The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people shop, work, and live. Driven by new circumstances, consumers are moving away from physical stores to digital shopping. In the US, for instance, e-commerce is set to grow by almost 20% in 2020 and similar trends are sweeping Europe, China, and other regions. The use of social media and messaging apps skyrocketed, too, as people try to stay in touch with friends and family while observing social distancing rules.
These changes pose a serious challenge for companies. They have to adapt to the surge in e-commerce, deliver products on time, and provide excellent customer experience, all while many of their employees work remotely. And as people feel ever more confident to engage brands online, businesses need to step up their customer service game and streamline digital support channels to stay competitive in the post-COVID-19 world.
Provide quick replies to customer inquiries
Profiting from the rise of e-commerce requires rapidly answering any questions customers might have. Some of them, for instance, may ask whether your product comes in different colors. Or, they might wonder what’s your refund policy for late delivery. Whatever their questions are, late replies are rarely tolerated.
In fact, around 90% of customers rate an “immediate” response to a support question as important or very important. Over half of respondents define “immediate” as 10 minutes or less. Although delivering on this expectation is a challenging task, it’s also a highly rewarding one as 73% of companies with “above average” customer experiences financially outperform their competitors.
Embrace various digital communication channels
The second pillar of excellent customer experience in e-commerce is making yourself available across different channels. Social media and messaging apps are now seen as a more convenient way to talk to friends, family, and even companies. Gone are the days when customers were willing to hold a line to talk to support agents. And with messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, Messenger, or Viber, processing over 40 million messages every minute, companies can no longer ignore the appeal of these channels.
One reason 75% of consumers prefer engaging with brands over social media and messaging channels is their asynchronous nature. People can start, pause, and resume conversations where and when they want. There’s no need to drop everything to take a call or tolerate long waiting times.
Make employees productive and satisfied
Digital channels benefit your agents as well. They can interact with multiple customers and be more productive. And instead of putting callers on hold, support teams can promptly acknowledge the receipt of an inquiry and then prepare an effective response.
But with some or all of your employees working remotely because of COVID-19, maintaining efficient customer service operations can become a challenge. You’ll need to streamline communication flows and track agents’ performance. Also, training newly hired remote employees needs to be done efficiently as well so that you’re capable of rapidly scaling your support team without damaging customer experience. These efforts will pay off as satisfied and well-trained employees can do a superb job of taking care of your customers.
Provide your team with advanced software tools
Allowing online shoppers to contact your team via social media, messaging apps, live chat, and other digital channels is a great way to win their loyalty. Quickly answering their inquiries is equally important. But your agents can only rise to this challenge if they have tools necessary to manage customer interactions, which is where Sparkcentral’s technology can be of great help.
It allows you to manage various messaging channels from a single platform instead of having to switch back and forth between different interfaces. Also, Sparkcentral integrates with existing software tools and CRM systems, giving you a 360-degree view of a customer. Inquiries can be routed to the right team members based on their skills or department, while AI bots and humans can work together seamlessly.
Managing agents becomes easier, too. The platform is not only intuitive but also enables you to add an unlimited number of agents, track their performance remotely, and improve team communication. As a result, your employees will become ever more efficient and happier.
And our customers — based in 21 different countries across 6 continents — can attest to these benefits. They use Sparkcentral’s platform to deflect calls and direct messages to AI bots and human agents, benefiting from reduced costs per interaction. They also report improvements across various metrics, including two to three times higher NPS.
Is your retail or e-commerce business ready for the new normal?
Want to take advantage of our technology and delight online shoppers with efficient support? Read all about Sparkcentral for retail or reach out to one of our messaging experts to discover Sparkcentral’s most advanced features.