24 Feb Customer care for eCommerce: What it looks like and how it fits in the journey
by Kim Georgeton
Did you know that the average eCommerce conversion rate hovers around three percent? That means for every 100 online store visitors, roughly three of them turn into store customers.
For managers like me who enthusiastically accept the challenge of implementing technologies that create a better shopping experience for online customers, these numbers are enticing. But I can’t lose focus on the main goal: to create a satisfying, pleasant, and fulfilling online shopping experience for customers.
Fortunately, technologies such as live chat, video chat, and AI offer intuitive ways to incorporate a customized, personalized, and easily accessible resource for customers that enhances their buying experience.
At Simplus, we use Salesforce Commerce Cloud to help brands launch sooner and reach more customers with personalized features. Don’t let the ease of using this technology fool you. This platform is capable of transforming what is sometimes a complicated process of identifying, analyzing, and providing the services customers want by creating innovative customer experiences that result in higher conversion rates and brand loyalty.
Let’s discuss the three main technologies that are impacting eCommerce.
Convenience. Easy problem-solving. Fast. What’s not to love about live chat? And data shows we do. Data collected by a digital Customer Service Benchmark survey found that out of 2,000 consumers, 73 percent prefer contacting a company through live chat. Just over half (61 percent) of those surveyed like using email for support and only 44 percent of consumers list phone support as their preferred form of customer service.
Live chat benefits the company as well. Leveraging Salesforce Commerce Cloud enables your business to expand your market reach, offer faster solutions for customers, and ultimately increase sales. Customer data from any source can be viewed in a single data profile, which leads growth-driving insights and intelligent audience segmentation—all at your fingertips.
Using live chat also creates its own data that can be used in a variety of ways. For instance, by sorting chat histories, a company can uncover common customer pain points and adjust customer service policies to address those issues. Score one for your business!
Sometimes the easiest strategy for helping customers is by showing them. That’s the advantage companies such as ClairVista have experienced when using video chat. “In addition to being more secure than many text or email support options, online users are getting used to video being part of their experience with a company,” says Kelsey Jones, senior product marketing manager at Salesforce. “This makes it the perfect time for customer support teams to start leveraging video to create a better customer support experience.”
Video chat technology is relatively new on the eCommerce scene, which gives companies that use it a competitive advantage. Paired with company policies that enable customer service reps true problem-solving authority, such as a frontline authority to offer free shipping or product discounts to satisfy a customer’s requests, video chat helps strengthen relationships. “Video instantly creates a more personal connection, which personifies your company and can increase the trust value of your support team,” adds Jones.
Chatbots and AI technologies
Ah yes. It’s the virtual Tesla of online customer service tools. Just imagine customers opening up a page to discover a product line that caters exactly to what they were searching for. Or being able to virtually see how a couch may look in their living room, experiment with a shade of lipstick or hair color or custom-design a pair of cross-trainers. That is the magic of AR/VR and intuitive technologies.
Heavily promoted at last year’s Dreamforce in San Francisco, Salesforce’s Einstein AI, which launched in 2017, provides tools to give your business an edge in predicting what customers want. “Powered by advanced machine learning, deep learning, predictive analytics, natural language processing and smart data discovery, Einstein’s models will be automatically customized for every single customer, and it will learn, self-tune, and get smarter with every interaction and additional piece of data,” explains Jim Sinai at Salesforce.
Can you connect with customers on social channels as well as websites? Yes. And those interactions help improve those consumer connections. But intuitive technology also extends digital shopping into the physical store and prevents lost sales with endless aisle and powerful clienteling capabilities.
As customer care evolves, I believe there will always be a need for the human factor. And my job is to help adapt standard customer service methods to work together with new technology.
For example, today’s purchasing powerhouse—the millennials—prefer to shop at stores. They like having the technology, but they also enjoy the sensory experience of visiting the store. And they aren’t alone. “According to a new survey by A.T. Kearney, consumers ages 14 to 24 overwhelmingly prefer to do their shopping in stores,” reports Jasmine Wu of CNBC. “Eighty-one percent of Gen Z respondents said they prefer to purchase in stores, and 73% said they like to discover new products in stores.”
Finding a way to connect with these up-and-coming consumers, who love the smell of new merchandise as much as they love a good touchscreen, is a new and exciting direction for eCommerce. And by exploring new angles for companies to benefit from live and video chat as well as AI and other technologies, companies can almost smell retail success. Perhaps in the future, they can taste it, too.
Kim is Simplus’ Managing Director of Commerce and Marketing Cloud. She leads a team of 24 architects, developers, designers, administrators, and specialists on all things Commerce and Marketing Cloud. She has over 20 years of experience working in retail ecommerce, marketing, and merchandising. Kim is an expert on digitally scaling businesses of all sizes and industries.