Running an online store? Avoid these 8 common customer service mistakes

Running an online store? Avoid these 8 common customer service mistakes

It’s no secret that online shopping has taken the world by storm. In fact, ecommerce sales surpassed 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide in 2020! With such a high volume of transactions taking place online, it’s more important than ever for businesses to provide good customer service.

In the extremely competitive ecommerce market, stellar customer support is one of the most critical factors that differentiates the winners from the brands that don’t make it. Unfortunately, many ecommerce brands are still falling short as regards their online customer support. These are some of the most common customer support service mistakes:

1.   Insufficient email availability

Email is still one of the most popular digital customer communication channels despite the proliferation of direct messaging, text messaging and live chat. Many customers and online businesses still rely heavily on email. Online businesses must therefore make sure that their email service is fast and slick, and emails are attended to immediately and professionally.

2.   Lack of an active and responsive live chat facility

No online business can pass up the very real advantages of having a live chat facility. Just look at some of its advantages!

  • Real-time convenience to customers, to interact with a live person.
  • Agents can guide customers who are undecided or unsure about what they want.
  • Customers can enquire about return policies and the status of their order.
  • Customers can point out any ‘bugs’ in the system, and make suggestions.
  • Gives you instant feedback from customers to highlight developing problems.
  • Save money by improving efficiency and reducing email volume.
  • Minimises returns, and has a positive impact on order values.
  • Gives you an advantage over competitors.
  • Builds long-term customer relationships by giving your customers 24/7 support and improving their customer experience.
  • Live chat software helps you build up an invaluable knowledge base about your customers.

3.   No clearly stated, straightforward refund policy

It’s vital that your refund policy is clearly stated and streamlined. The lack of a clear refund policy is guaranteed to make customers wary of buying your products or services. Customers need to know that they’re not locked into a product that they might not be happy with for whatever reason.

A streamlined and clearly stated refund policy assures your customers that you have confidence in your product and that they can trust your brand.

4.   Displaying items that are not in stock

If you really want to annoy your customers, this is the way to do it! Customers hate finding an item they really like… and then discovering it is no longer available. They will promptly leave your site and go to a competitor’s. So regularly check for stock availability and out-of-date products. Add a warning for customers if there might be an availability issue.

5.   Shipping costs only added at Checkout

Shipping costs are just as relevant as an item’s price tag because it materially affects the amount of money that comes out of the customer’s pocket. Customers want to know to what extent the shipping costs will affect the total cost as possible. They don’t want an unpleasant wake-up call at checkout and discover they can’t actually afford the item. Shipping costs should be displayed in the product’s description so shoppers can make an informed choice.

6.   Relying on a single supplier

Remember about not putting all your eggs in one basket? If you have only one supplier and they run into difficulties, their problems will quickly become yours! Getting your stock from multiple suppliers will give you some back-up and lessen the risk of a supplier’s ‘product drought’ impacting you too severely.

7.   Taking on high-ticket drop shipping items

Selling high ticket items to make quick money via drop shipping can be tempting, but be aware that it is a risky strategy. It’s much more important to ensure that you have a solid base of good value stock items before you go the high-ticket route. Your business needs to be very secure financially before you embark on selling high-ticket drop shipping items that are also high-risk.

8.   Customer issues aren’t resolved speedily and efficiently

This final point could pretty much spell disaster for your business, as it impacts your reputation. Today’s tech-savvy online customers want their issues resolved quickly and with minimum hassle. This is a factor that materially affects customer satisfaction.

As existing customers become dissatisfied and start leaving and you get fewer positive referrals, you start losing new sales. This creates an insidious downward spiral as regards new business and profits.

Related content: How to improve customer retention, and why it matters

Nowadays, good customer service is no longer a choice – it is an obligatory survival strategy for any forward-looking ecommerce business.

Need help?

If you manage to avoid the pitfalls we highlighted above, your ecommerce business will thrive. But we know that it is not easy, and that’s why we are there to help! If you outsource your customer service to us, our experienced team will ensure that your customers receive the stellar service they demand. And you will get the peace of mind you deserve, knowing your customers are in safe and expert hands.