Throughout 2020 and in 2021, both, eCommerce solutions and customer experience (CX) have gained momentum.
Here are some solid data points that show us:
- Skyrocketing rise in digital buyers: As per research, there will be 2.14 billion global digital buyers in 2021. Clearly, digital buying will become more and more mainstream.
- Social proof will be central to successful CX: Data claims that 81% of consumers trust the advice of friends and family over businesses. Hence, eCommerce businesses need to focus on gaining ‘social proof’ by staying on top of their social media channels and driving positive word-of-mouth publicity on social media.
- Low-quality CX: Around 58% of people will not do business with a company as a result of poor customer experience.
Needless to say, the biggest thorn for eCommerce businesses, particularly in the age of a global pandemic, is a poor customer experience–one that’s marred with slow response times, unproductive solutions, and most importantly, wastage of your customer’s invaluable time.
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Clearly, providing a seamless customer experience for eCommerce businesses will be a raging priority in 2021 and beyond.
That being said, let’s look at the top 6 trends that will dominate the eCommerce customer service domain so that you can move ahead in an informed capacity.
1. Omnichannel customer support will be a must:
The digitally savvy customer of today wants to reach out to your brand at their own convenience and via their preferred platform/channel. One brand that has mastered the art of omnichannel marketing is Nike:
The Nike app enables the customer to check, scan for product availability, and check out–without ever having to wait in line:
As you can imagine, the customer experience becomes seamless, consistent, and convenient:
That said, here are some tried-and-tested tips to provide an omnichannel customer support experience:
- Focus on driving a mobile-friendly customer support experience.
- Create a dedicated social media support team that can reduce the social media response time and redirect their focus on social listening.
- Empower customers to self-serve through a comprehensive knowledge base and a well-trained chatbot.
- Actively embrace SMS marketing and integrate live chat software on your website.
- Drive a hyper-personalized email marketing campaign to improve the customer service experience.
Brands need to focus on providing consistent and high-quality customer support across channels and platforms so that the customers can connect with them 24x7x365, that too, at the click of a button. When it comes to eCommerce support, omnichannel is the only way forward.
2. Video communication will be the frontrunner for effective CX:
If you think video marketing is a waste of time, think again. According to estimates, a staggering 84% of consumers claimed to have been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.
However, if you wish to take your CX to the next level, you need to integrate live video chat on your website, as Lululemon demonstrates below:
This allows customers to instantly connect with a CX agent and get their queries resolved immediately instead of waiting for an agent to get back to them. Moreover, video support mimics in-person customer experience and provides the same level of clarity, information, and guided experience as the physical customer support experience does.
Here’s another example of a brand that is offering video chat support and providing an enhanced customer experience:
Video chat is one of the best ways to offer instant face-to-face communication and drive an interactive sales and customer experience that is user-centric to the core. You do not miss out on the sales, and neither do you compromise on the service quality, thanks to the video chat technology.
3. Blockchain & eCommerce Customer Support will go Hand-in-Hand:
Cryptocurrency might be an unnavigable maze for the masses but paying with Bitcoin post an eCommerce sale might become a reality. In fact, blockchain technology, if used correctly, can enable a transparent payment system in the future.
For instance, eCommerce customer service teams might be able to leverage ‘Smart Contracts,’ which will allow machines to create contract terms and payments without any human involvement. This might make the recurring payment model obsolete.
These kinds of simple yet effective features can leave your CX agents to focus on delivering true value to the customer instead of tackling unproductive issues revolving around payment, order status, etc., which can easily be handled with tools and technology.
In essence, blockchain technology will be able to ‘take off’ some of the routine and monotonous workload and enable agents to provide a more productive and results-oriented customer experience.
Blockchain technology can eventually double up as a digital ledger of online transactions, conveniently recording the encrypted transactions on a database and building a decentralized buying and selling online platform–a win-win for all.
Take a look at how Newegg, a computer parts and accessories seller, accepts cryptocurrencies.
4. Laser focus on personalized customer service training:
Every agent has their own strengths, weaknesses, etc., that can be leveraged to provide personalized customer service training. Here’s a potential and personalized training workflow that you can follow:
Use a sentiment analysis tool to understand and analyze each representative’s strengths and weaknesses. You can also drive routine surveys to measure the team’s performance as well as gather individualized feedback.
Analyze the results and use real-time data to tailor the training/workshop according to each employee’s needs.
Build a personalized onboarding process and use a killer onboarding tool that’s unique to each agent’s experience, behavior, strengths, personality, expertise, etc.
This personalized approach can empower eCommerce businesses to offer more customized training. For example, tech-savvy employees can receive training that builds their soft communication skills, whereas other agents may need more training on understanding the products and their features.
5. Businesses will leverage the power of AI:
A part of purposeful and happy customer experience has to do with artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI is particularly useful for businesses looking to scale up their customer services, without compromising on quality.
By combining the power of AI, you can create an army of self-service tools (think: intelligent chatbots, recommender engines, etc.) that literally allow customers to take control of their issues/concerns and empower your team to do more strategic and creative work.
Take, for instance, Sephora’s chatbot that is well-programmed to ask the right questions and offer a tailor-made experience to the customer at every stage of their buying journey.
Additionally, you can leverage the potential of recommender engines to analyze your customer’s important data touch-points such as past purchase, shopping behavior, likes and dislikes, among other things, and provide an end-to-end personalized experience as Amazon does:
This will leave your agents with more time and energy to cater to the disgruntled customers while AI takes care of improving the user experience via real-time data and technology.
Contrary to popular opinion, AI can help agents by augmenting the latter’s skills as well as expertise instead of replacing the value that your human assets bring to the table (think: problem-solving skills, creative thinking, etc.). If you want to scale your business, investing in AI technology will be a smart move.
6. Proactive customer support:
At the end of the day, businesses that are able to exceed the user’s expectations (instead of merely fulfilling them) will be the ones that will succeed in the long run. It is the era of providing proactive customer support, not reactive customer support.
Luckily, there are numerous ways to do so–from leveraging the right tech tools to training your agents right and in alignment with the customer’s needs, the playing field is vast and diverse.
Customers want to connect with brands on an emotional level instead of a transactional level. This can only happen when the brand is truly a part of customer growth. Take a look at Prose – a haircare brand, shows how their formula works:
Hence, brands will need to go back to the drawing board and think of ways to forge a stronger relationship with the user base that stays, pandemic or not.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to the eCommerce customer service sector, there’s plenty riding on using the right combination of technology and strategy for brands to be able to stand a cut above the rest. From CRM tools to employee onboarding software, the canvas is big.
All in all, eCommerce brands will need to deep dive to understand their needs as well as their customers, look out for the emerging trends, and stay abreast of the changing dynamics to provide a stellar and unforgettable customer experience in a sea of sameness.