Engaging your customers Article 6: Providing online customer service

And here is article number six of our series: providing online customer service. Indeed, your customers don’t just pay for your products but also for the service that is provided during and after the purchase process.

When purchasing online the customer is often left on his own without the advice or help of a knowledgeable salesperson. In fact one of the top eCommerce fears in America is that of making a bad purchase decision since there was no sales person present  to suggest a product that is fit for the customer’s  needs (source: www.census.us.gov. 2010).

If you manage an eCommerce website you cannot overlook this important aspect and must always seek to satisfy your online customers by assisting them throughout their shopping experience.

In an eCommerce site you can still answer your customer’s queries and provide a superior online customer service. This can be achieved by first selecting the right customer care employees and using various eCommerce features and tools.

Choosing the right customer care employees for your online store

When opening a physical store we make sure that we employ the right sales persons with the adequate knowledge of the product, pleasant personality and great customer skills.

With an online store these aspects cannot be overlooked. Therefore you must attempt to establish a relationship with the client on the store by employing sales persons with the right product knowledge and communication skills. Don’t forget that in the online environment there are added barriers when providing a service as your salespersons are not meeting your customers in person. To cater for this key shortcoming you can use some of the following ideas that can help to provide a superior customer service experience;

1. Make sure you have a comprehensive FAQ (Frequently asked Questions) Page.

  • Ensure that a link to the FAQ page is clearly visible in the footer section of your website.
  • Make sure that the most popular and useful Questions are listed first.
  • Make sure that all the contact details are visible in this page so in case the customer does not find the answer he is looking for in this page he will still be able to contact your customer service team.
  • Try to categorise the questions and make the categories clearly visible in the top section of the FAQ page.


amazon help page

  • Make sure that a customer is able to locate the FAQ pages from the website’s quick search section.

You can create page re-directions and synonyms in case a specific term is used interchangeably, for example ‘shipping’ may be used as a search term for your ‘delivery’ page. In this case you might opt to create a page redirection so every time your customers search for ‘shipping’ they will be redirected to the ‘delivery’ page.

Many eCommerce solutions, such as Magento, offer the synonym and redirection features and they make it easy to identify any misspelled or similar search terms that may be used by the website’s visitors.

2. Live chat solution

Having a Live chat solution on your eCommerce site will allow your sales people to automatically interact with online visitors and answer their queries on demand.  Sales people will also be able to get in touch with the visitor on the website and ask them if they require any help. Popular Live chat solutions such as LiveZilla also archive the chats, identify the geographical location of the visitors and even track the keywords that they used to arrive to your site!

3. “Contact us” form

Make sure you have a “contact us” form with different subjects for the user to choose from. Ideally the system will then send the form’s details to a different email address based on the subject that was selected by the visitor. This will ensure that the email is sent to the right department and will reduce the time required to answer your visitor’s queries.