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Improve Your Ecommerce Customer Service in 2021

Ecommerce is one of the most challenging sectors to operate in but one company which consistently delivers ecommerce customer service well is Amazon.

Ecommerce

Amazon is the world’s most customer-centric organisation and has had a strong focus on customer satisfaction from day one. In 2019, Amazon won a hat-trick of customer satisfaction awards including the GlobalData Best Retailer award.

Following Amazon’s lead, customer service should be at the heart of your ecommerce business strategy.

Key Elements of a Great Customer Experience in 2021

What does excellent customer service mean in 2020? It means being able to respond to customer queries efficiently and effectively using email, Live Chat and social media.

Rising Customer Expectations

Customer expectations for customer service continue to grow. We live in an age of convenience where we want it all and we want it instantly!

According to a recent survey by HubSpot, 90% of customers rate an immediate response as “important” or “very important”.

Customer service and the customer experience have become key differentiators for brands and ecommerce businesses.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some strategies to boost your ecommerce customer service for new and existing businesses.

1. Develop a Multichannel Strategy

A study by the Aberdeen Group found that companies with a well-defined omnichannel customer experience have a customer retention rate of 91%.

Developing a multichannel strategy means you need to know where your customers are, whether that’s Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Live Chat, and be there.

When you establish your channels for contact, let your customers know that you can help them through these channels. You should aim to provide a consistently high level of customer service across all your channel channels.

Your goal as an ecommerce business is to take customer service to your customers and make them happy.

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2. Ensure Customers Don’t Have to Repeat Themselves

According to HubSpot Research, 66% of us rate the most frustrating aspect of getting customer service help as waiting on hold or repeating information to different representatives.

It’s probably happened to us all at one time or another and it can be very frustrating and a waste of time for both parties.

Making sure customers don’t have to repeat themselves or wait days for a response is an important aspect of a good customer service experience.

3. Track Your Customer Satisfaction Score

If you want to improve something, you need to measure it.

Measuring customer satisfaction will help you see if the interaction with the customer was a successful one or not.

There are many different methods, each with pros and cons, but the most popular due to its simplicity is the Customer Satisfaction Score or CSAT for short.

Customer satisfaction surveys commonly use the CSAT to measure the consumers’ satisfaction with the product or service. They often include the question “How satisfied were you with your experience today?” and offer a scale of 1-10 or 1-5.

Getting customer feedback can give you invaluable insight into what is working or not.

4. Implement Live Chat

Live Chat helps to increase sales with studies suggesting that having Live Chat on your site can drive 3-5 times more conversions.

The instant messaging software allows customers (in most cases) to get an answer right away rather than wait for 24 hours or more for someone to respond to an email. Quicker response times help to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

It’s very convenient and less costly than phone support as customer service representatives can have multiple chats going simultaneously.

5. Use Help Desk Software

Having the right software can be just as or more important than having the right team or processes.

Customer service tools like eDesk when used correctly can be crucial in terms of retaining customers and keeping them satisfied.

Help desk software helps customer service representatives manage customer enquiries better and respond to them faster.

It can integrate with social media platforms and contact forms on your website, so everything is stored in one central location.

6. Leverage Social Media

Customer service through social media is growing in popularity. When customers can’t connect to you via phone or Live Chat, they will often turn to social media.

And you need to be responsive… 42% of people who get in touch with companies through social media expect a response within 60 minutes!

Social media can be a place for customers to vent their anger and have a moan. However, it can also be a positive medium where brand advocates can sing your praises when you do something well or go above and beyond.

Engaging with customers through social media allows you to communicate directly, build relationships and brand loyalty.

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7. Make Key Information Available Online

If you’re thinking of making a purchase online, one of the most frustrating things is being unable to find the information you want online.

To avoid this scenario, ensure your ecommerce website has an FAQ section and a knowledge base containing all the relevant information that the consumer requires. For example, information on exchange and returns should be easy to find.

Having a knowledge base will not only help to cut down on customer support requests but they are also good for SEO so win-win.

8. Employ Seasonal Staff

Q4 is the busiest time of the year for the majority of ecommerce sellers.

More sales equals more returns and more customer support. We’ve already stressed the importance of taking proactive measures to reduce customer support such as an online knowledge base and FAQ section.

Longer response times can equate to lost sales and potentially lost customers so consider employing extra staff to cope with the increased workload and maintain your high levels of customer satisfaction.

You can find reliable, pre-vetted eCommerce customer service support staff among other ecommerce specific talent at FreeeUp.

Final Thoughts

To grow your ecommerce business, you need to retain current customers and attract new ones by consistently delivering an excellent customer experience. Sam Walton once said, “The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best, but legendary”.

We hope that this post has given you some ideas that you can implement in your business to improve your ecommerce customer service.

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7 Best FBA Prep Services for Amazon Sellers in 2020

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) can simplify your life a great deal with Amazon taking the reins on many steps in the fulfillment process. But just because you’re handing off most of the work to them, you’re not totally free of tasks.

FBA

The next time you’re prepping your inventory for FBA, think about using one of the best FBA prep services for Amazon sellers hand-picked to make life easier for yourself.

1. Shapiro

Shapiro’s slogan is simple and straight to the point: “We Deliver. Problem Solved.” And they do so by asking as little of you as possible, with detailed information on their site and a customer service team ready to walk you through any questions you might have.

Amazon can get quite technical in their requirements sometimes, so Shapiro has Amazon links on their page that tell you what you need to know before getting started — even before getting a quote for their services. And if you need help with currency exchange or VAT issues, they can advise you on that, too.

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2. McKenzie Services

Locally and family-owned, McKenzie Services was started by Jim McKenzie Smith in 2004 and has since grown to include 16 employees and 21,265 square feet of storage space. But with all the growth, they’ve kept things really simple for users. All you have to do is create an account, ship your items to them with unique address identifiers, wait for the UPS/FBA labels to be sent to your Seller Central account, and let them handle the rest.

Prices are reasonable and include a list of services to help you out with just about everything you can think of.

3. eFulfillment Service

Another family-owned company, eFulfillment Service was by John Lindberg in 2001 and has been kept in the family since then. They pride themselves on flexibility, friendliness and top-notch quality, as well as keeping abreast on technological advancements by retaining an in-house IT team.

If you need further proof that this company has its act together, it’s recognized by organizations like the Better Business Bureau (A+ rating), Inc. 5000 list (last two out of three years) and Multichannel Merchant (Top 3PL Provider).

4. FBA Inspection

If you’re googling FBA prep services on your own, some of them might only take care with the exterior of the product. But FBA Inspection offers services for both. Their General Processing & Handling service takes care of the packaging exterior, while their Detailed Product Inspection goes in deeper by opening the package to actually inspect the contents and/or verifying the contents inside.

They’re also really upfront about what’s included in their prep service, with things like import tax management, 24-hour video surveillance, theft/fire/flood insurance, volume discounts, professional photography and more part of what they do.

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5. FBA Express

When speed is one of your top priorities, check out FBA Express for one of the fastest operating times. Their services are set so that you get only what you need, nothing extra or superfluous, so you can save both time and money.

You can sign up for the monthly FBA plan at $375/month (with individual fees for various services, like bubble wrap, package inspection, sticker removal, etc.) or opt for the Pay As You Go plan at $99/biannually (with individual fees for prep service, additional boxes and kitting). Or, if you’re a high-volume seller, check out their FBA Express plan.

6. Minatus

For UK-based sellers, Minatus is the FBA prep service you’ll want to be bookmarking. They’ll take care you of every step of the way, starting with inspecting your packages when they arrive (to protect you from potential Amazon penalties) to bagging, wrapping, labelling, kitting and sending your items off to the FBA centre.

Their prices are listed right on their website so you can get a decent idea of what to budget for. But they’ll also give you a quote based on your complete profile so there are no surprises, and have customer support available by phone and email if you have more questions.

7. FBA Ops

China is rapidly becoming the world leader in all things commerce, and FBA Ops is a shining example of that. They have an array of services to help you get your products from your place to Amazon, including sourcing, procuring and inspection.

Plus, as a neat gesture of faith during the pandemic, they’re waiving their fees on all COVID-19 products like surgical masks, medical gloves, PPE and more.

Final Thoughts

Although they cost money, using a top-quality FBA prep service can help you save money in the long run by ensuring your products get sent to an Amazon fulfillment centre in requirement-ready condition (instead of facing Amazon penalties and having to start the process over again). And you know what else can help you earn more money?

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6 Tips for Retailers Battling the ‘Amazon Effect’

The “Amazon effect” refers to the ongoing disruption in retail and rising consumer expectations driven by e-commerce. Some of the most significant changes that Amazon.com has had on consumer expectations are related to one-click ordering, free shipping, faster delivery, and extraordinary customer service. The online retail giant has also driven physical retailers to make in-store shopping a more compelling experience for consumers. If a retailer can’t meet these standards, both online and offline, it’s harder for it to convert consumers into customers.

RetailersHowever, Amazon’s continued growth doesn’t mean other brands don’t stand a chance of succeeding against the retail giant. Here are six tips for winning in the age of Amazon:

1. Be digitally smart.

Consumers expect to find retailers online and to have a good experience shopping their websites, whether they’re using their phone or computer. Slow page load times and frustrating user experiences can be costly as shoppers simply click away to a competitor’s site. Retailers should make sure their site pages load quickly, are user friendly, and are mobile responsive. Clearly displayed products, enticing product descriptions, and easy-to-navigate customer service are key details that shouldn’t be overlooked.

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2. Focus on the store and staff.

As the saying goes, “don’t judge a book by its cover” — yet everyone does. A storefront is no different. Retail locations should be clean, welcoming and inviting, making shoppers want to explore and discover things they’d like to buy. Popular products should be placed in strategic locations to encourage visitors to venture further inside. Digital technology, such as virtual fitting rooms, digital price tags, automated checkout, and more can also help reinvent the in-store experience while increasing convenience for shoppers.

While appearance, product placement and in-store technology can go a long way, retailers shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that their employees are the most important creators of the in-store experience. Investing in knowledgeable and friendly sales staff is key. Sales associates with a deep understanding of customer needs and the products they sell create a more personalized experience that entice shoppers to buy.

3. Bridge the generation gap.

The shopping habits and expectations of baby boomers, millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z shoppers vary greatly. Some generations may prefer the convenience of online shopping, while others favor brick-and-mortar stores. To build lasting relationships, retailers must adapt their brand experience in a way that accommodates their customers unique purchasing preferences.

4. Be social.

It’s no secret that social media has shifted the power from brands to consumers, giving shoppers the freedom to voice their opinions about a product or company in a very public way. Even when shopping in-store, consumers can browse various social platforms to see what other people think about a product or brand. Maintaining an active presence on social media enables retailers to engage consumers in authentic, two-way dialog while getting a better understanding of their needs, preferences and passions in the process.

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5. Post and promote reviews.

Retailers should never underestimate the power of reviews. Today’s shoppers depend on online reviews the way their parents depended on a friend’s recommendation. Ask for and incentivize customers to leave online reviews post-purchase. By posting honest reviews, not just positive ones, retailers can win the trust of potential customers, allowing them to come to their own conclusions.

6. Measure and optimize marketing.

Retailers can no longer assume the customer journey started where the transaction took place. Consumers may navigate across multiple channels and touchpoints — both digital and physical — just to make a single purchase. Retailers need a holistic view of the customer journey so they can understand and optimize the interactions that led to a sale. By embracing sophisticated measurement approaches, such as multitouch attribution, retailers can ensure credit is accurately assigned to all the marketing touchpoints that influenced a digital or offline sale. Retailers can then use these insights to allocate spend to the best-performing channels and tactics, and better optimize the omnichannel customer experience.

Amazon remains a looming threat for many retailers, but the situation isn’t all gloom and doom. With the right know-how and tools, retailers can keep their doors open, and shoppers coming back for more.