How To Decrease Time Spent Dealing With eCommerce Customers While Increasing Sales
“As many inquiries as you can possibly handle…”.
“I replied, “Are you sure? Do you have that many inquiries ?”
“Yes, bring it on…”
And so I did. I flipped the switch to ‘on’.
My team jumped into action and started to handle customer service 24/7.
Within five days we were handling between 300 and 500 buyer inquiries each day.
A couple of months later our client’s business was one of the most popular digital products being sold online. And we were handling each customer email like a well-oiled machine.
Damn, I was proud of my team. They could really handle it.
A short while afterward an eCommerce seller called me.
I had never before helped to hire customer support representatives for an eCommerce store. So I suggested we set up a test.
After all, I’ve built five different teams to handle over 300 buyer inquiries a day, and I established a successful recruitment process to help them out.
I knew what worked for online products, but would it be the same for eCommerce stores like this seller?
eCommerce sellers (a.k.a. you) are different
I set up the first team to handle customer service for my new client — and they fell flat.
Unfortunately, in the first seven days, we didn’t even realize that it wasn’t working.
The huge lesson here is that selling a physical product is inherently different from selling a digital product. There is a lot more to physical selling than to digital selling.
For example, you need to know how much you have in-stock. You need to know how to address a situation where the product gets lost in the mail, or misses a delivery deadline, or is not as described, or is damaged.
Our team didn’t think about all of these little things before.
So I dug into all the inquiries and asked myself two simple questions:
- What is the biggest problem that people face?
- What is the one thing that makes customers happy?
And then I discovered an interesting pattern.
The same questions just keep coming in over and over again. The solution: I came up with a way to respond to those questions in an effective manner.
By tweaking a couple of things, I was able to get my team to handle a huge volume of inquiries and get amazing results.
What happened next shocked me and my eCommerce seller friend.
233 positive reviews received in 14 days and $48,179 in sales from repeat buyers.
You read that right — 233 positive reviews. Not complaints and not disputes, but real happy repeat buyers.
And the process was simple.
The key is to focus solely on fixing the buyer’s problem quickly and using specific language in the way you respond to them.
Since that fateful call from my first eCommerce client, I have handled one million customer inquiries for eCommerce sellers.
So here are the exact steps you can take.
Implemented correctly, you will be able to turn angry customers into loyal customers.
Step #1: The Loyalty Reinforcer
Most eCommerce sellers will reply to a customer inquiry like this:
“Due to high workload, I am currently checking and responding to e-mail twice daily at 12: 00 P.M. ET and 4: 00 P.M. ET. ”
Some of the most professional responses would say this:
“Thanks for being our awesome customer! We have received your message and would like to thank you for writing to us, we will reply by email shortly. Talk to you soon. ”
But both of these are horribly wrong.
The hard truth is that buyers don’t really care about you whatsoever. All they care about is the product they bought and getting their problem solved as soon as possible.
They also don’t care whether you are a corporation, a small business or a sole entrepreneur. They don’t care. They want to be treated like a person who is being looked after.
And because of that, we can now change the auto message to reinforce their loyalty.
Not only do you reinforce the customer’s loyalty, you can do it better than ever before.
I call this ‘The Loyalty Reinforcer’.
On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
White House Office of Consumer Affairs
Here’s how it works.
- We don’t need to be the best at Customer Service. To be thought of as ”GREAT,” we just need to provide the service over the standard expectation.
- We don’t look for perfection. We try to delight at least ONE customer every day by responding within an hour.
- Shortening response times should be more than a goal; it should be a standard of practice.
- The way that you write needs to reflect that they are a human being.
- The way that you write needs to be the way that you would talk to a friend.
And just like that, a single area of customer service has just become infinitely more powerful than before.
Let’s focus on the first point.
To be thought of as “GREAT,” we just need to provide the service over the standard expectation.
According to Forrester Research, 41 percent of buyers expect an inquiry response within 6 hours. Just 36 percent of retailers really respond that quickly.
Consumer Reports surveys have also shown that nearly 91 percent of customers will not purchase from you again if you botch the first encounter. It was even shown that two-thirds of customers have left a store when they felt the service was “crap”.
Small business success is highly dependent on the satisfied customer.
So the first step here is to be a little better than average. If you really want to turn them into a loyal customer, then you have to respond within an hour.
We will get into the language you use to speak to them in a minute.
Step #2:Easily turn a buyer inquiry into a loyal customer by using this method
Have you ever struggled to turn an existing customer into a loyal customer?
I bet you have. And it isn’t your fault. I literally tested 1,000 different types of inquiry responses to find the best way to do it.
This was a huge challenge because I didn’t want to test “how many” loyal customers we could get, but rather I wanted to maximize “how much revenue” we generated from each new loyal customer.
So we tracked and input each buyer’s purchase history into a CRM and measured the result.
5,000 buyer inquiries later we have outperformed all other sellers by a huge margin.
We typically see a 500% increase in the number of multiple purchases as a result of a promptly replied inquiry compared to a standard customer service practice.
Can you guess what one of the biggest factors was that contributed to the increase in multiple purchases?
I’ll give you a second.
Yep, you need to respond to customer inquiries 24/7.
The team should be able to work around the clock including public holidays.
IMPORTANT: The language that you use when speaking to customers is really important. We will go into that in the next step.
Step #3: Speak to your customer like this
Now that you know that you have to respond to your customer in a timely manner, you’re going to make them feel like they know you.
Remember, your fast response time and 24/7 support team will be way more effective than anything else in the market.
So after that, you can turn an unhappy customer into a happy customer.
Now let’s crank it up to the next level.
All you have to do is get them comfortable with a more relaxed communication style.
Luckily we have one language which is supported by different devices and different countries.
And it is called Emoji.
I know that it sounds stupidly simple and it is. If you want to have more repeat buyers, then you’ll listen to this piece of advice.
In most cases, you can create a more positive customer experience simply by dressing up your punctuation. Consider the following two support emails, which use the same grammar but different punctuation:
Compared to the second email, the first almost sounds like I’m annoyed that the customer got in touch, doesn’t it?
That second style is much more informal. It’ll probably get a better response because people like dealing with people.
Face to face encounters like these don’t require such explicit friendliness (you wouldn’t smile at a client two feet in front of you and yell “I see what you’re saying!). Tone and body language convey meaning that text alone does not.
Without that extra meaning, email suffers from the negativity effect, wherein the recipient interprets the message as more negative than the sender intended.
These additional cues, like the smiley emojicon, can help the sender convey a positive tone the recipient may not otherwise assume.
For those who worry, as I did, that these friendly overtures may come across as frivolous or unprofessional, additional research shows that subject matter experts who use emoji icons are seen as more “friendly and competent” than those who don’t.
Different styles for different contexts
If your customer initiates the conversation with a greeting like “Hey folks!” that’s a decent sign you can exclaim and emote to your heart’s content in your reply.
Unless your company inherently imply seriousness — say, wealth management or funeral services — your written customer communication can probably benefit from a friendly emoji and an exclamation point or two. Run your own experiment: How do your customers respond when you convey unmistakable happiness to hear from them?
You know where our money is.
THE BIG PROBLEM: YOUR TIME
If you implement all of these strategies, then you would provide the best customer service in your industry. This would cause your eCommerce business to really grow, and then you would be working 24 hours a day — but it’s just not feasible.
What you need to do is put a team in place that you are able to scale up the more inquiries you get. The team can handle as many as you like.
If you implement all three steps, this is what you are going to get. Your team will:
- Respond within an hour.
- Be available 24/7.
- Be nice via email, treat buyers like people and speak to them in a way that people can relate to.
Those are the three things that will make you really successful but it does require all of your time.
Step #4: You only have two choices
At this point, you now have two choices.
Choice #1: Take what I have given you and attempt to do this by yourself.
- Respond to customer inquiries within an hour.
- Be on 24/7.
- Respond in a way that relates to them.
It will give you an amazing result. It’ll be difficult but it’ll be worth it in the end.
It might take you a few months or maybe even a year to totally perfect it.
Or you can take choice #2 — the choice smart eCommerce sellers take.
You can simply let me take care of everything.
I’ll train and hire the whole Customer Service Team for you and I’ll do it for FREE.
We’ll handle daily email inquiries and pre-sale & post-sale customer support. We’ll help to spot and remove your bad reviews in the marketplace or on social media, AND communicate with customers who have problems with the purchase, AND manage their return requests if needed.
We’ll even provide you a FREE CRM tool to integrate into multiple marketplace accounts where you can take full control of the customer service team and your buyers.
Can you imagine never having to worry about customer service again?
And one day when you want to sell your online business, you’ll be able to retire much sooner than you expected since it is such an automated customer service handling the machine.
I only say this because I have seen it happen before.