eBook | Listrak vs Klaviyo: Our eCommerce Email & SMS Marketing Platform Review LEARN MORE >
X
Book a Call
eBook

From Cost Center to Profit Driver: Transforming eCommerce Customer Service

Whats Inside - From Cost Center to Profit Driver- Transforming eCommerce Customer Service
What’s Inside?

eCommerce retailers often find themselves in a race to the lowest price to attract new customers. In a world of drop-shipping and product-dumping, finding genuine ways to connect and build relationships with customers is becoming critical to earning and retaining customers. The number one proven way to do so is to offer great customer service.

Whats Inside - From Cost Center to Profit Driver- Transforming eCommerce Customer Service
What’s Inside?

eCommerce retailers often find themselves in a race to the lowest price to attract new customers. In a world of drop-shipping and product-dumping, finding genuine ways to connect and build relationships with customers is becoming critical to earning and retaining customers. The number one proven way to do so is to offer great customer service.

Table of Contents
Chapter 1:

The Customer Is Always Right

Why The Age-Old Saying Holds True Today

Customer service is one of the most important aspects of any business. In a highly competitive and fast-paced online environment in which customers have endless choices and high expectations, the customer service you provide can make or break your business.

However, many eCommerce retailers still view customer service as a cost center, rather than a revenue generator. They see it as a necessary expense, rather than a strategic investment.
They focus on minimizing costs, rather than maximizing value. They treat it as an afterthought, rather than a priority.

The fact is, that customer service can be a powerful source of competitive advantage and revenue growth for your online business. By transforming your customer service from a cost center to a profit driver, you can:

  • Increase customer loyalty and retention
  • Boost customer lifetime value (CLV) with repeat purchases
  • Enhance customer satisfaction and advocacy
  • Reduce customer churn and refunds
  • Differentiate your brand and products
  • Attract new customers and referrals
  • Improve your business with customer feedback and insights

In this ebook, we will show you how to achieve these benefits by applying best practices and innovative solutions for eCommerce customer service. We will share real-world examples of companies that have successfully leveraged customer service to drive revenue and growth. We will also provide practical tips and tools for implementing and optimizing your own customer service strategy.

In this chapter, we will introduce the importance of customer service for eCommerce retailers, the shift from cost center to revenue generation, and the impact of customer service on customer loyalty and repeat business. We will also highlight some real-world examples of companies that have successfully leveraged customer service to drive revenue.

The Importance of eCommerce Customer Service

Customer service is the process of assisting customers before, during, and after a purchase. It involves answering questions, resolving issues, providing information, offering guidance, and ensuring satisfaction.

Customer service is essential for any business, but especially for eCommerce retailers. Unlike traditional brick-and-mortar stores, eCommerce retailers do not have the opportunity to interact with customers face-to-face, build rapport, demonstrate products, or handle objections.
Therefore, they need to rely on other channels and methods to communicate with customers and provide value.

Additionally, eCommerce retailers face some unique challenges and opportunities in regard to customer service:

  • Availability: Unlike physical locations, online shoppers expect customer service to be available at the exact moment they need assistance.
  • Responsiveness: Online shoppers expect prompt responses to their inquiries and issues. Customers can easily begin purchasing from another merchant if they are not satisfied with the communication process of your brand.
  • Multichannel: Online shoppers use multiple channels to contact customer service, such as email, phone, live chat, social media, or support forums.
  • Automation: Online shoppers are increasingly comfortable with using automated tools and self-service options for customer service, such as chatbots or FAQs.

These differentiating challenges and opportunities require eCommerce retailers to adopt a proactive and strategic approach to customer service. Rather than simply reacting to customer needs, merchants should begin to treat it as a proactive and strategic function.

Rather than seeing it as a cost center that drains resources, they need to see it as a profit driver that creates value, for both themselves and their customers.

From Cost Center to Revenue Generator

A cost center is a part of a business that does not directly generate revenue, but rather incurs costs. On the other hand, a profit driver is a part of a business that directly or indirectly generates revenue or profit by creating value for customers.

Traditionally, many businesses have viewed customer service as a cost center. They have focused on minimizing the costs associated with providing customer service, such as staff salaries, training expenses, software fees, and phone bills. They have measured the performance of their customer service based on metrics such as average handle time (AHT), first contact resolution (FCR), or cost per contact (CPC).

However, this approach is no longer sustainable in today's competitive and dynamic online marketplace. Customers have more choices and higher expectations than ever before. These customers are not loyal to brands or products but rather show their favoritism to complete experiences. Some customers may be willing to pay more for better experiences rather than switch to cheaper competitors for worse experiences. Online reviews and social media recommendations from other customers influence all of these factors.

Therefore, businesses need to shift their focus to maximizing the value created by providing customer service. Indicators of this added value include increased conversions, customer retention, customer loyalty, customer lifetime value, customer satisfaction, customer advocacy, customer feedback, or brand differentiation. To quantify the performance of their customer service, merchants should assess metrics such as customer satisfaction score (CSAT), net promoter score (NPS), customer effort score (CES), or customer lifetime value (CLV).

By doing so, they can transform their customer service from a cost center to a profit driver. They can turn their customer service into a source of competitive advantage and revenue growth for their online business.

Customer Loyalty & Repeat Business

One of the most significant benefits of transforming your customer service from a cost center to a profit driver is the impact it has on customer loyalty and repeat business.

Customer loyalty and repeat business are crucial for eCommerce success. They help you reduce customer acquisition costs, increase customer lifetime value, improve profitability, and create a loyal fan base. According to a study by Bain & Company, increasing customer retention rates by 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%. According to another study by Adobe, repeat customers account for 40% of online revenue. However, achieving a high level of customer loyalty and repeat business is not easy to achieve or maintain in eCommerce. Customers have many options and little to no switching costs. They are influenced by price, convenience, quality, variety, and availability.

They are also influenced by their experiences with your brand and products, especially your customer service. Customer service can make or break your customer loyalty and repeat business. According to a study by Zendesk, 74% of customers say they are loyal to a brand because of good customer service.

By providing excellent customer service, you can increase your customer loyalty and repeat business. You can create positive and memorable experiences for your customers that make them want to buy from you again and again.

Real-World Examples:

To illustrate how eCommerce retailers can leverage customer service to drive revenue and growth, here are some real-world examples of companies that have done so successfully:

  • Zappos: Zappos is an online shoe and clothing retailer that is famous for its exceptional customer service. Zappos offers free shipping and returns, a 365-day return policy, 24/7 support via phone, email, live chat, or social media, and a culture of delivering "wow" experiences to customers. Zappos also empowers its support agents to go above and beyond for customers, such as sending flowers or cards, upgrading shipping options, or issuing surprise refunds. As a result of its customer service strategy, Zappos has achieved high levels of customer loyalty and retention, as well as benefited from word-of-mouth marketing. According to Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, 75% of Zappos sales come from repeat customers.

  • Chewy: Chewy is an online pet retailer that offers pet food, supplies, medications, and services. Chewy is known for its outstanding customer service that caters to both pet owners and their furry friends. Chewy offers free shipping on orders over $49, fast delivery times, 24/7 support via phone, email, live chat, or social media, and a hassle-free return policy. Chewy also surprises its customers with personalized cards, gifts, or portraits of their pets. Chewy has built a loyal and passionate community of pet lovers who trust and love the brand by providing exceptional customer service. According to Chewy CEO Sumit Singh, Chewy has an NPS score of over 80%, considered world-class.
Chapter 2

Reframing Customer Service

It Doesn't Cost You Money, It Makes You Money

In this chapter, we will discuss how to reframe customer service as a revenue generator, rather than a cost center. We will explain why customer service is often perceived negatively in eCommerce, and how to change this perception. We will also share some strategies for reframing customer service as a value-creating function that drives revenue and growth. We will provide real-world examples of companies that have successfully reframed customer service, and some statistics on the impact of positive customer service experiences on customer loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing.

Customer Service’s Negative Perception

Customer service is often perceived negatively in eCommerce, both by customers and by businesses. Customers tend to associate customer service with problems, frustrations, delays, or dissatisfaction. They may have low expectations or distrust of customer service agents, especially if they have had bad experiences in the past.

Businesses tend to view customer service as a cost center, rather than a revenue generator. They may see customer service as a burden, or as a source of complaints or refunds. They may measure customer service performance based on efficiency, rather than effectiveness.

This negative perception of customer service in eCommerce from both the customer and merchant is detrimental to both parties alike. It creates a vicious cycle of poor customer service experiences, low customer satisfaction, high customer churn, and lost revenue opportunities.

Reframing Customer Service

To turn this vicious cycle into a virtuous cycle of positive customer service experiences, high customer satisfaction, low customer churn, and increased revenue opportunities, businesses need to reframe customer service as a revenue generator.

Reframing customer service as a revenue generator means changing the mindset, the culture, the strategy, and the execution of customer service in a given retailer’s operations. It means shifting from a reactive and operational approach to a proactive and strategic approach. It all begins with focusing on creating value for customers, rather than minimizing costs for the business. Once complete, measure customer service performance based on outcomes instead of inputs.

Strategies & Techniques

Goal Alignment
Customer service should be aligned with the overall business goals and vision, such as increasing sales conversions, retention rates, lifetime value, or referrals. Customer service should also be aligned with the brand identity and values, such as being innovative, trustworthy, or friendly.

Empower Service Agents
Customer service agents should have access to relevant and accurate information about customers, products, policies, and promotions. They should also have access to tools that enable them to communicate effectively with customers across channels, such as CRM systems, chatbots, or social media platforms.

Moreover, they should have incentives that reward them for creating value for customers and generating revenue for the business, such as commissions, bonuses, or recognition.

Training
Customer service agents should be trained on how to identify sales opportunities during service interactions, such as cross-selling or upselling products or services that match the customer's needs or preferences. They should be trained on how to use sales skills and techniques to persuade customers to buy more or buy again, such as using open-ended questions, active listening, empathy, or storytelling.

Lastly, but most importantly, agents should be trained on how to handle objections or rejections gracefully and professionally.

Be Proactive & Personalized
Customer service should not always wait for customers to contact them but rather reach out to customers proactively and preemptively.

For example, customer service teams can send automated follow-up emails or messages after a purchase, asking for feedback, offering assistance, or suggesting complementary products or services.

For more advanced retailers, customer service can also use data and analytics to segment customers based on their behavior, preferences, or needs, and provide personalized and relevant offers or recommendations.

Omnichannel Experiences
Customer service teams have the option to provide a seamless and consistent experience across multiple channels including phone calls, email, live chat, social media, or support forums. In a best-case scenario, customers should be able to switch between channels without losing context or information. To complete the puzzle, customer service should integrate with other business functions, such as marketing, sales, or product development, to ensure alignment and coordination across the customer journey.

Real-World Examples

To illustrate how eCommerce retailers can reframe customer service as a revenue generator, here are some real-world examples of companies that have done so successfully:

  • Amazon: Amazon is an online retail giant that offers a wide range of products and services. Amazon is known for its customer-centric culture and its obsession with customer satisfaction. Amazon provides customer service through multiple channels, such as phone, email, live chat, or social media. Amazon also uses AI and machine learning to provide proactive and personalized customer service, such as sending notifications, reminders, or suggestions based on customer behavior or preferences.

    Amazon also leverages customer service to cross-sell or upsell products or services that add value to customers, such as Amazon Prime, Kindle Unlimited, or Audible. By providing excellent customer service, Amazon has achieved high levels of customer loyalty and retention. According to a report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP), 93% of Amazon Prime members renew their membership after the first year.

  • Sephora: Sephora is an online beauty retailer that offers cosmetics, skincare, haircare, fragrances, and accessories. Sephora is known for its innovative and engaging customer service that makes shopping online fun and easy. Sephora provides customer service through multiple channels, such as phone, email, live chat, or social media. Sephora also uses gamification and personalization to provide proactive and personalized customer service, such as offering quizzes, tutorials, or virtual try-ons based on customer interests or needs.

    Sephora also leverages customer service to cross-sell or upsell products or services that enhance customer experience, such as offering samples, rewards, or subscriptions based on customer preferences or behavior. By providing innovative and engaging customer service, Sephora has built a loyal and passionate community of beauty lovers who trust and love the brand. According to a report by Wunderman Thompson Commerce, Sephora ranks as the top online beauty retailer in terms of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Relevant Statistics

The above information sounds like a lot of work, right? Well, you’re not wrong. To demonstrate the worthwhile impact of positive customer service experiences on customer loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing, here are some statistics from various sources:

  • According to a report by Zendesk, 74% of customers say they are loyal to a brand because of good customer service.
  • According to a report by American Express, 90% of customers say they are more likely to buy again from a company that provides excellent customer service.
  • According to a report by HubSpot, 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies that offer excellent customer service.
  • According to a report by Netomi, 77% of customers say they have shared positive experiences with others after receiving good customer service.
  • According to a report by Nielsen, 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of advertising.
  • According to a report by Invesp, customers who are referred by other customers have a 37% higher retention rate and a 16% higher lifetime value than non-referred customers.
Chapter 3:

AI Chatbots

Artificial Intelligence eCommerce Customer Service

In this chapter, we will explore one of the most innovative and effective solutions for eCommerce customer service: AI chatbots. We will define what AI chatbots are and what benefits they offer for eCommerce customer service. We will also share some real-world examples of companies that have successfully implemented AI chatbots in eCommerce. We will provide some tips for implementing and optimizing AI chatbots in eCommerce, including how to train them to understand customer intent and how to integrate them with existing systems. We will also provide some statistics on the increase in customer satisfaction and sales conversion rates with AI chatbots.

What Are AI Chatbots?

AI chatbots are software applications that use artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) to simulate human-like conversations with customers. AI chatbots can understand natural language inputs from customers, such as text or voice, and generate natural language outputs, such as text or voice, in response. Advanced AI chatbot systems can also learn from customer feedback and data to improve their performance over time.

AI Chatbot Benefits

  • Availability: AI chatbots can provide 24/7 customer service, without any downtime or delays. They can handle multiple customers at the same time, without any waiting time or queues.
  • Responsiveness: AI chatbots can provide instant and accurate answers to common customer queries, without any human intervention or errors. They can also escalate complex or sensitive issues to human agents when necessary.
  • Multichannel: AI chatbots can provide consistent and seamless customer service across multiple channels, such as websites, mobile apps, social media platforms, or messaging apps. They can also integrate with other systems, such as CRM, ERP, or payment gateways.
  • Personalization: AI chatbots can provide personalized and relevant customer service based on customer data, preferences, behavior, or context. They can also use natural language generation (NLG) to create engaging and human-like responses.
  • Automation: AI chatbots can automate repetitive and mundane tasks, such as order confirmation, shipping notification, password reset, or FAQ. They can also perform proactive tasks, such as sending reminders, alerts, or suggestions.

Real-world Examples:

To illustrate how eCommerce retailers can implement AI chatbots in their customer service strategy, here are some real-world examples of companies that have done so successfully:

  • H&M: H&M is a global fashion retailer that offers clothing, accessories, and home products. H&M uses an AI chatbot on its website and app to provide personalized style advice and product recommendations to customers. The chatbot asks customers a series of questions about their style preferences, budget, occasion, and size. Based on the answers, the chatbot creates a customized outfit for the customer and provides links to purchase the items online. The chatbot also learns from customer feedback and behavior to improve its suggestions over time.
  • Domino's: Domino's is a global pizza delivery company that offers a variety of pizzas, sides, desserts, and drinks. Domino's uses an AI chatbot called Dom on its website, app, and Facebook Messenger to provide convenient and easy ordering and tracking of pizzas. The chatbot allows customers to place orders using natural language inputs, such as text or voice. The chatbot also provides order confirmation, payment options, and delivery status updates. The chatbot can also handle common customer queries, such as menu items, prices, or locations.

Tips for Implementing AI Chatbots

Implementing and optimizing AI chatbots in eCommerce requires careful planning, design, testing, and improvement. Here are some tips for doing so:

Define Goals
Before you start building your AI chatbot, you need to define what you want it to achieve and what kind of customer queries or tasks you want it to handle. You also need to define the metrics and KPIs that you will use to measure its performance and success.

Finding The Right Platform
Depending on your goals and scope, you may need to choose between different platforms and tools for creating and deploying your AI chatbot. For example, you may need to decide between using a cloud-based or on-premise solution, a code-based or no-code solution, a generic or industry-specific solution, or a standalone or integrated solution.

Designing Conversation Flow
You need to design how your AI chatbot will interact with your customers, such as what questions it will ask, what answers it will provide, what tone and personality it will use, and what visual elements it will display. You also need to design how your AI chatbot will handle different scenarios, such as errors, exceptions, fallbacks, or escalations.

Training & Testing
You need to train your AI chatbot with real data from your customers, such as previous conversations, transactions, reviews, or surveys. You also need to test your AI chatbot with real customers or users, such as beta testers, focus groups, or surveys. You need to collect and analyze data and feedback from your training and testing to evaluate and improve your AI chatbot's accuracy, relevance, and usability.

Iterative Optimization
You need to monitor your AI chatbot's performance and customer satisfaction on an ongoing basis, using the metrics and KPIs that you defined. You also need to optimize your AI chatbot continuously, by adding new features, functions, or content, or by updating or refining its algorithms or models.

AI Chatbot Statistics

To demonstrate the increase in customer satisfaction and sales conversion rates with AI chatbots, here are some statistics from various sources:

  • According to a report by Juniper Research, AI chatbots can save businesses up to $8 billion per year by 2022, by reducing customer service costs and increasing sales conversions.
  • According to a report by Salesforce, 69% of consumers prefer to use chatbots for quick communication with brands, and 64% of consumers say that 24/7 service is the best feature of chatbots.
  • According to a report by Business Insider Intelligence, 67% of US millennials said they are likely to purchase products and services from brands using a chatbot, and 48% of US millennials said they would interact with a chatbot daily if it meant receiving personalized offers or discounts.
  • According to a report by Gartner, 47% of organizations will use chatbots for customer care by 2021, and 40% will deploy virtual assistants.
  • According to a report by Chatbots Magazine, businesses that use chatbots can increase their customer engagement by 3x, their sales conversions by 2x, and their customer retention by 5x.
Chapter 4

Live Customer Support

Real-Life eCommerce Customer Support

In this chapter, we will explore another important solution for eCommerce customer service: live customer support. We will define what live customer support is and what benefits it offers for eCommerce retailers in comparison to AI chatbot solutions. We will also share some real-world examples of companies that have successfully implemented live customer support in eCommerce.

We will provide some tips for implementing and optimizing live customer support in eCommerce, including how to train support agents and how to integrate live chat with other customer service channels. We will also provide some statistics on the increase in customer satisfaction and sales conversion rates with live customer support.

Benefits of eCommerce Customer Support

Live customer support is a type of customer service that involves real-time communication between customers and human agents. Live customer support can be delivered through various channels, such as phone, email, live chat, video call, or social media. Live customer support can also be combined with other solutions, such as AI chatbots or self-service options, to provide a seamless and comprehensive customer service experience.

Live customer support offers many benefits for eCommerce retailers, such as:

  • Trust: Live customer support can help build trust and rapport with customers, especially for new or hesitant buyers. Customers can feel more confident and secure when they can talk to a real person who can answer their questions, address their concerns, or reassure them about their purchase.
  • Engagement: Live customer support can help increase engagement and retention with customers, especially for loyal or repeat buyers. Customers can feel more valued and appreciated when they can have a personalized and humanized conversation with an agent who can offer them guidance, advice, or feedback.
  • Conversion: Live customer support can help boost conversion and revenue with customers, especially for high-value or complex purchases. Customers can feel more motivated and persuaded when they can receive timely and relevant offers, discounts, or upsells from an agent who can tailor them to their needs or preferences.

Real-World Example

To illustrate how eCommerce retailers can implement live customer support in their customer service strategy, here is a real-world examples of companies that have done so successfully:

  • Warby Parker: Warby Parker is an online eyewear retailer that offers affordable and stylish glasses and sunglasses. Warby Parker is known for its innovative and convenient live customer support that makes buying glasses online easy and fun. Warby Parker provides live customer support through phone, email, live chat, or video call.

    Warby Parker also offers a free home try-on program that allows customers to try five pairs of glasses for five days before buying them online. Warby Parker also uses computer vision and machine learning to provide virtual try-on and prescription check features on its app. By providing innovative and convenient live customer support, Warby Parker has differentiated its brand and products from its competitors.

Implementation Tips

Live customer support is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on your business goals, target audience, and budget, you may need to customize your live chat strategy to suit your specific needs. Here are some tips to help you implement and optimize live customer support in eCommerce:

Choosing The Right Software
There are many live chat platforms available in the market, each with different features, pricing, and integrations. You should choose the one that best fits your business needs and budget.
Some of the factors to consider when choosing a live chat software are:

  • Ease of use. The live chat software should be easy to install, configure, and use for both you and your customers. It should also have a user-friendly interface and a responsive design that adapts to different devices and screen sizes
  • Customization. The live chat software should allow you to customize the appearance, behavior, and functionality of the chat widget to match your brand identity and website design. You should also be able to customize the chat messages, greetings, and prompts to suit your tone of voice and customer expectations.
  • Automation. The live chat software should have automation features that can help you save time and resources by handling common queries, routing chats to the right agents, and providing relevant information or suggestions to customers. For example, you can use chatbots to answer frequently asked questions or provide product recommendations, and use triggers to initiate chats based on customer behavior or criteria.
  • Analytics. The live chat software should have analytics features that can help you measure and improve the performance of your live chat service. You should be able to track and analyze key metrics such as chat volume, response time, customer satisfaction, conversion rate, and revenue generated by live chat.
  • Integration. The live chat software should be able to integrate with your existing systems and tools, such as your eCommerce platform, CRM system, email marketing service, social media channels, etc. This can help you streamline your workflows, sync your data, and provide a seamless customer experience across different touchpoints.

Training Your Support Agents

Your support agents are the face of your business when interacting with customers via live chat. Therefore, you should train them well to ensure they can provide professional, friendly, and helpful service that meets or exceeds customer expectations. Some of the skills and best practices you should train your support agents on are:

  • Communication skills. Your support agents should be able to communicate clearly, concisely, and courteously with customers via live chat. They should use proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, and tone of voice when writing chat messages. They should also avoid using jargon, slang, or abbreviations that may confuse or offend customers.
  • Product knowledge. Your support agents should have a thorough knowledge of your products or services, including their features, benefits, prices, availability, etc. They should be able to answer customer questions accurately and confidently or direct them to the right resources if they don’t know the answer.
  • Problem-solving skills. Your support agents should be able to identify customer problems or needs quickly and effectively and provide appropriate solutions or alternatives that satisfy customers. They should also be able to handle difficult or angry customers calmly and professionally and escalate issues to higher-level agents or managers if necessary.
  • Sales skills. Your support agents should be able to identify sales opportunities and upsell or cross-sell products or services that match customer needs or interests. They should also be able to overcome customer objections or concerns and persuade them to make a purchase or take action.

System Integrations

  • Live chat is not the only way to provide customer service in eCommerce. You should also offer other channels of communication such as phone calls, emails, social media messages, etc., depending on your customer preferences and needs. You should integrate your live chat service with these other channels to provide a consistent and seamless customer experience across different touchpoints.
  • You can use live chat as a first point of contact for customers who visit your website and then transfer them to a phone call if they need more assistance or prefer talking to a human voice.
  • You can use email as a follow-up channel for customers who have chatted with you via live chat and send them confirmation messages, receipts, feedback surveys, etc.
  • You can use social media as an extension of your live chat service and respond to customer inquiries or comments on platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter DMs, Instagram DMs, etc.

By integrating live chat with other customer service channels, you can increase customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention by providing them with multiple options and statistics on the increase in customer satisfaction and sales conversion rates with live customer support

Summary

Live customer support can have a significant impact on your eCommerce business outcomes, such as customer satisfaction and sales conversion rates. According to various studies and surveys, live chat can help you:

  • Increase customer satisfaction. Live chat can provide customers with instant and personalized support that can resolve their issues or answer their questions quickly and effectively. According to a report by Zendesk, live chat has the highest customer satisfaction rate (92%) among all customer service channels. Another report by eMarketer found that 63% of customers were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.
  • Increase sales conversion rates. Live chat can also help you increase your sales conversion rates by providing customers with relevant information, recommendations, or incentives that can persuade them to make a purchase or take an action. According to a report by Forrester Research, customers who use live chat are 2.8 times more likely to convert than those who don’t. Another report by Bold360 found that live chat can increase average order value by 19%.

As you can see, live customer support can be a powerful tool for eCommerce retailers to boost their customer service quality and revenue generation. By following the tips above, you can implement and optimize your live chat strategy and reap the benefits of this channel.

Chapter 5

Conducting A SWOT Analysis

eCommerce Customer Service Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats

A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool that helps you identify and evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your business. It can help you gain insights into your competitive advantages and disadvantages, as well as identify areas for improvement and growth.

Conducting a SWOT analysis is especially important for eCommerce retailers, as they operate in a dynamic and competitive market that requires constant adaptation and innovation. By conducting a SWOT analysis, you can assess your current performance, identify your goals and objectives, and devise strategies to achieve them.

One of the key factors that can influence your SWOT analysis is customer service. Customer service can have a significant impact on your business outcomes. As discussed earlier, the factors customer service impacts are customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention, word-of-mouth marketing, and revenue generation. Therefore, it is essential to consider how customer service affects each aspect of your SWOT analysis and how you can leverage it to improve your overall performance.

Hypothetical eCommerce Merchant SWOT Analysis

In this chapter, we will provide a hypothetical SWOT analysis for a hypothetical eCommerce merchant, with a focus on how customer service impacts each aspect. We will also provide recommendations for leveraging customer service to improve the merchant’s overall performance.

Strengths

  • High-quality products that meet customer needs and expectations
  • Competitive pricing that offers value for money
  • Fast and free shipping that delivers products within 2-3 days
  • Positive customer reviews and ratings that showcase customer satisfaction

Customer service can help maintain and enhance these strengths by providing customers with timely and accurate information about products, prices, and shipping. Customer service can also help collect and respond to customer feedback and reviews, which can help improve product quality and customer satisfaction.

Weaknesses

  • Limited product variety that limits customer choices
  • Low brand awareness and recognition that reduces customer trust and loyalty
  • High return rate that increases operational costs and reduces profitability

Customer service can help address these weaknesses by providing customers with personalized recommendations and suggestions based on their preferences and needs. Customer service can also help increase brand awareness and recognition by creating a

positive brand image and reputation through professional, friendly, and helpful interactions with customers. Last, customer service can also help reduce the return rate by providing customers with clear and detailed product descriptions, images, and videos, as well as offering flexible return policies and procedures.

Opportunities

  • Growing demand for online shopping
  • Increasing use of social media platforms as a source of information and inspiration for online shoppers
  • Emerging markets and segments that offer potential for expansion and growth

Customer service can help seize these opportunities by providing customers with convenient and accessible support channels such as live chat, chatbots, social media messages, etc.

Customer service can also help leverage social media platforms as a marketing tool by encouraging customers to share their positive experiences and reviews with their friends and followers. Customer service can help merchants to explore new markets and segments by conducting market research and surveys to understand customer needs and preferences.

Threats

  • Intense competition from other eCommerce retailers that offer similar products
  • Regulatory changes or legal issues that affect eCommerce operations or transactions

Customer service can help mitigate these threats by providing customers with competitive advantages such as loyalty programs, discounts, coupons, etc. Customer service can also help comply with regulatory changes or legal issues by staying updated on the latest rules and regulations and informing customers about any changes or implications.

Recommendations

Based on the hypothetical SWOT analysis above, here are some recommendations for leveraging customer service to improve the merchant’s overall performance:

  • Invest in customer service training and technology. To provide high-quality customer service that meets or exceeds customer expectations, this merchant should invest in training your support agents on communication skills, product knowledge,
    problem-solving skills, and sales skills. They should also invest in technology that can help you automate, optimize, and integrate your customer service channels, such as live chat software, chatbot software, CRM system, email marketing service, social media management tool, etc.
  • Monitor and measure customer service performance. To ensure that customer service is effective and efficient, this merchant should monitor and measure its performance using key metrics such as chat volume, response time, customer satisfaction, conversion rate, and revenue generated by customer service. They should then collect and analyze customer feedback and reviews, which will help them to identify customer needs, preferences, pain points, and satisfaction levels. They should also use this data to improve your customer service quality and strategy based on customer insights and feedback.
  • Align customer service with your business goals and objectives. To ensure that customer service is aligned with this merchant’s business goals and objectives, they should define and communicate the customer service team’s vision, mission, values, and standards to your support agents and customers. They should set and track your customer service goals and objectives, such as increasing customer satisfaction, loyalty, retention, word-of-mouth marketing, revenue generation, etc. Last, align customer service strategy with your marketing, sales, and operations strategies to provide a consistent and seamless customer experience across different touchpoints.

Summary

In this chapter, we have discussed the importance of SWOT analysis for eCommerce retailers and how customer service can impact each aspect of the analysis. We have also provided a hypothetical SWOT analysis for an eCommerce merchant, with a focus on how customer service impacts each aspect. We have also provided recommendations for leveraging customer service to improve the merchant’s overall performance.

By conducting a SWOT analysis and considering how customer service affects each aspect, you can gain valuable insights into your business performance and devise strategies to achieve your goals and objectives.

Customer service can be a powerful tool for eCommerce retailers to boost their competitive advantages and overcome their challenges. You can provide high-quality customer service that meets or exceeds customer expectations and drives revenue generation.

Chapter 6

Taking The First Step

Choosing An eCommerce Customer Service Platform

So, has your company been following all of the tips and strategies listed throughout this eBook? There’s no judgment here, so let’s be honest. The answer is most likely a resounding “no”.

The good news is that very few brands are taking each of these precautions as seriously as they could. And what is the result? The brands that put a priority on customer service are some of the most well-respected and successful brands in today’s marketplace.

Are you ready to take the first step in finding a customer service platform that fits your needs?

Our Recommended Platform - Gorgias

Finding a platform that offers all of the functionality listed above would be a lot of work. Luckily, we’ve done the research. That’s why we recommend Gorgias.

Gorgias is the only platform that offers you the following features in one package.

  • Centralize all your support tickets in one place: Manage all your support tickets from email, live chat, phone, text, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in one unified inbox. You can also assign tickets to different agents, teams, or departments, and set up workflows and automation to streamline your support processes.

  • Have all your customers’ data displayed when you’re talking to them: See all your customer’s information and history in a sidebar next to each ticket. You can see their name, email, phone number, location, order details, subscription status, loyalty points, reviews, and more. You can also edit orders, modify subscriptions, and refund payments without leaving your helpdesk.
  • Increase conversion rates by turning visitors into shoppers: Proactively engage with your visitors before they hit your website by using chat campaigns. You can target them based on their location, device, behavior, or source (such as ads or social media posts), and offer them personalized incentives or assistance to encourage them to buy from you. You can also respond to customers who ask about your products on your ads and posts, increasing your sales and ad effectiveness.

  • Unlock sales from support via live chat, text, and social media: Track all sales generated by support agents over text messages, social media answers, and live chat conversations on your website.

    You can also upsell or cross-sell products to your customers based on their preferences or purchase history. You can also use Gorgias to send automated messages to your customers after they buy from you, such as thank-you notes, review requests, or reorder reminders.

  • Integrate with your entire stack: Connect with over 94 apps that you use every day for your ecommerce business. You can integrate with Shopify, BigCommerce, Klaviyo, Recharge, and more.

    Now you can access and update data from different sources without leaving your helpdesk. You can also use Gorgias to automate your work with macros (pre-written responses), rules (if-this-then-that scenarios), chat campaigns (targeted messages), and self-service options (FAQs or help centers).

  • Measure and improve your support performance: Monitor and analyze your support performance with live statistics. You can see how many tickets you receive and resolve each day, week, or month; how fast you respond and resolve each ticket; how satisfied your customers are with your service; how much revenue you generate from support; how much time and money you save with automation; and more.

    You can also use Gorgias to collect feedback from your customers with satisfaction surveys.

Gorgias is trusted by over 11,000 DTC brands that use it every day to provide exceptional customer service and grow their businesses.

If you want to see for yourself why Gorgias is the best platform for ecommerce customer service in 2023, we can help. Our team has the experience you are looking for to get onboarded with Gorgias as smoothly as possible. Use the link below to sign up for a free trial today.

Start Your Free Trial

Other Platform Options

Ultimately, you will need to find a customer service platform that fits your businesses specific needs. There are a multitude of other options available that can integrate with your eCommerce platform of choice. Listed below are 5 alternate platforms that you should consider before making a decision

Zendesk:
Zendesk is a cloud-based customer service software that enables you to provide omnichannel support, self-service options, customer analytics, and integrations with various ecommerce platforms such as Shopify, Magento, and BigCommerce. Zendesk also helps you create a branded help center, use chatbots and live chat, and automate workflows and responses.

Help Scout:
Help Scout is an all-in-one ecommerce customer service software that offers a shared inbox, live chat, Facebook Messenger, a knowledge base, and proactive support solutions. Help Scout also integrates with over 80 apps such as Shopify, Klaviyo, Recharge, and Yotpo. Help Scout helps you provide fast, personalized, and consistent support across channels and devices.

Avochato:
Avochato is a text messaging platform for teams that use live chat to communicate with customers. Avochato allows you to send and receive SMS messages from your customers, as well as engage them with chat campaigns and automated responses. Avochato also integrates with platforms such as Salesforce, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.

Re:amaze:
Re:amaze is a cloud-based customer service software that offers omnichannel support, self-service options, automation tools, and customer insights. Re:amaze also allows you to
create a chat widget, use chatbots and social media bots, and integrate with over 40 apps such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and BigCommerce.

Freshdesk:
Freshdesk is a cloud-based customer service software that offers omnichannel support, self-service options, automation tools, and customer insights. Freshdesk also allows you to
create a gamified support environment, use AI-powered chatbots and voicebots, and integrate with over 300 apps such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and Amazon.

Chapter 7

Conclusion

Our Final Thoughts on eCommerce Customer Service

In this eBook, we have discussed the importance of customer service for eCommerce retailers and how it can help them shift from being a cost center to a revenue generator. We have also explored various strategies and tools for improving and optimizing customer service in eCommerce, such as reframing customer service, implementing and optimizing AI chatbots and live customer support, and conducting SWOT analysis.

We have also provided real-world examples and statistics to illustrate the impact of customer service on customer loyalty and repeat business, as well as revenue generation. We have also provided tips and best practices for implementing and optimizing each strategy and tool presented in this eBook.

Customer service is not an optional or secondary aspect of eCommerce. It is a vital and integral part of your business that can make or break your success. By providing high-quality customer service that meets or exceeds customer expectations, you can not only retain your existing customers but also attract new ones through word-of-mouth marketing. You can also increase your sales conversion rates by providing customers with relevant information, recommendations, or incentives that can persuade them to make a purchase or take an action.

Customer service can also help you differentiate yourself from your competitors and create a loyal customer base that generates recurring revenue for your business. By investing in customer service training and technology, monitoring and measuring customer service performance, and aligning customer service with your business goals and objectives, you can create a customer-centric culture that delivers “wow” experiences to your customers.

We hope that this eBook has provided you with valuable insights and guidance on how to leverage customer service to drive revenue for your eCommerce business. We encourage you to implement the strategies and tools presented in this eBook and see the results for yourself.

Thank you for reading this eBook and we wish you all the best in your eCommerce journey. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact us at: https://www.groovecommerce.com.

eCommerce Customer Service

In this eBook, you will learn:

  • What "The Customer Is Always Right" really means
  • How to reframe customer service in your business
  • The right place and time for AI chatbots
  • How to offer live customer support
  • Why you should conduct a customer support SWOT analysis

Let's Grow Your eCommerce Business, Together.