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In today’s digital age, small businesses venturing into eCommerce have the power to compete with industry giants.

However, no matter how brilliant your products or website might be, the backbone of a successful online business is exceptional customer service. We’re sharing the best practices in customer service to help your small eCommerce business thrive online.

1. Don’t get overwhelmed

One of the most common challenges for small eCommerce businesses is managing a growing influx of customer inquiries. However, getting overwhelmed is a risk you can avoid with the right approach:

  • Task management: Utilise task management tools and software to streamline customer service processes. Assigning tasks within your team ensures that all customer requests get looked at, and it lightens the load on individual team members.
  • Prioritisation: Prioritise customer inquiries based on their urgency and complexity. By addressing urgent issues first, you prevent small problems from escalating into larger ones.
  • Automation: Employ automation where it makes sense. For instance, use chatbots for routine inquiries, freeing up your team’s time for more intricate customer interactions.

2. Be present in multiple channels

In the online realm, customers expect convenience. They want to reach out to you on their preferred platforms. Being available on multiple channels is key:

boost your customer service live chat
  • Live chat: Implement live chat on your website. This real-time communication channel allows customers to get quick answers and assistance without the need for phone calls or emails.
  • Email support: Offer responsive email support. Ensure that inquiries sent via email receive timely and informative responses.
  • Social media: Be active on social media. Customers often turn to platforms like Facebook and Twitter to ask questions or seek support. Respond promptly to maintain a positive online presence.
  • Phone support: If feasible, provide a phone number for customers to call. Some customers prefer direct voice interactions when dealing with complex issues.

3. Offer personalised services

Every customer is unique, and offering a personalised experience sets your business apart:

  • Customer profiles: Maintain detailed customer profiles to understand their preferences, purchase history and past interactions. This information enables your team to provide tailored recommendations and support.
  • Personalised responses: Address customers by their names and refer to past interactions. This personal touch goes a long way in making customers feel valued and appreciated.
  • Treat your customers as individuals:  this approach will make you stand out from competitors and will increase customer retention. Remember, eCommerce is not just about transactions; it’s about building relationships. Personalised service ensures that your customers feel heard, understood and cared for.

4. Quick response times

Promptness is crucial in online eCommerce. Studies have shown that 90% of customers consider “immediate” responses to customer service questions to be important. While immediate might be hard to achieve, striving to respond within a reasonable time frame is vital.

  • Canned responses: For common inquiries, create canned responses. These are pre-written templates that can be customised and used to respond quickly while maintaining a personal touch.
  • Customer notifications: Keep customers informed about their order status, shipping and any potential delays. Proactive communication goes a long way in ensuring customer satisfaction.

5. Outsource a professional answering service

If your hands are full, consider outsourcing the services of a professional answering service, or virtual assistant to help with your workload. Emma Davison, Director at Virtual Headquarters, offers an interesting perspective, noting;

“As a small business owner, you can often be swamped by calls whilst struggling to juggle other responsibilities. A professional answering service  can alleviate those struggles, by ensuring 24/7, your calls are answered promptly and professionally by Australian receptionists and that your business maintains a high level of customer service at all times”.

With the help of a personal answering service and their quick responses – you can find the right balance for your online store and boost your customer service.

boost your customer service with phone answering service

To sum up, doing well in customer service for small online businesses needs a mix of being efficient and personal. Don’t let things get too overwhelming, be available in different ways and be responsive to your customers. Following these simple tips can help ensure you have happy customers and find long-term success online.

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