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eCommerce and the Customer Service Effect

July 2018

Greater demand is good news for any business, leading to an increase in revenue and proving the company has a successful product or service in its hands. With improved growth, the number of challenges that need overcome effectively can increase.

For many online retailers and eCommerce companies, a big consequence of increased demand can be greater stress placed on its customer service. In order to improve your perceived customer service in an eCommerce or online retailer, there are various strategies that can be employed.

The Impact of Growing Consumer Demand

eCommerce demand continues to grow rapidly, with global eCommerce sales increasing by 13% from 2016 to 2017. In the UK, eCommerce sales were worth around £530 billion, while the USA and China were the other main countries driving such growth and demand.

Of course, this increase in demand is good for the individual businesses and industries, but it can place more pressure on them too. Kings of the eCommerce market such as Amazon have undoubtedly set the standard of what consumers expect, which means even small, independent online retailers need to try and match them to satisfy consumer demand.

The same research into online shoppers in the UK found that two-thirds claim they would like to receive product deliveries just hours after ordering them. A wider and faster range of delivery options is being offered by Amazon, others are likely to follow suit to try and keep up. To meet this demand though, eCommerce companies may other areas slip, such as their customer service offering.

Improvements to Online Customer Service

There have been various innovations to improve online customer service for eCommerce sites, in an attempt to create a genuinely better service and perception of their businesses. Automated online chats are a prime example of this. Not only do they provide customers with answers to any queries they may have, but it saves time and money for the business as they don’t have to employ someone to answer the phone.

Live chats through social media are another popular solution. Fast responses here can greatly improve an eCommerce firm’s reputation, with many modern-day consumers regularly placing feedback on the company’s social media pages. Deliver excellent customer service online and you’re likely to be rewarded with positive comments and an enhanced perception from new and potential customers researching your business.

Importance of Choosing Suppliers

It’s not just your eCommerce business and consumers that are affected by growing demand, suppliers and others in the chain will be too. You may need to consider switching to a larger supplier to meet your needs or if your current one(s) are failing to produce or deliver at the speed required.

Think strategically when choosing suppliers to work with. The most effective ones will be those that can closely meet your business needs and adapt to accommodate any growth and change in orders in the future. It’s best to keep the number of suppliers you use to a minimum for ease of control. Using those that have been around for many years, with a reputation for reliability and quality are three of the most important aspects.

Ways to Reduce Customer Service Response Times

Increasing demand means unless you quickly hire new customer service employees your response times to requests will probably decline. This can result in a worse perception from consumers, customers and clients. There are a few strategies that can be used to reduce customer service response times:

  • Customer service software: This is vital for managing hundreds and thousands of customer service emails. Every interaction and conversation is stored, which makes it easier to review and identify any common trends that require attention.
  • Autoresponders: Avoid spending time and providing slow responses to emails that only require an acknowledgement that their request has been received with autoresponders. These can be designed to inform customers of when they can expect another response to set their expectations too.
  • Social media: Train whoever is in charge of your social media accounts to deal with customer service requests. This should reduce the amount of email and phone calls you receive and provide much faster responses.
  • Fulfilment services: Using full 360 fulfilment services can free up more time for your business to focus on improving customer service response times.  
  • Invest in chatbots: Many websites use chatbots now and they can be a cheap and effective way to deal with customer service issues, as many consumers will head directly to your website to make a complaint or request.

Growing consumer demand is having both a positive and negative impact on many eCommerce and online retailers. Make sure your business doesn’t lose focus of this and get started with Whistl for further delivery and fulfilment solutions. 

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