The gift of customer self-service

A win-win for businesses and shoppers

19 May 2022

There’s a lot to love about online shopping, but there is a downside too – the lack of customer service. If a problem or question crops up – who is going to help your customers? What can they do if something they buy isn’t what they expected? Who do they ask about sizing? And the dreaded question – if they must call customer service, how long is it going to take?

This is where customer self-service comes in. Over the past five years, digital options have become extremely popular on eCommerce sites. Now, savvy online shoppers expect to handle problems independently.

The customer prefers it – and so does your bottom-line

Adopting customer self-service tools throughout your online shop is a win-win – you save money on customer support and increase customer satisfaction. Put the shopping experience power entirely in the hands of the customer and you will be rewarded.

Pros for the customer

1. Independence – customers can compare prices, check sizes, buy products and return items at their discretion.

2. Convenience – customers shop from anywhere around the world anytime they like, getting the answers they need 24/7 and faster than in a store.

Pros for the seller

1. It’s cost-effective – your customer service staff are only used when they are truly needed. This cuts your staffing costs and improves your processes.

2. The length of transactions is reduced.

3. It improves customer experience.

Synthetix’s research on customer self-service shows that 89% of customers are more satisfied when they can get answers quickly online. 90% of online shoppers will always search your online shop for answers to their queries before calling customer service. This shows that customers want to figure it out for themselves, without the hassle of call-waiting or back-and-forth communication. So, now is the time to improve your self-service offering.

How to improve customer self-service

Seek the information your customers need most from your website. Then lay it out clearly and concisely so that users can easily navigate their way to a solution. Here are some popular ideas businesses are using to give online shoppers more independence.

  • Real-time order tracking – online shoppers have had a rollercoaster experience with shipping over the pandemic. To help, many retailers are offering real-time order tracking. This takes tremendous pressure off your customer service team as they no longer have to field calls about shipping updates.
  • Account details – let your customers input and update their personal information. This will make their shopping experience easier and faster.
  • Order history – save your customers’ ordering history from online and offline stores. They can use this information to easily re-purchase favourite pieces or check sizing against other items.
  • Sample requesting – give your customers the option to try samples. This could be a seven-day free trial of your software or mailing carpet samples. This will increase brand loyalty, help customers decide and minimise the number of questions they ask.
  • Fit guides - they are essential to good online retailing, especially since universal sizes don’t exist anymore. Learn how to create the perfect size guide here
  • FAQs – answer your most frequently asked questions comprehensively. This will instil trust and gratitude – customers love to easily find answers. You will also save your customer service team a lot of work.
  • Chatbots – instead of having customer service representatives on call 24/7, chatbots can answer FAQs instantly. Over half of consumers say they prefer using chatbots to calling a real customer service rep.
  • Self-service returns – since the pandemic, 44% of shoppers say they are much more cautious about shopping because they don’t want to have to deal with returns. That’s why it’s important to make your process as simple as possible – and free.
  • Click and collect – this service allows people to buy online but pick purchases up from a physical store. It’s become popular during the pandemic as people avoid stores but don’t want to wait for delayed shipments. If organised well, this method of shopping will make you a popular choice.

A win-win situation

It all comes down to convenience and transparency for your customers. The more effort you put into improving the customer experience, the more chance you have of overtaking competitors and creating long-term loyalty. With self-service, your customer is happier and your costs will be lower. There’s no downside.

At Solutionists, we’re experts in B2C online platforms. For help improving your customer self-service, contact our team today.


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author:

Emma Collis

date published:

19 May 2022