The challenge of attending customers online like you would in a physical store

02/02/2017 - Beatriz Rojo

It doesn’t matter what products or services your online store offers, how much you’ve worried about optimizing the user experience on your website, or how clear your shipping and return policies are, you’re always going to need customer service to solve the problems that arise.

We already know that but there are still thousands of articles coming out with new suggestions on improving customer service. Maybe you follow them, maybe not, but the point is that the majority of online shoppers are still unsatisfied with the treatment they receive.

The most used customer service channels in US are phone and email, two channels that don’t answer questions or solve a problem immediately. Consumers demand a quick solution and they don’t want to waste time calling or waiting for an email response. According to a study by Econsultancy, livechats are more successful than any other channel: 73% compared to 61% for email and 44% over the phone.

Providing your customer with this new customer service channel isn’t only an easy way to help them and keep them happy, it’s the best channel for personalized attention. Furthermore, it’s a major asset for a customer that values someone who can listen to them and offer help. This is personalized attention. A happy customer is the key factor in converting them into a regular shopper.

Basically, the challenge of customer service is to approach it like the stores we’ve visited our whole lives. The ones that remember your name, know your tastes, and don’t make you wait; they recommend new products they think might interest you.

The mistake we’ve been making until now is that online sales have been geared toward the self-service model. If we imagine a physical store without salesclerks, the idea seems a little ridiculous. We’ve all needed to inquire about an item we saw in the window or get an expert opinion when we’re deciding between two similar products. Customers demand that someone be there when they have questions or when they need a problem solved, and when this happens, they don’t want to wait.

Millennials: the most demanding customers

Online chats not only achieve a higher level of satisfaction than other channels, they’ve also become the preferred channel for millennials. 60% prefer using a chat over calling or sending an email because they get a much faster, more efficient response.

This generation is the biggest in the US, already exceeding 75.4 million people. Though small, figures like these shouldn’t be overlooked, especially when they are spending over 600 billion dollars each year.

All brands are trying to break into this sector. Considering that millennials spend an average of almost three hours on the internet per day, it’s more important for your e-commerce to give better customer service using a livechat than any other channel.

Evolution towards the visual

Having a chat available on your e-commerce means offering personalized customer service, in real time, of course. However, to be able to attend someone online the same way would you in a physical store, we need to break the visual barrier and communicate with more than text messages.

Making the online experience similar to that of a physical store increases conversion, the agent and the client must be able to communicate in real time and see the same thing in order to understand each other.

A simple example to grasp the importance of making customer service instant, visual, and personalized is to compare an online and an offline situation. When customers are hesitant about a product in a physical store, they show it to a salesclerk and both parties look it over together, talk about it, or look for a better option. At no time does the customer seek out the salesperson and merely describe the product that he’s interested in nor does the salesperson ask for the reference number so they can track down the product. They simply look at it together.

This is the option Oct8ne offers. Through a shared coviewer in the chat, both the customer and the agent can resolve problems while sharing images or videos onscreen of the products they’re discussing.

In addition to streamlining the conversation and eliminating unnecessary explanations, the coviewer allows both parties to interact with images of the products, zoom in or out, or mark something with the virtual stylus. These are very interesting aspects for both people to ensure that the product is appropriate for the customer or to anticipate a possible return.

The agent’s obligation is to do all of this while accompanying the customer at all times until the end of the purchase. This will also reduce cart abandonment and may increase income by having the customer service staff act as vendors using techniques like cross-selling and up-selling.

Your e-commerce must keep fighting for the best prices, capturing the best traffic and giving accurate logistics, but it’s clear that you can’t forget about investing in new technology to obtain the most important thing: customer loyalty.

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