02 April 2013
Are you being served? Add Live Chat Software
Since the internet opened its doors to eCommerce in 1991, the public attitude to shopping online has been constantly changing. After a slow start, popularity has grown rapidly, with research from IMRG and Capgemini showing UK online sales now exceeding 8 billion pounds a month.
The obvious benefits of convenience and the ability to easily find the best price saw shoppers willing to compromise on customer service, but times are certainly changing. We now take for granted the ease with which we can locate and purchase our desired item, so our expectations about service levels have increased.
Having made their mark in the online world, large UK companies such as Screwfix and Kiddicare (owned by Morrisons) are moving towards a multi channel offering, introducing bricks and mortar stores in an attempt to reintroduce a level of personal service. When many high street stores are facing closure and becoming solely an online entity (Woolworths being a prime example) this may be a risky commercial decision.
So how can online businesses bridge the gap?
Customers are expecting high quality information and a speedy response, which can be achieved without resorting to automated FAQ’s. The internet by nature may be impersonal but communication doesn't have to be. Answering questions promptly and personally increases goodwill, a visible presence will positively influence a shoppers’ perception of the company.
Give customers that personal touch online…
- Use customer service staff names in communications and ensure you address your customer by name
- Publish your contact details clearly and offer multiple channels for communication
- Use a landline number rather than a mobile, or go one step further and offer a free phone number
- Email contact forms should clearly show your response times – then stick to them!
- Add Live Chat Software to introduce a facility for instant communication
- Ensure you are always available during normal working hours
- Use a call back facility, allowing your potential customers to leave you a message when you are not available