Why E-Commerce Customer Support Breaks (and How to Fix It!)


Everyone knows that customer support can make or break your business. With consumer expectations constantly on the rise and technologies to improve e-commerce transactions constantly improving, consumers expect personalised responses on multiple platforms.

According to a Parature Customer Service Survey of 1,000 consumers, 65 percent said they’ve cut ties with a brand over a single poor customer service experience. Your customer support is essential in order to establish an excellent reputation and a loyal customer base.

E-commerce companies that engage with customers on multichannel platforms are winning the customer support battle, with customers on social media platforms proving to be the most loyal, spending up to 40 percent more with these companies. It’s no longer enough to be a regular customer support superhero. Social media is the customer support platform of the future, which means you have to nail multichannel support now.  

In this post, we’ll tackle some typical customer support issues and outline the best methods for you to adopt to ensure that your business is providing the best possible customer support experience.  

Why Is Customer Support So Difficult?

Is your customer support team bogged down by an influx of customer requests every minute? Struggling to keep track of multiple queries from multiple sales channels?

Customer support is a difficult job — and it’s an integral part of your company’s reputation. It can be particularly challenging if you’re managing multiple channels across marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Newegg, or your own webstore.

The best place to start is recognising that your customer support team members are the star players in your company. They are your most important brand ambassadors because they have direct contact with your customer base. If your team doesn’t have the right tools for fast and effective responses to customer queries, then your reputation — and your revenue — will suffer. So how can we solve some of these customer support issues?   

The Essentials: Order Information and Customer History

One of the best ways to save time on answering queries is to streamline your customer support.

The first step is to bring all your support queries from multiple selling channels into one central inbox to help you see the full picture of your customer support process. In order to provide your customers with fast and efficient responses, you also need to be able to see all of your product order information, shipping status and customer details displayed within each message. This will help you to reply faster and smarter to your customers.  

Let’s take a look at a few ways you can cut down on your average response time.  

Reply Faster: How to Cut Down Your Response Time

Cutting down average response times is important because customers expect fast responses — the more efficient the response, the happier your customers will be. If you’re selling on Amazon and/or eBay, response time is a key metric that these platforms consider. Cutting down your response time can greatly improve your chance of both winning the Buy Box on Amazon and reaching Power Seller status on eBay.

Cutting down your average response time is essential when it comes to your customer support team. The more efficient your team is with their time, the fewer agents you need on your team and the less cost to your business.

One of the most effective ways of reducing your response and resolution times is by making use of customer support templates.

In addition to responding faster to customers, it’s also important that your customer support team communicates with each other. Here’s a tip: leave each other notes on your queries so that the next agent can easily resolve a query if it re-opens.

So, do you want to increase your seller rating? Then it’s in your best interest to shape up your customer support.

Reply Smarter: Get Personal With Your Customers

Responding quickly is important, but you shouldn’t sacrifice the human touch.

Building up a positive reputation with personalised support is one of the best ways to try and transform your customers into loyal brand ambassadors for your company. If you receive a poor review or negative feedback from a consumer — don’t be afraid to say sorry. Humanise your response by personally reaching out and apologising — give the customer the interaction that they crave. According to a study conducted by Nottingham University’s School of Economics, consumers are twice as likely to forgive a company that says sorry following a poor customer support experience over one that offers them cash.  

To begin, use a customer’s first name in an email or a message response on social media. Be sure to refer to any information that you have about them to give you a personal edge, and tell them that you will do everything to ensure that their next experience with your company will be a positive one.

Show your customers that you value their business and they’ll want to engage with your brand again. A customer’s buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated by the company. A staggering 90 percent of customers who have had an unhappy experience are not willing to do business with that company again. Be friendly and be approachable — your consumers will relate to you if you show that you care.    

Collaborate With Your Customer Support Superheroes  

In order to manage customer support queries on multiple platforms, it’s essential that you work with your customer support team so you can ensure that you’re all on the same page.

You need full visibility across your customer support team — assign your specialist agents to specialist queries and track their average response time. Assign a particular representative to a specific customer request; if a French-speaking customer wants to chat to a French customer support agent, just assign the incoming query. Problem solved. A streamlined customer support process ensures that your staff divide their time in the most cost-effective way possible. Having accurate data means that you can make more informed decisions about your business.

Remember, your customers expect consistent support from multiple channels. Whatever platform they choose to contact you on, the expectation is always the same — they want a fast and effective resolution. If you want to succeed and be a customer support hero, then you need to give your customers what they want.

Aideen Kerr is an e-commerce Specialist at XSellco, a leading provider of e-commerce Help Desk tools. She is passionate about research and content, and loves identifying new trends in customer support and e-commerce growth.

About XSellCo:

XSellco is a leading provider of repricing, feedback and e-commerce help desk solutions. XSellco integrates seamlessly with ChannelAdvisor, allowing you to manage your products, orders and e-commerce customer support in one place.