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The customer service of an online shop is the contact point for customers who have questions about orders, products or returns. In addition, this generic term also includes services of an online retailer that go beyond the normal level.
Significance of Customer Service
Even if an online shop offers very good product quality and low prices, customer service is essential. Lost parcels, damaged goods due to transport or technical questions about a product occur even with the best suppliers. If the appropriate customer service is not available, customers react quickly and angrily. With new customers, it often doesn't even come to the first order, if they are not immediately helped with emerging questions. In addition, a lack of service also leads to the loss of regular customers, who, in contrast to the acquisition of new customers, could be retained with relatively simple and cost-effective measures.
Examples of poor customer service
Poor customer service can manifest itself in very different areas, for example:
- Long waiting times at the telephone hotline
- Payable consultation and order hotlines
- Poor traceability of contact data on the website
- Unprofessional handling of criticism in public places (e. g. in evaluation portals or in social media channels)
- Long processing times for e-mail enquiries and complaints
Measures for Improving Customer Service
Shop operators can take various measures to make shopping easier for customers, for example:
- Allocation of a separate customer advisor to each customer
- Direct access to the contact details
- Provision of various contact channels (e. g. telephone, e-mail, live chat, social media channels)
- Good Presentation of the customer service team including photos
- Fast shipment of goods within a few days or preferably on the day of the order
- Shipment of goods to a parcel station near by
- Offering FAQs, a lexicon or a knowledge database to help customers help themselves
- Live advice by phone or live chat
- High availability, if necessary cooperation with call centres outside normal business hours
- Extensive description of the products including pictures, videos, manufacturers and further information
- Free and transparent return shipment by means of included returns stickers
- Promise of a reply guarantee within e. g. six or twelve hours
Additional benefit of customer service
The business of an online shop is mainly based on sending goods for money. However, in order to maintain their position on the market, many online shops offer additional services designed to convince customers of the added value they have over their competitors.
Examples of this are:
- 24 hours/express delivery
- Free product samples for every order
- Free callback service
- Offer of several common payment methods
- Guaranteed dispatch on the day of order
- Bonus and refund programs
- Guaranteed response times for e-mails
However, it is important that the promised additional benefits can be met. Unfulfilled expectations raised by the customer's shop have a very negative effect on the image of an online shop and thus also the probability of future sales.