June 25, 2021
  |   Customer Service

How to Turn Customer Service Into a Sales Driver

Customer service traditionally played the role of support, mainly focusing on resolving customer complaints. Today, the customer service role is much more integrated into the end to end customer journey. They’ve gone from problem solvers to concierge type roles as they take more proactive and reactive actions.

Bain & Company found that companies that prioritize customer service experiences see revenue grow between 4% and 8% above their market average. With access to the right tools and customer data, the customer service team can use each customer interaction as an opportunity to drive sales, improve the customer experience, and build loyalty. Loyal customers are also nine times more likely to convert compared to a new customer, which stresses the importance of brands delivering convenient and personalized experiences to boost retention and sales.

With our partners at Gorgias, we gathered top tips for turning your customer service into a sales driver.

Prefer podcasts? Listen to our interview with Rachel Fefer, Director of Enterprise Partnerships at Gorgias, about the latest customer service trends in ecommerce.

 

Pivot Customer Service to Conversational Commerce

Conversational Commerce transforms the customer journey into a two-way dialog to capture your customers’ needs and lead them to a conversion. Channels like video conferencing, SMS, and Live Chat allow customer service representatives to proactively engage with shoppers while shopping online rather than waiting for them to reach out with a specific problem.

Tapping Into Customer Data

While it’s easy for a sales associate to welcome a customer and ask questions about what they’re looking for, it’s difficult to replicate this one-on-one experience online without the right data. Unified customer profiles offer a 360-degree view of the customer no matter where they shop with the brand or retailer. Having this information easily accessible means the customer service team can initiate valuable and meaningful conversations.

For example, you can use order history to identify brand superfans and make recommendations based on past purchases and site behavior. An ecommerce helpdesk allows you to organize all customer tickets in one place and see shopper information right beside the ticket—no more wasting time digging for data.

For more insights in enhancing every step of the customer journey—from the homepage to returns—download our Complete Customer Experience Report.

Tools for Personalized, Human (or Human-Like) Interactions

While many customers still use phone and email to contact customer service, modern shoppers expect to be able to reach the brand’s support team in their preferred channel—whether it’s social media, email, or chat.

  • Live Chat: According to Gorgias, Live Chat is the leading digital content method. You can use Live Chat can to engage with shoppers and provide relevant content while they’re browsing the site and checking out to reduce cart abandonment. Microsoft found that consumers prefer chats to be human to human interactions versus a bot, but leveraging a machine learning helpdesk and macros (canned responses) allows you to reply to customers automatically in a human-like interaction. For example, commonly asked questions like “What are your payment options?” and “Do you accept returns?” could easily be automated.
  • Social Media: Social listening tools allow you to track sentiment towards your brand and identify positive and negative customer feedback. By tapping into these insights, you can optimize the end to end customer experience and identify leads. For example, a potential customer leaves a comment on an Instagram post saying, “I love these pants!” You can use that sentiment to reply, “We love them too! Check your DM’s for a surprise,” then send the customer a $10 gift card.
  • Phone: When done right, phone provides an accessible, quick way to resolve customer questions while expressing empathy during the interaction. Gorgias found that companies with phone support have a first response time that’s seven times faster than merchants that don’t offer phone support.
  • Email: Research shows that six out of ten consumers prefer to communicate with brands through email instead of social media. It’s a convenient option that enables shoppers to send a brand a message without sitting on the phone or waiting for a response on chat. However, delaying responses by hours or days can add to a customer’s frustration.
  • SMS (Text Message): Most people only text a handful of people regularly, making SMS a highly personable channel to interact with customers. Messaging around items left in cart, promotions, and exclusive deals will keep your brand top of mind when a shopper isn’t on the website. A helpdesk tool will help you send text message blasts, respond quickly and personably, and keep messages organized within a single platform. 

Scenarios For Customer Service to Drive Sales

Scenario 1: Shopper Browsing the Ecommerce Site

While a shopper is browsing the ecommerce site, check their customer profile to identify past shopping behavior and purchases. Based on the information, make personalized product recommendations with links to the items.

Scenario 2: Shopper Wants to Return an Item

First, make sure there are options beyond calling customer service to initiate a return, such as Live Chat, link to FAQs, helpdesk, or a self-service feature. Whether they contact customer service directly or use a self-service feature online to return the item, it’s critical to capture feedback. 

Once you know the “why” behind the return, follow up with personalized recommendations or next steps. If the item didn’t fit, offer to ship a new size immediately. If the product arrived damaged, offer a discount or credit towards their next purchase, in addition to the refund, to make up for the poor experience.

Scenario 3: Shopper is Checking Out

Various studies have the average cart abandonment rate between 60% and 80%, but engaging with the customer via Live Chat during checkout can help minimize this. When you’re easily accessible during checkout, you can answer questions around anything that’s holding them back from completing the purchase (i.e., payment options, available promotions, or shipping time).

Scenario 4: The Customer Has an Upcoming Birthday

If a customer has a birthday coming up, send them an email or chat with a personalized promotion. It’s personal touches like this that can increase customer loyalty and retention.

Scenario 5: Customer Messages a Brand Via Social Media

If your Live Chat is integrated into your social media channels, you can seamlessly communicate with the customer, provide relevant links, redirect customers back to the store, and ask for information like an email address to nurture or upsell.

As a company’s frontline to the public, it’s no surprise that a great customer service experience can help drive sales, brand loyalty, and customer satisfaction. If you need help implementing new customer service tools or you’d like to outsource your customer service team, we can help. Reach out to Blue Acorn iCi and check out the Gorgias Helpdesk.

Shannon Abel
After graduating from Clemson University, Shannon started her career in marketing, focusing on content creation and engagement. As Blue Acorn iCi’s Senior Media Marketing Specialist, she keeps brand and retail professionals up-to-date on the latest trends and news in the digital customer experience space. She also produces and hosts Blue Acorn iCi's podcast, The Funnel. In her free time, she enjoys walking her dogs and hanging out at the local breweries in Charleston.
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