exemplary customer service you:
- Prove to customers that you're a reliable seller, increasing the likelihood of repeat business
- Encourage customers to spread the word about your business via word-of-mouth or great online reviews
- Stand out amongst your competitors and boost your revenue between 4% and 8% above their market
Poor customer service, on the other hand, is extremely damaging, especially if you're trying to grow your business. It'll lead to dissatisfied customers who will avoid buying from you ever again – and tell their friends to avoid you, too. The financial losses associated with obtaining a poor reputation are incredibly difficult to recover from – sometimes impossible.
Common examples of bad customer support – and how to avoid them
Let's take a look at some of the most common examples of bad customer support, and the best practices to fix (or simply avoid) them.
Poor communication practices
Communication is the most important element of good customer support. Why? Because poor communication practices lead to guaranteed disappointment. If you don't communicate with customers politely, quickly, and efficiently, you're demonstrating chaotic customer service.
How can your customer support teams ensure that their communications are always top-notch? Here are a few tips for getting started:
- Respond instantly to customer queries. 9 out of 10 customers say that immediate (within 10 minutes) response times are essential when they have a customer service question. Rather than making customers wait for hours for a phone call or days for an email message, set up live chat software that provides instant responses to your customers' queries.
- Collaborate behind the scenes. Nearly three-quarters of customers think that companies should communicate on their behalf so that they don't have to repeat themselves to different representatives. Your company should have the technology in place to deliver a seamless customer support experience across multiple departments.
- Make your customers feel valued and respected. 70% of a customer's journey is based on how they feel they are being treated. Impolite or unsatisfactory responses are bound to leave a sour taste in your customers' mouths, while friendly, polite communication will make customers feel like they matter to your business.
- Build out a great customer service team. Combining trained, motivated staff with tools, technologies, systems and processes will help you to build high-quality customer relationships with consistently good communication. Implement training to encourage your employees to develop a customer service mindset.
You want to make sure that you're providing assistance throughout every step of the customer journey. This means being equipped to help potential customers from the moment they enter your site – and that's where implementing the best practices with live chat prompts comes in.
Failing to act on customer complaints
90% of consumers say that their most crucial customer service concern is issue resolution. Failing to act on customer complaints is another major example of chaotic customer support.
When you don't respond quickly – or at all – to customer complaints, you're showing that you don't take complaints seriously. With that kind of attitude, you'll end up in a race to the bottom, especially since customers are four times more likely to switch to your competitors if they're experiencing an issue with the quality of your service.
There are two main ways to act on customer complaints:
- By responding in real time to customer complaints via email or phone. If you don't have live chat and email software for grouping and quickly responding to complaints, start here. Show your customers that you care and you want to resolve their issue as soon as possible. Buyers are less likely to leave poor reviews if they feel their complaints are managed quickly and efficiently. If your customers are angry, make sure to use these practices to deliver a positive outcome.
- By acknowledging and responding to poor customer feedback. Most review sites allow businesses to respond to customer reviews, giving you a chance to make amends, repair a broken relationship, build trust, and potentially encourage your customer to amend their review. Start with an apology, then offer a refund, discount, or whatever is appropriate for the situation – you could even simply ask the reviewer how you can make things right. Make sure your social media game is on point, too – customers often take to their favorite social platform to make a complaint.
Misleading customers with unrealistic expectations
There's an unspoken rule in the eCommerce industry that it's okay to exaggerate the benefits of a product within reason, but you should never lie to your customers.
Your website copywriting, images, and videos should fairly represent what your customers can expect from your products. If a product doesn't live up to customer expectations, you'll end up disappointing your buyers, and disappointment does not lead to happy reviews or customer loyalty.
At the same time, you still want to encourage sales with clever – but honest – psychological triggers.
If you're unsure how to find the balance between honesty and enticing sales copy, consider hiring a copywriter to take the task off your hands.
In every scenario, make sure you have a seamless returns process in the case that customers simply aren't satisfied. Transparency is key here – you don't want to frustrate your buyers with unclear or confusing information about delivery times, returns fees, and refund processing times.
Chaotic customer support damages your reputation, increases your likelihood of losing money from leads that don't convert, and may even cause your employees to feel insecure and unhappy at work. Bad customer service kills your business: it's that simple.
The best way to avoid chaos in your customer support department is to identify where improvements can be made, then adopt strategies and tools designed to increase customer satisfaction, manage customer expectations, enable quality communication, and maintain a top-notch complaints management process.
Remember, with all customer support solutions, consistency is key. You should match your same high standards again and again, with every customer interaction across all channels. Our All-in-One suite of customer support tools can help your business calm the chaos, so why not start your free trial today?