Best practices to improve the online customer service experience

avril 1, 2009 à 4:37 | Publié dans conversion, Web strategy | Laisser un commentaire
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Customers want immediacy and they want to see that businesses are taking care of them.

This simple constatation should lead to a reflexion about how we improve the online customer service experience.

Recently I bought a digital reflex camera on a big french shopping site.

From me moment I clicked « purchase » and the moment the product was delivered at my home, I received four emails:

  • your order has been recorded
  • your order has been validated
  • your order has been prepared
  • your order has been shipped

And, in these times of spam, of 50 important emails a day, hundreds of tweets per hour… I must say I was happy to receive these emails.

Perhaps, I particularly liked these emails because it was a significant purchase (and I needed to make sure it was not going to get lost), but in all case, the customer is happy to receive emails in that particular situation.

It doesn’t only regard physical goods. If you are sending an e-card for Valentines day, wouldn’t you want to receive a communication that says: « your card left our servers », and then « your card has been opened by the person you sent it to »…

It doesn’t only regard « purchase ». Wouldn’t you apreciate a customer service sending you a first email « your question was received, we will answer you in the next 10 hours » and slightly later « we have read your question, we are finding the best solution »….

From the moment you performed an action on the Internet (purchase, contact… anything), until your « problem » has been solved (the goods are in your hands, the bug has been fixed…), the more emails you receive the happier you are.

There has to be a limit surely, but I don’t know any site that sends so much customer service emails that the consumer gets annoyed.
What is genuinely interesting in this finding, is that the moment your problem is solved, we all happily ignore further emails from the customer service centre. That’s why it’s such an opportunity!

When you cannot offer « proper » immediacy, the need for emails is real, you have the consumer’s attention until the product or service is received. This is JUST GREAT, so do something about it!

Now, what it means practically.

Automate your email system!
Define which events can generate a new « touch point » with the consumer (I remember of an old Harvard Business Review discussion these « moments of truth » = each interaction you have with the customer, and how you can improve them).
Payment is one, shipment is another… Don’t you have more? Each one of them could be translated in a different.

Each email is an opportunity
Promote your business, as a brand, but also promote other products and services in the emails.
Don’t SPAM the customer, add value: you can truly enrich their experience.


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