How Your Ecommerce Brand Can Use Customer Service to Compete in 2021

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Feb 18, 2021

The year 2020 was supposed to be a big one. New decade, new us, right? While the excitement and anticipation for an epic year was hard to find come March, 2020 was still iconic in several respects. With the novel coronavirus gripping the globe, a newfound resilience arose from people, communities, and the businesses that helped keep the world afloat. 

From delivering pandemic essentials, daily must-haves, groceries, and everything you could possibly need for any new hobbies and sourdough starters, ecommerce became the hero we didn’t know we needed. Not only did online stores have to become reliable and safe once shopping in brick-and-mortar stores was off-limits, but they also had to become friendly, supportive, and helpful resources to replicate that missing in-store experience.

The original ecommerce forecast for 2020 estimated that 227 million people would shop online. The sudden need to shop for anything and everything online, though, shoved that number to nearly 260 million. Not only were more people shopping online, but more money was being spent online, too. To get an idea of just how much was being spent, consider this:

In 2019, there were only two days outside the holiday season when shoppers spent more than $2 billion online. For comparison, online shoppers spent more than $2 billion online every single day from May through June in 2020—with some days even hitting $3 billion.

In short, the growth that ecommerce expected to see in the next 5 or more years was crammed into one. However, this massive online shopping growth spurt was the catalyst to a lot of ecommerce evolution that was sorely needed. After all, today’s consumers aren’t the same ones from the ‘90s being sold on price and price alone. 

Ecommerce brands had to change their tactics practically overnight in order to align with all these new customers and their changing expectations. From website layouts and UX, to fulfillment and email marketing, merchants figured out how to get all those new shoppers the goods they wanted in their time of need. A tougher piece of the puzzle, though? Providing each eager new customer with support that was fast, helpful, and empathetic in these stressful times. 

Enter Gorgias, the ecommerce helpdesk platform that saw the Bat-Signal. With the pandemic causing widespread stress and anxiety in every part of life, having an ecommerce customer support solution  that could field questions and resolve issues with ease and empathy was a critical piece to any store’s success in 2020—and it’s now a customer expectation that’s not about to go anywhere. 

Price Isn’t the Only Pony in Ecommerce

Ecommerce used to be an objective playing field. It didn’t matter how ugly the site was or how callous the CEO acted at last year’s gala, it was a game won by whatever store could offer the lowest price or the fastest shipping. However, the emotional toll of 2020 coupled with the ongoing evolution of consumer behaviors have made subjective factors take the crown.

Empathetic marketing, pleasing and frictionless shopping journeys, brand transparency, and customer experience now weigh into purchase decisions more than price. The experience offered to online shoppers is a key brand differentiator, and 86% of buyers are even willing to pay more for their purchase if the experience is great. 

From improving retention, reducing churn, upping satisfaction, and increasing cross- and up-selling opportunities, investing in a good customer experience pays off. And with the pandemic pushing more people to shop online, it’s now more important than ever for brands to take on the persona of friendly retailer, helpful service desk worker, or cheerful cashier.

The Customer Expectations, They Are A-Changin’ 

With this shift toward experience-sensitive consumers, it’s time to define what that actually means. Is a good experience as simple as sending a more personalized email? Can a brand exceed modern expectations by simply updating a logo or rearranging the top nav? 

When it comes to providing a meaningful and memorable experience that impacts loyalty and revenue, there are many routes ecommerce brands can travel to meet today’s customers where they are.

Personalized Experiences
“Personalization” has become a sort of catchall buzzword in recent years, but there’s a lot of merit to investing in this idea. Ninety-one percent of consumers “are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations.” A personalized experience can range from perfectly targeted ads, fine-tuned product recommendations, personalized emails, or even remembering who a shopper is when they return to your site.

Empathetic Marketing
Your customers are more than dollar signs stacking onto your bottom line—they’re real, live people. The less your business is able to empathize with their needs, wants, and (yes) emotions, the less trust and loyalty it’ll be able to earn. The majority of consumers, 81%, consider how much they can trust a brand to “do what is right.” And more than half agree that brands have a responsibility to get involved with at least one social issue. 

With belief-driven buyers on the rise, it’s critical for your marketing strategies to take subjective feelings and beliefs into account when speaking to your audience.

Improved Customer Service and Experience

According to Gorgias, customer experience is now a strong revenue driver when you consider that…

  • 3 out of 10 customers would look for another business after a single bad experience.
  • 5 out of 10 will not make a purchase again after a bad customer experience.
  • 7 out of 10 consumers will spend more on a business with good customer service.

From pre-purchase consideration to post-purchase experience, online sellers need to consider every nook and cranny of the customer journey. Even one sour experience could cause a customer to head to a competitor and never look back, which makes a shoddy customer experience a terrible gamble for your long-term plans. 

Gorgias Gives Brands an Edge on Customer Experience

Gorgias knows the impact that exceptional customer service can have. Especially during a global pandemic where online help was some of the only help customers could turn to regarding all of their purchases, seamless and helpful service was critical to elevating brand perceptions and building long-term loyalty.

Merchants using the ecommerce helpdesk Gorgias can up their customer service game even if their teams are lean (or just a one-person show). They’ve built this tool knowing how detrimental slow response times, unresolved issues, and lack of a human touch can negatively affect online stores in the long run. This is why Gorgias is designed to be:

  • Easy to use.Brands like Nomad took advantage of the fast onboarding and smart automation to eliminate tedious categorization and endless copy+pasting in their customer support processes. The team was able to reduce first-response times to help tickets by 78%, and cut overall resolution time by 70%.

    Because of how helpful Gorgias enabled Nomad to be, the brand was able to spend less time just clickin’ around and more time interacting with customers and establishing more trust and better experiences.
  • Price-friendly for merchants of any size.There are more merchants setting up ecommerce stores every single day. The pandemic has only stoked the ecommerce flame and there are more stores online than ever. With that in mind, Gorgias believes providing experience-enhancing customer support shouldn’t be luxury reserved for the Amazons of the digital world.

    This is why merchants can pick from a variety of pricing plans that will help them improve customer experience, retain more customers, build long-term loyalty, and scale to their dreams.
  • Used across the entire customer journey.
    Customer support gets a bad rap. It’s often thought of as sitting on hold for hours while terrible filler music spits from your phone speakers, or it’s automated chatbot purgatory that goes in circles until the customer just gives up. Gorgias hates support like that, which is why they made it better. Gorgias gives brands the chance to engage with customers every chance they can. It’s a way to capitalize on every opportunity to offer support, especially where competitors aren’t paying attention. From on-site chat to text, email, social media, and even customer reviews, it’s critical for brands to be wherever their customers are whenever they’re asking a question or leaving a comment. It’s a proactive commitment by the merchant to truly provide good experiences for their customers, and those experiences will win over price every time.

Zoom out: The Bigger Customer Experience Picture

Fast, attentive, and effective customer support plays a big role in the overall customer experience—and it’s an area that many merchants don’t invest many resources in, making it a prime opportunity to stand out thanks to a kick-butt experience. 

Responding to customers who comment on ads or posts, and answering pre-purchase questions lead to more first-time purchasers and opportunities to turn them into repeat customers. With more shoppers online than ever, there are a lot of new consumers who are shopping around and making decisions. Having a helpdesk like Gorgias is one way to engage in an authentic and meaningful way to help shoppers make decisions and feel comfortable asking questions in the future.

Plus, quickly and effectively resolving customer issues helps drive brand trust and loyalty, especially if the problems arise after they purchase. Nearly half of shoppers cite the post-purchase experience as being the most memorable part of their journey with a brand. Not having an efficient or effective system in place to address all the questions and concerns that happen after checkout could make or break their repeat business.  

Supporting customers with caring service creates seemingly endless touchpoints that they’ll remember. With every new point of contact and empathetic support, your store could be creating a new long-term customer. Even a 5% increase in customer retention could improve your bottom line by 75%, and finding ways to achieve a 5% increase could be as simple as implementing better customer support.  

Consider tag-teaming your post-purchase customer support with the transparency of Route visual tracking. The ability to pre-emptively relieve support lines of tracking and shipping inquiries—people chiming in to ask “where is my order?”—creates more opportunities for your team to save resources, reduce costs, and spend less time on tedious tasks in order to have more time for genuine connection between brand and customer. 

Give Your Customers the Support They’ll Come Back for with Gorgias

The support brands can give customers thanks to Gorgias aligns with all the trends that emerged throughout the 2020 ecommerce surge. In order to compete and thrive in ecommerce, brands need to meet customer expectations with better experiences along the entire customer journey. Slashed prices and heavy discounting are no longer enough for consumers to choose your D2C brand over others offering a better experience.

By engaging with and offering support to customers across channels and throughout their entire journey with your brand, you’ll be building a long-term relationship that helps your store scale and compete for the long haul. And when you add Gorgias and Route to your ecommerce tech stack, you get a duo that ensures your customers are cared for and receive a truly world-class experience from checkout and beyond. 

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