Q: I have a nutra site that sells mainly immunity supplements. Since Covid, we’ve had a huge uptick in sales that is not slowing down. I’ve noticed much larger bills for our monthly customer service costs.
I outsource my customer service to an external call centre. The call centre is opened 24 hours so my customers can get help any time of the day, but I’m afraid the quality of service isn’t great off hours as it is non-US customer support agents who answer the calls.
We offer email, phone and chat support. We handle email requests in-house and have noticed an increase in emails as well. Is there any tips you can provide that will help curb these costs while maintaining service levels to our customers? Chargebacks and refunds are also a big concern as we are scaling so we’d like to ensure we don’t increase these by making changes to our customer service practices.
A: Customer service is very often an over-looked part of running an online business.
There are several things you can do to help your customers before they result in directly contacting you. Ensuring your checkout process is clear is key in preventing unwanted calls and frustration from your buyers.
What can you do during the sales process?
- Your checkout page should display clear and precise pricing. Remind your customers what they are buying, how much it costs and shipping delays. Most questions customers call about are around those topics.
- Send your customers a receipt for their purchase. You can take the opportunity once again to remind them what they have purchased, the quantity, the price as well as any specifics about shipping and order status. Also, include a link to your FAQ page so they can get answers to common questions.
- Keep your customers updated about their order status. If you offer tracked shipping, email your customers once you have the tracking number and keep them up to date of any delays along the way.
Other ways to help your customers?
- Create a support page for your products and services. You can include all information about your company and contact information can be clearly laid out to avoid a customer getting frustrated and potentially issuing a chargeback.
- Get your customer service team to put together a list of your customers frequently asked questions. Post the FAQ page visibly within your website as well as your customer support page. These questions can cover commonly asked questions such as how to get a login reset, how long orders take, how does a customer get a refund or process a return. Many customers prefer to get the information themselves rather than call someone and wait to get answers. Give your customers the opportunity to get their information quickly and efficiently on a FAQ page.
- Offer a chat option and other quick contact options. Make it obvious for easy accessibility. In order for this to work and avoid customer frustration, the chat agent must be responsive. Having a button there for customers to contact you by chat but making them wait for over a minute may have the opposite effect and frustrate your customers.
- Ensure your response time is within acceptable limits. Respond to all emails within 1 day, online chats and phone calls should be answered within 20 seconds to ensure an acceptable service level. This will ensure your customers don’t get impatient and hang up to call their banks and issue a chargeback instead.
- Include an insert if you’re mailing a package that makes returns and refunds seamless. You have another way to market to your customers when you’re sending them a package. Take the opportunity to give them clear instructions on how to process a return directly within their box.
- Process refund requests quickly so customers can see their funds back in their account within days to avoid a potential chargeback.
- Ensure your customers get an auto-responder email when they contact you and set expectations on when they will hear from you.
- Community support can be helpful. Having a group or page on social media can provide your customers with tools to help each other and can increase customer loyalty.
What are the best practices for the call centre?
- Whether you outsource or have an in-house customer service team, make sure you train your staff to understand the product and sales cycle.
- Try to have a local support team available for the busiest customer service hours, as many customers express frustration when they cannot properly communicate with the customer service agent.
- Make sure you have an 800 phone number so customers don’t have to go out of their way to reach out to you or pay extra fees.
- Offer your customer service agents tools and tips on how to deal with aggressive customers. When your customers contact support, they are upset about something so teach your agents soft skills to calm the customer prior to fixing their issue. Covid has made many customers very frustrated with the extra wait times for everything these days.
- Prior to offering a refund, ensure your customer service agents determine what the issue is and troubleshoot accordingly. Customer experience when they contact support helps maintain a positive image for your company.
- If a customer threatens to chargeback, offer a refund instead. A chargeback dispute is costly and ultimately you will lose the sale plus an extra fee for the chargeback.
Remember when a call centre operates properly, it can become a profit centre instead of a cost centre. By giving your agents tools to help save customers and provide free products to avoid refunds or chargebacks, you will have happier customers and more profits from your sales.
Have clear and measurable goals for your customer support agents and they will work harder at reaching them. These can include maintaining service levels, lowering refunds by 2%, getting more customers on chat which helps lower costs over phone calls.
Looking at your customer service process will help you find tweaks that can add revenue and save you money. In addition, it can help you keep your payment processing healthy by lowering chargebacks and refunds. These measures will be put in place once and can continue providing value for years to come.
I hope this information was valuable for you.
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