Retail has come a long way in the last few years. With more people doing their shopping online (and numbers expected to keep growing), having the right tools in place can be the difference between success and failure.
Thankfully, when it comes to picking an eCommerce platform, there is something for everyone. From large enterprises to small mom-n-pop shops, finding a good fit is a mix of research and knowing what you want.
But after you’ve picked a platform and are ready to ramp up, one thing becomes abundantly clear: you can’t have eCommerce without eCommerce customer support.
Why do you need to build a great eCommerce Customer Support tech stack?
Online retailers that offer great support have a significantly larger advantage than ones offering good or even OK support. Customer service is so important that customers will leave a company for its competitor after a bad experience.
Businesses stand to gain so much by prioritizing their customer service that it should be at the top of the list. However, unlike support at a brick-and-mortar retail store, eCommerce support involves lots of variables that increase the challenge of delivering great service.
1. Global Reach
Because eCommerce happens online, transactions can happen at any time and any place in the world. Nevertheless, a customer in New Zealand will still want the same level of service as a customer in New York, regardless of the time difference. Being ready to support your customers on a global scale is key to growth.
It’s hard to trust what you can’t see. Studies have shown that people are more trusting when dealing with others face-to-face. Unfortunately for online retailers, that’s not really an option. Overcoming the inherent lack of trust that is created when there is a screen between the buyer and the product can be discouraging for many. But with a solid team and great tools for support, adding a human touch is possible.
3. Technical Issues
When it comes to tech, things seem to break more often than we’d like. When customers are caught in a net of bad experiences that are frustrating to them, they can be turned off to your service or product forever. Having a team trained and ready to handle issues that arise will increase customer loyalty and save your business from a permanent ‘thumbs down.’
Thankfully, great eCommerce customer service can help mitigate, and even eliminate these problems. However, in order to tackle these obstacles, your team needs to be empowered with great tools that make them more effective at their work.
What to Look for in an eCommerce Tech Stack
The knowledge that directs the decision making in a customer support team can be the difference between good results and a disaster. In order to make smart choices that benefit your team, you’ll need two things: data and analytics.
Tools that help you understand how your team is performing is vital for those in the eCommerce industry.
Data and analytics give your team visibility into what works and what doesn’t in your day-to-day processes. This will help you make an educated judgment about what to keep and what to ditch, saving you time and money.
Unless you’re planning on staying the same size forever and never experiencing any growth, you’re going to need to plan ahead. This is especially true for eCommerce support teams that tend to have very busy periods (like the holidays). They need an all-hands-on-deck approach, followed by some downtime, which usually requires a reduction in staff or resources.
Your tools must be able to support the kind of expansion and compression you need to comfortably fit your business. Lack of scalability will leave you high and dry, scrambling for quick fixes when things get tough.
Similar to scale, the ability to automate some of your support agent’s tasks is important to growth. Manual work is not only repetitive and prone to error, but it wastes valuable time that reps could spend doing more important things – like actually helping customers.
Having service software that can reduce unneeded manual work like copying and pasting information, or organizing support requests, can save you much needed time over the course of weeks and months.
Some businesses opt for a full-service eCommerce platform with all the bells and whistles. But if one service is decommissioned or doesn’t work well, then service agents will either have to put up with it or live without.
A popular option businesses use is to purchase independent tools based on their functionality and the team’s needs at the current time. Having an a la carte menu of software to choose from can help teams create a more personalized eCommerce customer service stack that speaks directly to their needs. Even better, independently built software tends to be stronger because each company has a sole focus on creating and improving that one product, rather than a suite.
But no matter how great your tools may be, you will be in for a world of suffering if they don’t integrate with each other. Without an integrated stack, you just have an expensive array of software that is not going to make your life easier.
In fact, it could make it actively worse.
Make sure that the customer service software you do purchase has the ability to integrate into a marketplace of other tools, giving your team the freedom to create what works best for them.
5 Key Tools in an eCommerce Tech Stack for Customer Support
When you’ve vetted different options for their integrations, ability to scale and automate, and visibility, you’re ready to start putting your customer support stack together.
Although you can add on as many types of software as you want, there are 5 key elements that all eCommerce customer support stacks need:
Our recent Aircall study showed that 67 percent of online shoppers said they prefer to buy from a brand that creates self-help resources for their customers. With numbers like that, it’s clear that consumers are partial to businesses that help them help themselves.
The first step to getting there is creating a knowledge base or FAQ. A knowledge base can be a lifesaver for teams, significantly cutting down the time spent on customer support. Frequently asked questions that pop up are easy to answer can be handled efficiently, without slowing down your team.
Tools we suggest: While there are many ways to implement a knowledge base, having a tool like HelpScout can help your team thrive. Their software lets you quickly create and customize self-help articles for your customers, drastically reducing the time your team spends on support channels.
Universal Inbox/Automatic Ticketing Software
If customers can reach you in more than one way (and they should have that option), then streamlining incoming tickets in support is a must. Keeping track of customer emails, voicemails, chats, and direct messages on social media can quickly become a daunting task – especially during busy seasons. Spreadsheets and sticky notes with logins for various accounts just don’t cut it as teams scale to meet customer demands.
Without preparation, customer satisfaction will drop and revenue is sure to follow.
It’s essential to have these customer queries tagged, organized, and sent to your team through a universal inbox. This makes it easy to keep track of what’s happening and make sure that no customer concern goes unanswered.
Tools we suggest: Thankfully, there are a lot of good options that can manage an omnichannel experience while fitting various price ranges. Gorgias, Kustomer, and Re:amaze are all support helpdesks catered towards small and medium-sized teams. No matter how your customer reaches out, you will be able to address their concerns promptly and deliver outstanding service.
Chat software arose from obscurity just a few years ago to become one of the most reliable ways customers try to resolve an issue. It has become so popular it’s beating out email. Customers we surveyed were just as likely to use chat as they were to make phone calls in order to speak to a customer service agent
With chat being a critical part of customer interactions, you want to make sure you’re prepared to handle it. One bad conversation can mean a lost customer, but multiple bad interactions will result in a noticeable dip in revenue.
Tools we suggest: Intercom offers chat capabilities that are easy to scale for growing teams who may need to add and remove ‘seats.’ LiveChat is catered to smaller retailers but offers a well-rounded solution that incorporates add-ons like surveys and the ability to measure net promoter scores (NPS).
Managing customer relationships is the glue that holds your teams together. While sales teams rely on good CRMs to keep track of leads, support teams also reap the benefits. Having an easy transfer from sales to support – prospect to customer – makes it much more likely that the customer will stay.
That much-needed background information often lost during and after the tradeoff is vital to understanding your customers and their needs.
Tools we suggest: A good CRM can help you get potential customers and keep them happy. FLG, SugarCRM, and noCRM are great tools for teams looking to grow. Hubspot, while much larger, offers a great option for a centralized CRM that can handle a lot of demands without much effort.
The phone system you select is crucial to your eCommerce support efforts. In our study on eCommerce customer support, 31 percent of people resort to trying the phone channel first when it comes to solving a general issue. However, that number skyrockets to 70 percent when it comes to urgent support issues.
Tools we suggest: The last thing you want to do is leave your customers hanging during a crisis. So it’s vital that your phone support can deliver. A VoIP phone system like Aircall is a great resource for businesses that integrates with a variety of other eCommerce customer service software.
Even with all the tech out there, getting your eCommerce support stack ready doesn’t have to be a challenge. Once you know what to look for, the rest is up to you. Find what makes your team happy and effective, and you’ll be well on your way to delivering great customer support.