5 Hacks To Improve Customer Service And Increase Sales

So you've probably heard a lot about how great customer service can transform your online store...

How if you retain the customers you've got, it will be a lot more profitable than trying to acquire new ones...

And you'd be right.

But what actionable tools can you do to improve your service? Take a look at these 5 customer service hacks to find out...

Hack #1: Set up support emails

Every online shopper is different, some like to visit social with their problems, some like to talk to you on the phone, and some prefer to email. Email is an ideal way of resolving shopper issues because it gives the customer the freedom to explain it in their own time, and it gives you the time to be able to look into their problem in depth.

So what does a good support email look like?

The first thing to do is acknowledge their email and reassure the customer that you are looking into their problem. Take this email chain below for example...

The first email was sent to H&M from an unhappy customer who did not receive a refund that she'd returned.


H&M then contacted the customer immediately to resolve the issue. The email was personalized, helpful and apologetic.


The customer then came back to H&M with the proof of shipping, and the advisor confirmed that she would be refunded the cost. The below email clearly explains when the customer can expect to receive her refund, and they also offer her a discount to use on future orders as a way of an apology.


By setting up support emails, you will be able to build a stronger relationship with each customer by resolving their problems, therefore turning a bad situation into one that benefits both you and the customer.

Our top tips for the perfect support email:

  • Keep it personalized, use the names in all correspondence.
  • If the customer is unhappy, take responsibility and apologize.
  • Reassure the customer that you are dealing with their problem as quickly as possible.
  • Give the customer exact times and dates as to when they can expect to hear from you.
  • Offer a freebie to make up for the mistake and to encourage them back in store.

Hack #2: Reduce the effort in making the sale

In the world of Ecommerce, the competition is fierce. Your visitors probably could name a handful of other places that offer the same product as you, so it's all the more important that you offer a flawless shopping experience and give them a reason to choose you.

Studies show that to be able to make a customer happy, you need to create an easy shopping experience from start to finish.

So how can you make life simple for your customers?

With cart abandonment averaging at around 67.91%, we believe that this should be a huge focus of your efforts. After you've let that shocking stat sink in, it's important to understand why they are abandoning their carts.

This infographic shows that some of the biggest reasons for cart abandonment rate include:

  • Unexpected shipping costs
  • No guest checkout
  • Insufficient shipping options

Understandably you want to encourage the sale by enticing customers in with a low price, but if they get all the way to the cart and find out that they have to pay a huge shipping and returns fee, then this is going to be a major turn off.

Related reading: A guide to ecommerce guest checkout best practice.

In this instance, we'd recommend highlighting the shipping fees next to your CTA button. So for example on Amazon, you'll always be able to see the shipping information listed before you get to the checkout.


Another great hack would be to include the shipping label next to the product incase they want to return it. This further builds up reassurance that they can send the product back if they don't want it, and that you've made it incredibly easy to do so.

A guest checkout - like this example from M&S below - is one of the most favored choices for shoppers. If you're making your visitors sign up for an account before they've even bought your product, then it's unlikely they'll want to buy as it's another obstacle that they have to overcome.


Alternatively, if you want to make it really easy for customers to create an account then give them the chance to do so via social media. This is something that Airbnb does very well. All it takes is one simple click for the customer to plugin to their social feed, and the account is automatically created.


Our top tips for a seamless checkout process:

  • Be clear on pricing before the customer reaches the checkout.
  • Include shipping labels for the customer to print out if they wish.
  • Limited the amount of details a customer has to enter to reach the checkout.
  • Include guest checkout and social sign up as viable options.

Hack #3: Implement live chat software

Why are your web visitors not converting? What are their biggest objections? Does your FAQ section answer issue they have?

As Bill Gates once said: “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning” and he was bang on the money.

If you don't know why your visitors are unhappy, then you'll never be able to make changes for improvement.

Live chat is an awesome tool to use because it gives you that insight to find out what's going wrong on your site, and where. It also gives the customer the opportunity to instantly get the help that they need, and this tends to be most applicable right before the purchase.

Take a look at this study and you'll see that people prefer to talk to you via live chat because:

  • Questions are answered instantly
  • The customer can multi-task
  • It's better information than email or phone
  • The customer is in control of the conversation
  • It can be used at work

Live chat really is a convenient tool to plug into your store and it can be used to encourage the sale. You can set it so that it pops up when a customer has spent too long on a product page, and ask them if they need help.

If you are there to help them answer questions right before they add a product to the cart, this could be the difference between making the sale and losing it to a competitor.

Related reading: How to sound like a human over live chat.

Or it could be that they're not sure how to access something like this example below. The customer couldn't work out how to make a booking and live chat offered an instant result to help that customer.


Our top tips for live chat:

  • Automate the chat so that it appears on product pages.
  • Keep it personalized and speak like a human.
  • Provide all the information that you can to help move the customer towards the sale.
  • Check out our app page for a Live Chat plugin to your store.

Hack #4: Create a dedicated social support team

Did you know that when companies engage and respond to customer service requests using social media, those customers end up spending up to 40% more with that company?

And 71% of those who experienced a positive social experience with a brand, are likely to recommend that brand to other people?

With pretty much every brand now establishing a presence on social, customers have started to use it as a way to get their questions answered. If you get many enquiries on social then we'd recommend setting up a dedicated support team that's separate from your main social page.

For example, In addition to the main Nike account, they have one that focuses sorely on resolving customer problems.

This is great for two reasons:

  • It's easier for you to keep customer complaints and social media marketing separate.
  • It keeps potential customers from reading negative comments on your main social page.


One of the biggest challenges with having a presence on social is that you don't have control over what people say about you, which could be damaging to your reputation.

The best action you can take is to respond to every comment, and if it's negative, work towards a resolution. For example, this customer made a complaint to Arby's via twitter. The support team got involved, took responsibility, addressed the problem, and even gave away a gift card.


This speedy response and excellent service helped resolve the issue, resulting in not losing the customer to a competitor.

Our top tips for awesome social support:

  • Set up a separate support page to focus on questions and complaints.
  • Be quick in your response.
  • Offer your email address to take the conversation off social media.
  • Do everything you can to turn the situation around.

Related reading: 4 examples of excellent twitter customer service.

Hack #5: Continue to nurture after the sale

We've already mentioned how it costs more to attract a new customer than retain a new one, but did you know that the official cost is actually five times more?

Once your customer has made their purchase, their journey with you shouldn't end there, it should have only just begun.

The steps you take after the sale are crucial for your business. With a little bit of nurturing you'll be able to get those customers to come back for more - and if you're lucky - turn your customers into raving fans of your store so that they do the selling for you.

One of the most popular examples of this is the one below from Jimyz automotive. It's a simple gesture that made a lasting impression on the customer, who decided to tell the world about it.


If you don't have the time to be sending out hand-written notes to every customer then email offers the perfect solution. When a customer purchases a product from you, send them a thank you email and offer money off their next order with you.

You could even follow up a few days later to see if they like the product and if they'd like to write a review for you, like this example email below.


So now you'll not only have gained a review on your site, but the customer is more inclined to come back and shop with you again because you've given them a reason to.

Another great tactic for nurturing your customers is to send them relevant content such as blog posts, videos, or eBooks, that would be useful for the product they've just bought, or to help up-sell them to a different product.

Related reading:

Our top tips for nurturing customers: Best practices for up selling and cross selling.

  • Send thank you emails to show your appreciation.
  • Offer promotions or discount off their next order.
  • Nurture customers with relevant content to up-sell or cross-sell

Takeaway

By plugging these 5 customer service hacks into your online store, you'll be well on your way to keeping your customers happy and improving your bottom line. The key to keeping customers on side is to make their lives easier, apologize if mistakes are made, and show them the human side to your brand.

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