Retail and eCommerce are entirely different beasts, particularly when it comes to customer service and experience(s). In brick-and-mortar stores, for example, you have to worry about the encounter your employees provide to customers, as much as your store and the products within it.
Comparatively, eCommerce has similar contention points, but it’s more about the communication and brief interactions your personnel might have, as opposed to physical, visual and local experiences. Your employees are not interacting face-to-face with customers, if at all. Instead, they are doing so via email, instant message and chat systems, or potentially over the phone.
You might think this makes it easier to deliver the ideal customer experience, but that’s not the case. While 80 percent of companies feel they deliver superior customer service, only 8 percent of their customers believe it’s true. It would appear there’s a false sense of security looming, at least when it comes to providing a positive, engaging experience.
Even more alarming is the fact that consumers, in general, are growing fonder of memorable encounters. By 2020, industry experts predict customer experience will surpass price and product as key brand differentiators.
It’s clear at this point that positive customer experience is vital to the success and future of your eCommerce business. But just for the sake of discussion, how exactly will a poor experience or customer service program influence your business? What will happen, and how will your customers react?
You Don’t Get Second Chances
The market is competitive, and that means there are plenty of alternatives. That works against you and the growth of your business, because your customers and potential audience know this, as well. If they have a terrible experience with you or your team, they won’t return.
After just one poor or negative experience, 51 percent of today’s customers will never do business with that company again. Once you lose them, they’re essentially gone forever. That’s unfortunate, but it emphasizes why you need to hone the initial experience or journey.
As a direct result of poor customer service, 44 percent of customers will switch to a different business or brand entirely.
Customers Will Share with the World
Perhaps even worse than a single unhappy customer, is an even larger group that continues to grow through word-of-mouth and contextual discussions.
People will share their experiences with people they know, which can make or break the future of your business. Thirteen percent will tell 15 or more people about a bad or negative experience.
Alternatively, 72 percent of consumers will share their positive experience with a brand with six or more people. So, it works in your favor, too, because customers will share their great experiences as well as their poor ones.
Good Customer Experience Translates to Higher Revenues
You might be surprised to know 55 percent of today’s consumers — across all ages — are willing to invest more money in a business if they feel certain they will have a positive experience. But to drive the point home even harder, American companies lose a total of $62 billion each year due specifically to poor customer service. The customer service you provide can have both a positive and negative impact on your revenue and profits.
Customer Experience Competition Is Rising
As more companies begin catering to the demand for positive customer experiences, the overall performance across industries will improve and competition will grow. The longer you put it off, the more difficult it will become for you to make an impact. It may be nearly impossible to stand out from the competition if you wait too long to focus on customer service.
In a 2017 survey, 50 percent of brands polled indicated they plan to invest directly into customer experience technologies soon if they haven’t already. Considering that poll is now more than a year old, it’s likely many respondents have already optimized or focused their efforts on customer experience improvements, making it that much more vital for you to do so now.
Furthermore, Deloitte points out 62 percent of companies perceive customer service as a competitive differentiator. It’s tried and true at this point, and brands have long realized the power of positive customer experience programs.
Customer Service Is Vital to Success in eCommerce
For companies that deliver a well-crafted service experience, the customer retention rate can be 92 percent or higher. Even if you don’t consider any of the other stats in this article, this one should inspire you to take action, because it clearly shows how vital a positive customer experience and a solid customer service program are to the future of your business.
Now, this is true of any business online or off, but it’s especially true of eCommerce, where you have virtually no other interactions with your customers. You don’t see them face-to-face and your employees don’t work with them directly in person, so it’s crucial you get those digital elements right — including messaging systems and social media communications.
Bio: Nathan Sykes is a blogger, techie and beer lover. When he’s not geeking out about the latest software update, he can be found cheering on whichever Pittsburgh sports team is playing at the time. To stay up to date on the latest in tech, check out his blog, Finding an Outlet.