We live in a time where more and more consumers are shopping around for the best prices and they expect exceptional customer service or they can easily take their business elsewhere. Add to this the fact that many consumers are shopping with their mobile devices at anytime, anywhere, and it means that ecommerce is at a critical crossroads.
Let’s look back for a second at shopping just a few decades ago. Traditionally, consumers would drive to a store to shop, purchase, and have personal interactions with employees in said store as well as at the registers. Many people got to know the owners of stores and would be loyal to people they knew best. In addition, unless you had a lot of time on your hands, driving from store to store wasn’t economical.
Today, all it takes is a few keystrokes to find hundreds of products and services. Comparing prices has never been easier. Shipping costs have never been lower. Online coupons, or product codes can reduce prices even further. Shopping alerts can tell consumers when items they have been looking for are on sale. And all of this can be done while riding the train to work or curled up in your jammies in bed at night on your smartphone.
So what might make a difference to a consumer now that online shopping is so easy? The answer is customer service!
Now that the rules of engagement have changed, customer service needs to step up its game as well. The first thing to realize is that consumers are on many channels and many different types of devices. Make sure that your website is responsive and is easy to navigate, no matter what type of device is in the hands of the buyer.
Secondly, realize that consumers will be interacting with your business in many ways. They may leave a message on social media with a question, they may need an online live chat for more immediate concerns, or they may still want that personal connection over the phone without having to jump through hoops before they get to an actual human.
Finally, realize that the hours of interaction are no longer the hours that your store is open. Shoppers can find your website at anytime of the night or day that is most convenient to them. That means you may want to have a way of connecting with your customers at varying hours or the day.
With that being said, businesses also need to be aware and responsive to online reviews such as Google Review, Yelp or other sites. Consumers who do not have a positive experience will be very quick to leave a scathing review or call out errors on social media sites. Be sure that you have a customer service rep who can quickly and patiently deal with these types of incidences so you can show that you want to do what is right and help the customer in the best way possible.