Gaining customers is just the first step in the eCommerce game. Once you have found your audience and convinced them to buy, holding on to them requires more than simply getting the product delivered. Regardless of how good your planning and execution are, a percentage of orders will go wrong and a customer will contact you to rectify the problem.
How you handle these complaints and criticisms, whether well-founded or not, will determine how your customer service is rated and the likelihood of a customer returning. Below are the main considerations a business must take into account to successfully navigate the fraught world of customer-retailer relations, and emerge as a reputable business with a loyal customer base.
If you’ve made a mistake, own up to it. Nothing is more infuriating as a customer as being lied to and left out of pocket when you’ve done nothing wrong. Even if the customer isn’t entirely in the right or innocent, the goodwill generated by accepting the blame and offering to rectify the problem will make most customers more likely to return to your eCommerce website for another purchase. The last thing any business needs, especially if you are in the early stages, is bad publicity from a disgruntled customer when the problem can be easily fixed.
Be loyal to those loyal to you
There are frequently offers to entice new users to purchase from websites and stores, but what about your current customers? Loyalty programs, whether a simple punchcard, or something more complex, is a great way to maintain a relationship with a customer.
Another way to reward loyalty is to go above and beyond when helping a customer. Replacing out of warranty products or offering a discount rather than simply sticking to the letter of your policy will convince your customers of your credentials as a company in which they want to invest more of their time and money.
Social media gives businesses unlimited access to customers and vice versa. This is a great way to build a community and keep in touch with what your customers like and dislike about your business, as well as monitor your online reputation. A bad review can spread like wildfire, making it important to extinguish any negative publicity quickly and effectively through exceptional customer service.
The most important point is that customer service isn’t a one-time thing. A sportsman is only as good as their last match, the same is true in eCommerce. While your customer may fondly remember the time you gave them free shipping because you didn’t have the colour they wanted, if you’ve burned them since then that gesture won’t mean anything anymore. It’s a continual process of managing their expectations and giving them a boost when necessary.