How to improve your online customer service
Posted on: 09 October 2018
By: Amy Bruce, Software Specialist
How to improve your online customer service
Many businesses overlook the importance of good online customer service. Multiple studies show that a bad website experience or a site with poor design could be the deciding factor between purchasing from your company or going to a competitor. 75% of consumers admit that they judge businesses’ credibility based on their website, so having a good website design is key and can actually increase your sales.
All successful business owners understand the impact of great customer service in store. Managers will train sales colleagues to greet customers when they walk through the door, make sure they’re available to help customers if they need assistance and will layout the store so it’s easily accessible to encourage browsing. But do you think about the customer journey on your website to help increase engagement and sales?
A good, easy to use, website with great customer-focused features could be the difference between a sale or the customer buying from a competitor. Not only could your website layout determine the immediate buying decision, but it could also affect any subsequent online reviews left about your company. Did you know that online reviews have been shown to impact 67.7% of purchasing decisions? Without a good customer recommendation, much like in-store purchases, customers are more likely to buy from elsewhere.
It’s no doubt that good online customer service can help you drive sales, increase your online reputation and improve your customer retention, but where to start? Improving your website’s experience is easier than you might think and we have 5 top tips to help you boost your online sales.
Tips to help improve your customers’ online experience
-An easy and stress-free customer experience
You wouldn’t obstruct your trade counters entrance, so don’t make it difficult for customers to browse your website.
Ensure your home page is clear and concise and showcases exactly what your company is about. Your main menu bar should be easy to find and simple to understand so that a customer can easily navigate to the correct page for the product they need.
It’s important to structure your product pages so that a customer will easily know which category, product type, model or brand etc to search for to get the product they’re after. Better still, include a search bar on your site so customers can easily search the exact item they need.
Top tip: Include ‘related pages’ links on all your website pages. This gives customers extra content that may interest them or related products that they would also purchase, easily reachable from the page they’re already on. For example, if your customer is on a product page for a particular power drill, have a link to other power drills you offer or perhaps a power tool add-on, like a case, plus an information page such as a blog, that would be of interest to your customer.
- Consistent Branding
Your website is your online business card that will help you to showcase exactly who you are. Like your shop front signage, ensure your logo and brand colours are consistent on your website pages.
Colours improve brand recognition by up to 80% and consistent brand presentation across all platforms increases revenue by up to 23%. This means that if your colours, style and logo are consistent on all your online and offline channels including, leaflets, shops, website and social media, you’re more likely to achieve a sale.
Top Tip: Ensure all your graphics and images are of a high quality and fit for use online. Nothing can harm your branding more than out dated graphics, logos and low-resolution photographs. All your content that you put online needs to match your brand image and be kept up-to-date. If you update your logo, don’t forget to up date it everywhere it appears online.
Whilst it’s important for your online store to have multiple contact options that enable your customers to email, phone or direct message a query or an issue, it’s also key that the whole purchasing and invoicing process can be done seamlessly, without the need for help or guidance.
This means including a clear customer centre or passworded account that allows users to view orders in process, order history, billing and delivery details etc.
Make the re-order process for an existing customer easier by simply allowing a ‘re-order’ button to feature on their existing purchases. Ensure all customer details can be amended if they need to add a new delivery address or update a payment card.
These simple account features put the customer in control and makes the order process journey stress free and simple.
Top Tip: Include a ‘wish list’ that allows customers who are logged in to their account to save products they wish to purchase later in a list so it’s easy to find on their return. This saves customers time when returning and could increase the chances of add-on purchases.
-Deals & Discounts
There is nothing better for a customer than receiving a discount on a product or being rewarded for being a loyal customer with a money-off offer. It’s important to reward existing customers but to also attract new ones with seasonal deals.
This doesn’t always have to be money off deals either. Free samples or tickets to an upcoming event is a great way to reward customers, persuade them to return and entice them to interact with you more.
If you have a store wide deal, don’t be shy to advertise this on the front page. The deal could easily catch someone’s eye and persuade them to stay and buy on your site rather than try a competitor for comparison.
Top Tip: For loyal, long term customers, a great reward is to create a referral scheme. For anyone that purchases a product, based on an existing customer recommendation, offer a percentage discount for both the new customer and the existing user. That way you are retaining your customers and attracting new ones.
-Make them want to return
The value of a customer could be higher than their initial purchase if they are committed to your brand and continue to purchase goods from you throughout the year. All the above top tips can ensure a customer returns, but similarly, staying in contact with your customers can help.
Ensure you follow up with your customers after every purchase. Send them an automated email, detailing their recent purchase with delivery details and a thank you note. A thank you goes a long way, especially when money has been exchanged and a simple ‘thank you for your purchase’ can be really appreciated.
You could also try sending a reminder email to regular customers if they regularly buy an item at a particular time of year. A simple email to say, ‘don’t forget to restock your items that you purchased this time last year’ shows the customer that you know them and are personally offering a helpful reminder.
Top Tip: Personalise every email that you send out. You already know your customer’s company name, and most likely their personal contact details, so be sure to address the email personally to increase engagement.
OGL has a dedicated web development team that can ensure your website is performing at its best and has every feature you need to increase your online sales.
prof.ITplus, OGL’s flagship ERP business software system, seamlessly integrates with our eShop eCommerce platform, so that all your product and pricing data can be transferred and updated easily. Plus, all orders from your online store are treated just the same as offline orders to ensure your stock and delivery processes are simple.
The ways in which prof.ITplus can help your customers
Our integrated websites can be set up to allow customers to build up loyalty points each time they buy from you. We can configure the system to accrue points based on your preferences. Perhaps your loyalty points could amount to money off a future order, or perhaps they could be used to claim free products or special gifts.
-Manager Approval & Budget Control
eShop allows budgets to be set for each manager or site, so a certain amount can be spent per week / month / quarter without approval. So, for example, if you sell your products to a chain of care homes, it could be set up so each care home has their own online portal and monthly budget. Each care home can view their budget and how much remains at any time. If they go over their approved budget, it is sent automatically to an area manager for approval.
Your customers can have as many baskets in their portal as they like and save them under any name they like. The beauty of the “Saved baskets” feature is that your customers can then very simply reorder everything in that basket with just a few clicks, perfect if you have customers that order the same items from you on a regular basis.
We have the technology to allow your customers to view and order products you have for sale from within their own procurement application. In a nutshell, you can enable your customer’s approved items to be available (or to ‘punch out’) in their software so they can make their purchases without having to leave their own application.
-Online Channel Integration
You don’t even need an eCommerce website for this. We can integrate our prof.ITplus system with an Amazon and eBay account to open up a whole new world of selling possibilities.
For more information on eCommerce integration, contact our software team on [email protected] or gives us a call on 01299 873 873.
Transform how you do business Drive efficiencies and increase productivity with prof.ITplus, the fully integrated business software built and developed for wholesalers and distributors. Transform everything from your order processing, customer service, stock control, and warehouse management. prof.ITplus will help you to buy better, sell smarter. ...Find out more >
Grow your market indefinitely by going online Integrated fully with prof.ITplus Data is transferred with little user intervention Comprehensive online customer portal Reduce admin time with self-serve customer portal Online orders handled along with non-web orders Synchronised data flow between prof.ITplus and website All product information pop...Find out more >
Forgefix combines the power of prof.ITplus and ecommerce Forgefix is a long-standing customer of OGL Computer who has been using prof.ITplus since 2008 when they upgraded from its predecessor, Prof.IT. The upgrade came about following Forgefix’s recognition that it needed a new business software system to accommodate and ma...Find out more >