Customer Service in eCommerce: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

You’ve just bought your new favourite top from one of your favourite high street stores. You get home and are raring to try it on with your other purchases, style the look as they say. But upon closer inspection, you notice a rip in the side. Annoying. You take it back to the store, ask a customer service rep for an exchange. Job done. Happy days. 

This face-to-face interaction and resolution is unique to the high-street model and cannot be offered by an eCommerce business. However, the same level of customer experience is still expected in the online arena. Businesses have adapted and evolved to incorporate customer support across multiple channels such as their eCommerce sites, phone and email, but this isn’t elevating the overall customer experience as a whole. This is where social media comes into play: meeting the consumer where they are. 

For context, 75% of all people online interact with social media. And they’re not just browsing memes or sharing their favourite cat videos in group chats. These people are shopping.  A massive 76% of social media users are reported to have made a purchase off the back of seeing a product ad on a brand’s social media post. This is known as social selling - and it’s on the rise. But, with this rise comes an increased need for brands to think about their social media customer service strategies. Still don’t think it’s that important? The following 4 reasons may make you re-think...

1. The Expectant Consumer

As customers can make purchases via social media, it’s only consequential that one would expect a level of customer service on the same platform. From buying through to getting your order updates, the whole process should be managed on one platform. You wouldn’t buy on one platform to have to get updates on another.

According to research conducted by Microsoft, 67% of consumers that have made a customer service enquiry with a brand on social media expect a response within 24 hours. While it’s old news that people expect a response, 47% of consumers in the US hold companies that actively respond to queries on social media in higher regard. 

However, quite dismally, brands only end up responding to around half the messages they actually receive across social channels. Consider the knock-on effect; Failing to respond to these customers’ queries can lead to a 43% decrease in customer advocacy. 

Simply put, by taking the time and effort to respond to customer service queries on social media can help position your brand and build customer advocacy. Remember, consumers are people, how would you feel if you were ignored?


2. Connect

So, now that we’ve gathered that eCommerce brand don’t have the benefit of that face-to-face customer interaction, what can be done in its absence? Well, by leveraging the little one-to-one time you do have, no less. By working on building customer loyalty, it will do wonders for your business in the long term, and a step that definitely shouldn’t be skipped for a few reasons: 

  • Consumers who engage with a brand on social media are more likely to spend between 20-40% more with that brand than those that don’t. 

  • Community building? Well, 77% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands they follow on social media. 

  • We all love to be loved. It comes as little surprise that 96% of consumers feel that customer service is a poignant factor in choosing a brand to advocate. 

As well as these statistics, there’s also the other side of the coin… A study conducted by Sprout Social found that around 50% of consumers would choose to boycott a brand if their responses were not on point on social media.


3. Build Brand and Advocate

Ever received a response from a brand when mentioning them on social media? Pretty cool, right? A nice warm, fuzzy feeling enters your body and that’s called love. The customer now knows you listen and when everyone else can see that, it can only strengthen your position. When customers feel the love and reciprocate it, the more likely they are to become valuable brand advocates. The more the better! 

So how does this support translate across eCommerce?

  • 75% say they are more likely to post a positive message about the brand that showed them love and took the time to connect with them online. 

  • 71% of those who received a positive brand experience online are more likely to recommend the brand to others. 

  • Consider that 88% of people trust online reviews to influence their purchase decision as much as they trust a friend’s word, those advocates can have a real impact on your revenue! 

Social media has become one of the best word-of-mouth advertising channels in existence. By improving on and maintaining your customer service experience, you’ll soon have a solid band of brand advocates. And in comes the exponential power of having a plethora of brand advocates, spreading the positive message of their experience with your brand to their hundreds or thousands of followers. 


4. Bad Service 

So now we’ve learnt about how great customer service can really help your brand on social media, but what about bad service? Just as good practice can improve your brand, bad practices can have a lasting and damaging effect, conversely. 

A poor experience can lead to a drop to just 30% of people willing to recommend your brand to others. Not so scary, right? 

But what could lead to more damage is the fact that 45% of consumers are more likely to leave a negative review and share their tales of bad customer service. News travels, but on social media, it travels even faster. A big blunder could lead to a negative review blowing up across social media platforms and this is where the damage is done. 


In Conclusion

Over the years we’ve seen social media transform from a place to connect with friends and share your poorly-shot holiday pics to a place where you can connect with, shop and get assistance from your favourite brands. Ecommerce brands should take customer service online as seriously as we’ve seen it take place instore, as this is what has been and always will be expected. Take care of your customers and they’ll take care of your bottom line. 


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