It has long been said that customer service is crucial to a business's long-term success, particularly in terms of ensuring satisfaction and optimising consumer retention over time.
This is borne out by the numbers too. According to McKinsey, 70% of the buying experience is based on how the customer feels they're being treated by a particular brand, which suggests that perception is just as important as actions when managing these relationships.
This is particularly important for ecommerce brands, which often rely on the quality of customer support and order fulfilment that they're able to provide over time. But how exactly can you improve the quality of service on your own Shopify store? Let's get into it.
#1. Focus on Your User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)
If we accept that your customers' experience is a key driver of their purchasing decisions, your primary focus should always be on optimising your Shopify site's UI and creating the best possible user experience for customers.
If you walk into a brick-and-mortar retail outlet, for example, you may be immediately greeted by a smiling staff member. It's therefore crucial that your UI replicates this online, ideally through the use of high quality images, an active and inviting tone of voice and the creative use of brand-appropriate colours.
You'll also need to focus on the seemingly small and insignificant aspects of your UI, including your choice of font.
Typically, the Open Sans font is considered to be one of the best when designing an ecommerce website, thanks to its highly readable and minimalist nature. This is also an open source humanist typeface that is proven to build trust and rapport among customers, while it's freely accessible through the Shopify platform.
As you can see, choosing a font represents a deceptively complex decision-making process, and one that shouldn't be based solely on style or aesthetics. The same rule applies to all UI design elements, which must prioritise functionality if they're to optimise the customer journey and create a fulfilling user experience.
This is why design elements like parallax scrolling (which enables components in the foreground to scroll more quickly than those in the background) aren't always to be recommended, as while they may improve the visual experience they're often unnecessarily and implemented ineffectively.
Instead, focus on the core layout of your Shopify site and utilising elements that streamline the overall customer experience.
This may mean stripping out unnecessary elements and optimising factors such as page loading times, so that customers can easily navigate your site and complete their purchase in as few clicks as possible.
#2. Consider Outsourcing Your Ecommerce Customer Support
Improving your site's UI and UX represent proactive ways of enhancing your customer support, by making it easier for shoppers to access, browse and ultimately purchase your products.
However, you'll also need a reactive customer support function, which can process questions, complaints and requests quickly and professionally while providing viable resolutions for all parties involved.
The challenge here is that effective customer support requires expertise and focus, and depending on the scale of your business and the volume of queries that it handles, there may be a case for outsourcing this to a qualified partner.
More specifically, we'd recommend working with an ecommerce specialised customer service operator such as Salesupply. This way, you ensure support across a broad range of channels including phone, email, live chat and social media.
With Salesupply, you'll also retain control in terms of agent training and the type of support provided. For example, you can request dedicated or shared agents depending on your call volume, while having as much input as you like into the training and development of representatives.
Interestingly, this type of outsourcing also enables you to expand your customer support in line with demand. For example, you can outsource to create additional support during the evenings and at weekends or even during peak season. This way, you can handle a larger number of queries without having to (temporarily) expand your customer service staff.
#3. Add a 'Frequently Asked Questions' Page
Often, ecommerce and Shopify ventures look to reduce the demands and pressure placed on their customer service agents (particularly during times of commercial growth).
This is a particularly effective way of improving the level of customer support, as agents aren't overwhelmed and able to optimise the level of service that they provide to each individual customer.
The best way to achieve this is to build proactive resources into your website, which enable customers to actively search for information and the solutions to potentially simple and common issues.
For example, it's crucial that your Shopify website features a detailed and comprehensive 'Frequently Asked Questions' (or FAQs) page. This should include concise answers and responses to a broad range of queries, pertaining to everything from your products and delivery time-frames to the narrative behind your brand.
In this respect, an FAQ page is equivalent to a corporeal sales or customer service representative on your site, and one with the potential to reassure consumers and provide them with peace-of-mind before they spend their hard-earned money.
Your FAQ page should also include potential objections to your products, which query precisely why customers should choose your brand and ask questions about discounts or returns' policies.
Not only does this provide more detailed information and a far greater level of transparency, but it also provides an opportunity to reiterate any generous or unique guarantee policies (or similar initiatives) and really drive home your website's core selling points.