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Logistics & ops
/ 6 mins
Sep 22, 2023
If you have an e-commerce business, then your website, marketing, products, and customer support may be the most important interactions that a customer has with your brand.
Customers also can’t see the product before buying and may not trust your webstore as much as a bigger brand or an Amazon FBA seller, where customers know they have a lot of protection. When shopping online, customers can't receive that immediate face-to-face assistance and reassurance that they’d get in-store.
Good customer support and a positive image of your business across the internet are time-tested ways to grow brand loyalty and increase sales.
Some entrepreneurs believe that you shouldn’t outsource customer support, especially early on in your brand building. As a customer experience specialist, here is my advice on how to get the most out of it if you do.
Primarily, a robust customer support system serves as a powerful tool for gathering first-hand feedback on your products, services, shipping, marketing, and other operations
Whether customers interact through live chat, bots, or frequently asked questions (FAQs), delivering timely and relevant support can turn potential customers into loyal ones. If you handle customer service well, you could have around 20% of your orders come from returning buyers, reducing the constant needed to invest heavily in new customer acquisition.
Customer satisfaction ties in directly with reviews that your brand will get. We spoke with Leon Heuser, an expert in online reviews, about how brands are rewarded with better visibility and conversion rates on Facebook and Google Shopping via seller ratings.
“A lot of Shopify owners run Facebook or Google Shopping ads where their seller ratings are prominently displayed. These ratings partially reflect the overall customer experience you provide.
These ratings also directly influence your ad performance and the quality of customers that the platforms are likely to show your ads to. It’s a feedback loop where the best stores can attract even more customers through their ad spend.
Eventually, happy customers may also become brand advocates and, beyond reviews, support your business with word-of-mouth recommendations to their friends and family.
Good customer support can also aid in upselling, cross-selling, and reducing returns and negative reviews (more on reviews later) by guiding your e-commerce store’s visitors to make purchase decisions that are right for them.
Done correctly, you can achieve all of this even when outsourcing your customer support, with additional benefits:
Decreased workload. More time for you to focus on other areas of your business and, perhaps, your core competencies such as marketing, logistics, or other operations that are pivotal for growth. An external agency may also introduce additional automations for repetitive tasks like accessing customer data or mapping the buyer journey.
Expertise when dealing with difficult or unfamiliar customer requests.
Scale as your business grows without having to hire an in-house team.
Depending on your business, the following can be helpful alongside outsourced customer support:
1. Knowledge bases and FAQs that allow customers to self-serve outside of business hours. This is also a great way to improve your performance in Google’s organic search results.
2. Collect data to predict common issues that customers might face and address them in advance. For instance, if a certain product frequently gets queries about how to use it, creating a detailed FAQ or video tutorial can reduce customer support requests. Customers will let you know when things go wrong. It can be an emotional experience feeling like you’ve let your customers down, but gathering data can objectify feedback and help you decide where to make improvements.
3. Collect feedback, not just reviews.
“Ask for feedback on products and experiences internally first. Use this feedback to improve, if possible. Then, follow-up positive experiences that your customers have had — like after having a good interaction with customer support, or just having received the delivery — with a request for a review on an external platform,” Leon says.
Make sure to exclude email automations that ask for reviews after, for example, a customer support request asking about delivery status.
4. Artificial intelligence (AI) to instantly address specific customer queries. Nowadays, many customers expect quick resolutions and deliveries. Every minute of delay can decrease the likelihood that a customer will convert. (Also consider the shipping speeds available to your customers.) Integrating chatbots or automated response systems that can handle basic queries can make sure customers receive immediate assistance.
Before you get started with outsourcing, set up brand standards that define how you interact with your customers to ensure consistency.
Here are questions I would ask:
Do their core values align with yours? Customer service providers are long term partners you want to be able to trust and scale with.
Are they able to integrate seamlessly with your tech stack?
Do they provide expertise in customer experience that you might not have independently?
Do they have mechanisms in place to collect and analyze customer feedback?
Do they provide all of the support channels you want to offer? Whether it’s email, chat, WhatsApp, social media direct messages, or phone.
Will they be able to scale these services based on changing needs as your business grows? Do they have flexibility if you’ll need to scale down?
More than just language barriers, are they culturally aligned to your customers? Working in the same time zone?
What are their minimum and maximum response times?
Do they have a track record in e-commerce? Will they be able to offer insights and best practices in your vertical?
Do they integrate with your FAQs and other self-service options?
If you have a Shopify store, make sure the customer serivce provider has experience with other Shopify stores and that they have the apps and plugins to integrate with your Shopify admin, and not only with Amazon FBA. For example, Georgias has an app that pulls orders and customer data from your Shopify admin automatically.
Look for solutions that offer good value for money. There are several cost-effective options, such as the Gorgias helpdesk, starting at $10 USD per month for 50 tickets.
Consider a helpdesk: an all-in-one platform that collects all customer interactions, from emails and live chats to social media messages in one place. The best ones are essentially customer relationship management (CRM) platforms that map the entire customer journey.
If you have a Shopify store based in the United States, OpenStore can free up your time while you continue earning what you’re currently making.
Full-service e-commerce management for 12 months: from marketing campaigns to logistics, OpenStore Drive covers everything for a full year. Afterwards, you’re still in control of your brand and can take it from there, or continue with OpenStore Drive.
With experience managing nearly 50 Shopify stores, our team understands diverse market niches and can cater to specific needs. Your store will be managed by experts in marketing, fulfillment, logistics, design, branding, and customer experience.
Guaranteed payments based on your store’s current performance under your management.
Turn your Shopify business into passive income
Our experts will run your store for a year, while you receive guaranteed monthly payments. OpenStore analyzes your store’s performance to calculate your monthly payments.