Level Up Your Customer Service with Shopify June 03, 2015 03:00

No customer service is good customer service, according to a Harvard Business Review report. In the context of your Shopify store, this means that if the user experience on your storefront is so well drawn that users find all the information they need, and find answers to their questions easily on your site, then they don’t have to contact your customer service team (which may only consist of you at this stage).

But, there are always issues that come up and unique questions that can only be resolved through your customers reaching out directly to your store’s customer service team. The experience your customers have with your customer service can shape whether they remain your customers or switch to your competitors.

Customers are more likely to punish bad, slow and ineffective service, than reward a delightful service interaction.

As your store starts to grow, doing the right things with your customer service can have a much better return on investment than spending a ton of money on customer service platforms or staff. In a previous post about building customer loyalty, we discussed how customer service can be an important part of getting repeat business as only about 9% of customers who had to put very little effort to get the resolution they needed from your customer service are likely to be disloyal.

The core of effective customer service is managing communications. In this post, we will highlight a few Shopify apps that you can use to beef up your customer service and create a positive experience for your customers through:

  1. Email support
  2. Chat and phone options
  3. Useful feedback

Email support

Email is one of the most effective methods of support for online stores, especially for small businesses who may not have the budget to have a dedicated person for phone inquiries.

The good thing about emails is that they give you time to find a resolution to your customer’s issue, create a record of your interaction with the customer, and can help you build a repository of commonly asked questions. This helps to reduce the number of touch-points a customer needs to have before they find a resolution, and help you scale interactions by having standardized email templates.

There are a number of ways you can scale your email support. We will focus on Help Scout (at ShopStorm, we use it, and we love it!) as an email management platform. But first things first: if you haven’t done so already, instead of having your individual email address on your Shopify store for customer inquiries, create a group mailbox like team@yourstore.com or contact@yourstore.com.

We typically recommend using Google Apps for $5 per month to do so. This not only looks more professional, but also allows the address to be the primary email for support and service tickets.

Help Scout allows you to assign customer emails to different members of the team that you choose to based on availability or knowledge. Once a customer sends an email, all members of your support team on Help Scout can see the email and take over the interaction when necessary. Team members can also add private notes on email threads that the customer doesn’t see, but can help your team to ask questions within the team or put reminders for future interactions with the customer.

And as you grow your support team, all you have to do is add another team member who will then have access to all the interactions and service tickets, including notes, which helps with the on-boarding process as new members know the customer interaction history as well as the style of replies your company produces.

In addition, Help Scout has a number of integration with other platforms like Slack and Freshbooks. Help Scout also integrates with your Shopify store through the Help Scout app which integrates the email service requests with Shopify customer metrics, orders and contact information, and create analytics through reports on email volumes and common questions.

Chat and phone options

If you have a big enough team, you can also use live chat and phone options to help resolve customer inquiries. Compared to emails, the good thing about having these options is that customers can get answers immediately which keeps them on your store — especially if they’re using the live chat.

However, a customer might have a complex question or issue that can add to wait times, or increased number of touch points and effort. These are things to keep in mind as you plan for resources and strategy to support live chat and phone-based customer service.

Shopify itself has a number of apps for both these options. The Olark live chat + CartSaver app allows you to embed live chat function on your store. You can answer customer questions and help them navigate your store live. This also allows you to make recommendations and up-sell wherever appropriate.

In addition, Olark allows you to see a variety of information about your customer in real-time like cart balances, referrers, and geographic information. You can have multiple operators on your team to take on live chat requests and they can use even mobile devices to do so.

Apps like Call Hero allow customers to call your phone in one click from your store. Call Hero adds a “Start Call” button that calls the phone number you assign through Voice Over IP. You can also set availability times if you don’t have the capacity to take calls 24/7.

Useful feedback

Customer service doesn’t always have to be reactive. You can reach out to customers to get feedback about their experience on your store or with your products. Sending personalized emails at scale through platforms like MailChimp (which also integrates with Shopify through the MailChimp for Shopify app) can not only engage your customers but also give you important information about how you can improve your store and the customer experience.

But not all customers may appreciate being emailed again and again if you’re also sending promotions. A more passive strategy to getting feedback is through having a feedback option on your storefront. Feedback & Coupon Delivery places a feedback tab on your storefront and gives you the option to incentivize the feedback by giving coupon codes to customers who provide feedback.

The app also allows you to receive feedback in audio-visual formats like video, audio and photos. You can also have different coupon values for each of these options if you want to incentivize one type of feedback over another. Take a look at the app in action on a Shopify store to get an idea of what the customers see.

In summary

All these platforms and Shopify apps allow you to beef up your customer service and provide a better experience for your store visitors while helping you build a better store through feedback and common issues. Remember, having good customer service doesn’t have to be extremely expensive when you’re starting out small. Try these apps to see how they impact your customer experience levels and workflows.

What other apps do you use to help you provide and manage good customer service? Tell us in the comments below.


Cover Photo Credit: Dennis Skley ( CC BY-ND 2.0 license)

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