A common mistake when planning and launching an online store is to focus exclusively on the site’s organization: designing product cards, setting up a personal account, and payment. There is an equally important element that should not be underestimated – this is customer support. If the site of the online store is comparable to the showcase, then the customer support center is like the seller-consultant and should be top-notch.
Operators don’t just answer calls and messages. In fact, the customer support center works to help the client purchase and build brand loyalty.
Let’s examine in detail the functions of the customer support center.
Pre-purchase assistance. The main tasks here are to give as much information about the product as possible and help a customer place an order. The support quality at this stage is crucial for turning a potential customer into a real one. An unqualified operator can reduce the conversion of requests into confirmed orders.
Prompt resolution of delivery-related matters. Usually, delivery is carried out by contractors – courier services. If, during the session, the operator needs to constantly communicate with them to get the information, the time to resolve the matter increases. Hence, the information systems of the online store and delivery services should be combined, allowing the support to immediately access all the necessary data.
Work with negativity and returns. In addition to the stress resistance of operators, this area, like no other, requires a well-thought-out overall strategy. When is the buyers’ negativity justified, and when are the explanations or sending of additional instructions in order? Are the refunds accepted in more cases than warranted by the applicable laws? How can you compensate customers for their inconvenience if the company makes a mistake? An incorrect or untimely reaction can turn a simple buyer’s discontent into a conflict and affect the brand image.
Technical support. The operator receiving the initial request must quickly refer the buyer to the appropriate technical specialist. For a positive customer experience, it is worth considering sorting the requests’ urgency and importance. The omnichannel approach can also bring additional advantages – in some cases, it is easier to help the user by phone, send a screenshot, or use remote access.
The contact center is a source of valuable information for the marketing department. Based on data on the most frequent problems and questions, it is possible to improve the operational processes in other areas.
You can also use the contact center for outgoing calls. Operators can inform customers about the order’s status, clarify various information, qualify incoming leads, or even carry out full-fledged telemarketing.
Let’s review what needs to be considered so that the work of the customer support center becomes a part of a unique user experience to benefit the company.
Qualification and motivation of operators. There is a lot on the line, and success depends on the communication of Support Center employees with the customers. In-house training is necessary because no matter how experienced the operator is, he must be well versed in the company’s products. The motivation system and KPIs for a Customer Support Center are also essential. Thus, the average call processing time alone can’t be the primary metric as there is an excellent chance that the issues will be resolved superficially. It would make more sense to combine the speed of the service with achieving a positive customer experience.
Scripts for employees. It is not enough to give the operator the text of the conversation as a robot could do this work. Scripts are not just ready-to-use phrases. They provide guidance on what to do with difficult situations, how to determine if a technical specialist is needed and if the client has any unanswered questions. A quality script can also help the customer and the operator to have confidence in each other.
At the same time, one should not underestimate the advantages of informal interaction – flexibility in a non-standard situation, attention, and involvement. Problems when scripts do not exist, are inevitable. Some of them will require the intervention of the management, but some issues can be resolved on the spot. The operator should have the authority, let’s say to offer compensation to the customer up to a certain amount, etc. Ultimately, this will solve the problem quickly, increasing customer loyalty and saving time for other specialists.
Availability of customer support resources: Providing the resources: personnel, modern software, and technical means will not only reduce customer waiting time but also will make communication more convenient for them, creating a wow effect instead of negativity and irritation.
A significant role of support for multi-channel has become a requirement in modern times. Situations, where the operator sees the available stock in the online store, but can’t see the same at a physical location, or asks the client to describe the problem previously discussed in another communication channel, are fundamentally timewasting and wrong. Modern software allows you to display customer data directly during the call, even before the operator answers.
Data analysis helps to calculate personnel and equipment availability during peak times loads. On the one hand, the brand must purchase more equipment and hire more operators so that the contact center quickly processes requests even during peak hours. On the other hand, this equipment can be idle and used inefficiently at different times. Round-the-clock support work also involves increased pay for employees.
Regulations are being imposed on companies as their contact center processes customer personal data so companies must provide the increased security. In organizing a customer support center, other unexpected tasks may arise – for example, localization of technical documentation and the support service itself, integration with local communication channels, etc. The complexity of this task prevents many brands from developing D2C channels.
Often, outsourcing the work of the customer support center to an independent operator is a solution. Such operators are not only more efficient in employing technical and human resources, but they also have the experience in this field, advanced knowledge and skills, and a set of know-how. This improves the customer/user experience and support customer loyalty.
We help brands organize and execute the work not only of the customer support center, but also D2C channels. We can take care of the planning, launch, and the management of sales in an online brand store in the EU and in the US. In addition to organizing the actual sales, we take care of fulfillment, payment processing, and the organization of customer support.
You can sign up for a consultation on the D2C sales channels setup here.