E-commerce is 24/7. A customer who wants to purchase a product does not need to wait until the store opens the next day. They can place an order any time they want, even in the middle of the night. The immediacy and availability of it draw consumers to it.
Availability Is a Must
While in most of the world, traditional brick and mortar stores still reign over the market, year after year, e-commerce is growing. In the Philippines, e-commerce is expected to be valued at 12 billion U.S. dollars by 2025 as more Filipinos go online and access digital products and services.
The success of e-commerce is making availability an important selling point for many consumers. They do not have the patience to wait until office hours. They want a customer representative to speak to them and address their needs.
Moreover, the biggest brands in the world have raised their expectations. They no longer are comparing your response to those of your competitors. They look at the experience they had from a hotel or a restaurant.
Nowadays, it is no longer acceptable to take days or even weeks to respond to emails. They want the business to communicate within a few hours at most.
It is a huge problem for businesses, especially small ones. Humans, after all, need rest and sleep. Your customer service team cannot be around 24/7.
What can businesses do?
Offer Multiple Channels for Communication
Businesses need to provide multiple channels from which consumers can communicate their inquiries. The traditional and most common is by phone. A customer who has concerns or complaints will call a number. A receptionist will answer and use an IP PBX telephone system to connect the caller to the right department or individual.
But, outside of office hours, when no one is available to receive the call, the customer can request assistance through email or social media. If a customer representative is not available to respond, most businesses instead send out an automated reply, telling the customer that their message has been received. Businesses can also include links to the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page to answer basic inquiries and free your customer service team from responding to the same questions repeatedly.
Say When You Will Respond
Even if you cannot respond immediately, your customers will feel comforted knowing that they will receive a response.
Waiting can feel unbearable if there is no assurance that their concern will be addressed. The longer they wait for a call or an email, the more ignored and abandoned they will feel.
A survey conducted by American Express in 2014 found that customers will only wait a maximum of 13 minutes. After that, they may hang up without resolution, stop a purchase, or become really frustrated, which will only make them unhappy with the transaction.
So, instead of contacting them out of the blue, tell them when they can receive a response and stick to it. Therefore, it will assure them that their concerns will be addressed and, therefore, might look at the customer service and the business more kindly despite the wait-time.
Why Businesses Need to Provide What Customers Want
The adage, “the customer is always right,” is not applicable to all situations but, in customer service, it is. If the customer does not want to wait for the business to troubleshoot the issues that they raised, they will take their money somewhere else.
Losing clients is obviously not ideal, but many might not know that it is also expensive. Existing data reveals that it is more expensive to try to win the attention and support of new customers than retain old ones. According to research conducted by Hubspot, customer retention of 5 percent increases profit by as much as 25 percent. Most consumers will spend more on a brand that they know and trust rather than a new one they have never transacted before.
In addition, customer service is marketing. Those who are happy with a transaction with a business are likely to recommend it to the people in their circle. By making one customer happy, they gain the trust and support of a couple of other potential consumers.
Consumers have higher expectations from businesses now. If years ago, it was normal for customers to stay on the phone, waiting for an operator to take their call, nowadays, it will create frustration that they may air on social media. A business that cannot be available 24/7 needs to figure out ways to keep its customers happy.