8 Ecommerce Customer Service Must Have's

Did you know that 89% of consumers have stopped shopping at an online store because they received poor customer service? That's a big loss to your store over something that could be so easily avoided...

We believe that great customer service should be at the forefront of everything you do, so you can start to build long lasting relationships with your customers. And since it's beneficial to your bottom line that you focus your efforts on retaining customers, it might be time to check out your current process.

Check out these 8 tips on how you can deliver exceptional customer service to help grow your online store...

1. Be quick to respond

An incredible 83% of online shoppers need support when purchasing an item. This means that the bigger your store gets, the more inquiries you'll receive. It's important to make sure that you don't lose a customer to a competitor because you forgot to reply to their email, or you didn't have time to deal with their problem...

Put in place a procedure that ensures you and your team will respond to any inquiry within 24 hours. If you have a big team then assign different inquiries to different people in order to perform a quicker turnaround. As we mentioned in our blog last week, there are plenty of help desk tools that can help you automate the process, if a customer has a FAQ that can be dealt with right away.

Check out tools such as HelpScout, Zendesk and HappyFox for a smoother communication process.

2. Offer a good returns and exchange policy

Building buyer trust is a hard thing to do, so you need to make sure you do everything you can to reassure customers, and one way to do that is by providing a clear returns and exchange policy. Not only should your policy be clearly in view whenever a customer is making a purchase, but it needs to be good enough for your customers to know that you will do everything you can to ensure they are happy with your product.

The duration that stores will offer a refund or exchange does differ, but it tends to be around 28 days – giving the customer enough time to decide whether they are happy with your product. If a customer does want a refund then make every effort to find out why they are returning the product, so that you can offer an alternative or improve your process in the future.

It will also benefit your store if you provide free returns, as postage fees can be off-putting for customers to even buy from you in the first place. By offering free returns you are providing customers with a 'nothing to lose' option, and building up trust in the process.

3. Have excellent product knowledge

It's hardly surprising that people would rather buy from somebody who knows what they are talking about, than a novice. Again it's all about building up trust, so you need to ensure that you and your team have an excellent grasp of every single product that you sell. If you use a drop shipper and you don't actually stock inventory in your business then this may be harder to do, but not impossible.

Make sure you are constantly researching the products you sell, and over time collect the most common questions that your customers ask, so you can provide helpful answers within each product description. A great idea is to feature product reviews on your blog so that you can provide your customers with useful information.

Not only will this help market your online store, but it will set your brand apart as an industry leader rather than a follower.

4. Install live chat software

As you've probably seen from our website, we'd really recommend implementing a 'live chat' tool to your online store. With 31% of customers expecting immediate help if they ask you for support, live chat is the perfect solution to enable you to do just that. It can really help cut down on the amount of calls or emails you will receive too, as you can have a dedicated customer support team on hand to answer customer inquiries via chat.

The great thing about a tool like this is that it's instant, so not only are you being responsive, but your customer can get the answer they need with lightning speed and be pushed towards a purchase. Live chat is not just about your customers coming to you either. You can set the tool up so that it automatically sends the customer a message to see if they need help, therefore you are targeting the traffic on your site by approaching them first.

If you are looking for a great tool that will seamlessly integrate with your online store then we would really recommend LiveChat as it provides real-time website monitoring, support tools and can help you improve your bottom line.

5. Provide phone support

Let's face it, some customers are old school and they would really prefer to speak to you over the phone than via email. By offering telephone support in addition to email and live chat, you are covering all bases and proving once again that you can be trusted. If you can, feature a free phone number so that you are not making it difficult for the customer to contact you. Or, give them an option to leave their telephone number so that you can call them back.

Once a customer does call, make sure you or your customer service team are fully trained to deal with their enquiries appropriately. They may be looking for that expert product knowledge as mentioned above, so it's important to ensure that you have this readily available. And if it's out-of-office hours which can happen, make sure the customer can leave a message and give them other options which may help them.

6. Let customers track their orders

Giving customers the ability to track their orders can really help improve the customer experience. Most shipping companies will now offer this as standard, so the customer can log in using a unique tracking number and find out where their parcel is. With the right ecommerce shipping features, you could manage this for your customers and email or text updates with the time and date of their delivery.

If you are using a drop shipper then make sure that communication is streamlined between you and the shipper so that you can keep your customer informed as to when they can receive the delivery.

7. Manage your leads effectively

Although it's important to provide exceptional service to your current customers, you also need to ensure that your service is just as good for potential customers too. The good news is that there are platforms available that can help you manage leads so that it automates responses and helps customers when you are too busy to do so. Take a look at Speak2Leads for a handy web-based lead response management app that will respond, follow-up and handle sales overflow.

Another good tool for this is called WuFu. It's a really easy to use drag and drop form builder that enables customers to submit request forms to you, so you can deal with their enquiry quickly and efficiently.

8. Provide after sales support

Once the purchase has been made the work is not over! Your next step is to provide exceptional service after the sale, so they will come back for more. CRM platforms can help with this as you can integrate them with your database and track the history of each customer, so you can provide a personalized experience.

A CRM platform is the perfect tool to use after the sale as you'll be able to find out which products each customer likes, and you can then target them with the appropriate promotions and offers, in order to encourage further sales. It will also help if they ever call you, as you will have everything you need to know right at your fingertips.


The truth is, providing great customer service doesn't cost a lot, and it can really help set you apart as an industry leader. With 55% of consumers stating that they would pay more for a better customer experience, it would be foolish not to make this an integral part of your value proposition.

Was this article helpful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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December 21, 2014 9:08 AM
All valid points. Solid advice. I read a lot of lists on business blogs that are just dumb, but this seems solid.
Josh R.
December 22, 2014 6:01 PM
Good stuff as usual. I especially appreciate the tips on the lead management tools. I use a CRM system for an off line business but haven't yet tried it here. I have to figure out the direct interface to make it worthwhile, but it should be doable. Of course the ideal would be to then complete the program with an automated marketing system-- Marketo, etc
Sudeep Datta
August 20, 2015 6:42 AM
How much percentage of total revenue/expenditure does customer service cost an eCommerce company? Any rough idea

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