Do You Have an eCommerce Customer Service Plan for the Holidays?

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eCommerce Customer Service Plan

The holiday shopping season is coming up quickly. If you have an eCommerce business, this time of year probably accounts for a huge part of your profits. So now is the time to make sure your website is prepared to deliver standout customer service for the holidays. In other words, the holidays are key for online shops.

Of course, that’s where an eCommerce customer service plan comes in. And that’s what this article is all about. In it, we’ll talk about what an eCommerce customer service plan is and why it’s so important.

We’ll also cover key parts like quick help, easy contact, and smart staff. You’ll learn how these things keep customers happy and coming back. This plan helps your shop stand out and grow, especially during the busy holiday season.

For those who aren’t sure of what an eCommerce customer service plan is, let’s kick things off by defining what, exactly, an eCommerce service plan is. After all, to know if you have one, it’s important to understand what one is.

What Is an eCommerce Customer Service Plan?

ecommerce customer service plan

An effective ecommerce customer service plan focuses on making the online shopping process as seamless as possible while ensuring that any issues or concerns customers may encounter are addressed promptly and effectively. This plan, which can be both reactive and proactive, encompasses various aspects of the customer journey, from initial product inquiries to after-sales support.

Some key components of an ecommerce customer service plan include:

  • Accessibility: Ensuring that customers can easily reach out to the business through various channels like chat, email, phone, or social media.
  • Responsiveness: Establishing a system that allows for timely responses to customer inquiries and complaints.
  • Knowledgeable Staff: Training customer service representatives about products, services, and company policies to ensure they can provide accurate and helpful information.
  • Returns and Refunds: Creating a clear and fair policy on product returns and refunds, making it easy for customers to understand and follow.
  • Feedback Mechanism: Setting up systems to gather and analyze customer feedback to continually improve the service.
  • Proactive Support: Offering solutions and assistance to customers before they face issues, like FAQs, how-to guides, or instructional videos.
  • Personalization: Leveraging customer data and analytics to provide tailored services, recommendations, and experiences.
  • Escalation Procedures: Having a clear procedure for escalating and resolving more complex customer issues or complaints.

Incorporating these components into an ecommerce customer service plan not only ensures customer satisfaction but also fosters trust and loyalty. In an era where competition in online retail is fierce, delivering exceptional customer service can set a business apart and contribute significantly to its growth and success.

ecommerce customer service plan

Benefits of an eCommerce Customer Service Plan

In the dynamic world of online retail, an effective ecommerce customer service plan is crucial for success. It can significantly impact the performance and perception of an ecommerce business.

Enhanced Customer Satisfaction

A structured customer service plan ensures prompt and efficient resolution of customer concerns, leading to higher satisfaction levels.

Increased Customer Loyalty

Positive service experiences encourage customers to return and make repeat purchases, building brand loyalty.

Positive Word of Mouth

Satisfied customers often share their positive experiences, attracting new potential customers.

Competitive Advantage

Excellent customer service sets a brand apart in the competitive ecommerce market.

Reduced Operational Hitches

Proactively addressing customer issues reduces resource burdens and improves efficiency.

More Benefits

Along with the above, an effective customer service plan offers additional advantages:

  • Informed Decision Making: Customer feedback helps businesses improve their offerings and operations.
  • Increased Sales and Revenue: Addressing customer needs effectively can lead to increased sales.
  • Strengthened Brand Image: Consistent service boosts a brand’s reputation, fostering customer trust.
  • Enhanced Online Presence: Good customer service can lead to positive online reviews and social media mentions, improving the brand’s online visibility and reputation.
  • Customer Insights for Product Development: Regular interaction with customers provides valuable insights that can guide future product development and innovation.

All in all, we can consider an ecommerce customer service plan as an investment that can yield rich dividends. By ensuring that customers feel valued and understood, businesses not only create happy patrons but also drive sustainable growth. When coupled with quality products and effective marketing, exceptional customer service can be the pillar that propels an ecommerce business to new heights.

Your eCommerce Customer Service Plan

Now that we understand the benefits of an effective customer service plan let’s focus on implementing one for your eCommerce business. A great customer service strategy starts with understanding your website from a customer’s perspective.

Review Your Site

ecommerce customer service plan

Start by reviewing your eCommerce website from the point of view of someone who isn’t familiar with it. You may want to enlist friends or family members to take some time shopping the site and see what they think.

What do they have questions about? What do they need help with? Is there anything that’s confusing? Take the time to fix any problems so that your site is easy to use and intuitive even for new visitors.

Display Contact Information Prominently

ecommerce customer service plan

Make sure customers can find what they want—including customer service assistance—by including your company’s phone number prominently at the top of every page (not just the homepage). In case customers are shopping from their mobile devices, ensure that your number displays on mobile as a click-to-call button so they can contact you with one tap.

Consider Online Chat

ecommerce customer service plan

Online chat is a useful option for an eCommerce site, allowing instant contact with your customer service for customers who may not want to talk on the phone (perhaps they’re shopping while at work or otherwise multitasking). You can have the chat window pop up right away, or if you think customers will find that annoying, wait until a certain amount of time elapses or other signs appear indicating customers need help.

Update Your FAQ Page

ecommerce customer service plan

One of the best ways to ensure customers are satisfied with your service is to be proactive. Before the holidays hit, make sure your FAQ pages are updated with current answers to questions. Provide as much information as possible about common problems customers might encounter, or questions they may have. The more “self-service” activities customers can do by themselves, the better.

This extends to providing detailed information about shipping costs, taxes and shipping times. Especially at the holidays, time is of the essence, and knowing when to expect delivery may make the difference in a customer’s purchasing from you or not.

Have Adequate Staff

ecommerce customer service plan

Last but not least, make sure you have adequate customer service staff on hand to handle your expected volume of calls, chats and other contacts. Don’t give your competitors the chance to grab your business by failing to answer customers’ questions in a timely fashion.

Manage it right, and you’ll find the customer service is the gift that keeps on giving, delivering loyal customers not only at the holidays, but long after.

Steps for Creating an Ecommerce Customer Service PlanDescription
Review Your SiteBegin with a thorough review of your website, ideally through the eyes of someone unfamiliar. This can involve enlisting friends or family to explore and shop on your platform. Aim to identify any areas of confusion or difficulty, and rectify them to ensure a seamless shopping experience for newcomers and returning customers alike.
Display Contact Information ProminentlyEmphasize accessibility by positioning your company's phone number at the top of every webpage. This ensures that, irrespective of where they are on your site, customers can easily reach out for support. For mobile users, display the contact number as a clickable button for immediate calls.
Consider Online ChatIntroduce the feature of online chat to provide an instant mode of communication. This caters to customers who might be hesitant to make a call due to various reasons, like multitasking or being in a noise-sensitive environment. The chat can pop up instantly or after a set duration, based on the perceived need of the visitor.
Update Your FAQ PageA proactive approach is key. Regularly update your FAQ page with current and relevant answers to anticipate customer queries. Ensure it covers topics like shipping costs, taxation, delivery timelines, and any other common questions. A well-informed FAQ can facilitate "self-service," enabling customers to find answers swiftly without needing to contact customer service.
Have Adequate StaffEnsure that you're adequately staffed, especially during peak seasons or promotions. This ensures that all customer queries, be it through calls, chats, or emails, are addressed promptly. Any delay or inefficiency can push potential customers towards competitors. Proper staffing not only improves response time but also enhances the overall quality of service, fostering trust and loyalty.

Holiday Shopper Photo via Shutterstock

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Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.