Online shopping is on the customer's terms like never before. The digital experience is no longer experienced in moments, but in a months-long journey. This transition is challenging Shopify sellers to better understand their customers and create immersive experiences that cater to peoples’ individual wants and needs. In a world where consumers can jump to another brand at the drop of a hat if they’re not satisfied with your experience or service, it’s critical to improve your Shopify customer service as quickly as possible.
For Shopify sellers to win, consistency and personalization must be entrenched in the service that constitutes the overall digital shopping experience. Put another way, it won’t be enough for Shopify merchants to sell products—they’ll need to sell customers a complete experiential journey. Failure to do so won’t lead to customer frustration, it will lead to customer abandonment.
That being said, the biggest change regarding Shopify customer service and the overall digital experience is that consumers are becoming more savvy in the use of technology, especially in post-purchase. Shoppers are becoming more comfortable with brands communicating via multiple channels post-sale about everything from order tracking to return processing—they really value the transparency that this depth of communication provides.
In ecommerce, it’s extremely important to provide customers with as much information as possible because they’re rarely seeing, touching, or experiencing the product in-person before they buy. Unfortunately, many Shopify merchants underperform in this regard which is why they’ll see customers regularly engage in bracketing (the practice of ordering multiple sizes of the same product, keeping the size that fits best and returning the rest). This gets even more complicated for Shopify sellers who work in apparel, as different garments, different cuts, and different materials might come with their own nuanced fit.
Above all else, shoppers want convenience—it must be easy to buy and easy to return. Providing this is critical to the provision of top-notch Shopify customer service. Failure to make it easy for the customer to either buy or return means they will take their business elsewhere, even if it means paying a premium to get the convenience and transparency they want.
How can Shopify sellers make life easier for their customers?—One of the simplest things they can do is adopt convenient, return drop-off points. For a mom who works full time with two kids, it’s tough to get errands done during normal business hours. So, the ability to drop a return off at, for example a CVS at 9 p.m. (rather than trying to get to the post office during the day when so much else is going on) is extremely helpful and appreciated.
There are two prevailing trends that every Shopify seller needs to pay attention to.
Trend #1?—Social media is now a Shopify customer service channel.
Whether it’s customers replying to an ad on Instagram or Tweeting at your brand because of an underwhelming product experience, you need to be able to answer any and all social inquiries with speed and efficiency.
When a customer comments on a post “what’s your return policy?”, you must reply to that comment the same day (ideally within a few hours). While expedient replies might feel like an unfair consumer expectation, between paid ads, influencer marketing, and general marketing, the way brands are using social media to connect with shoppers, it’s only fair to assume shoppers are going to respond in kind.
That isn’t to say email-based support is going anywhere (it isn’t), but social media is the fastest growing category for Shopify customer service. So, it's really important from a brand standpoint to be everywhere your customers are…to be engaging and interacting with them on social media…answering those comments and questions through Instagram DM, Facebook Messenger, or whatever platform you’re using because consumers now expect to be able to interact and have access to you on social media, pre and post-purchase.
Self-service is all about making life as easy and seamless as possible for customers, especially in the way of returns and exchanges.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes—would you rather wait hours, days, or weeks to hear back from a support agent about your return’s status? Or would you rather just get the return submitted and approved all at once? The latter, right?
Having that level of automation—where a customer can effortlessly initiate their own return, exchange, order cancellation, etc.—is very important to today’s shoppers. If you empower your customers to solve issues on their own, they’ll reward you for it long-term.
For all Shopify sellers, repeat sales are of vital importance—the more repeat customers you have, the less you need to spend on acquisition and the less you need to worry about cash flow. To that end, making sure shoppers get information in a timely fashion is critical.
As a Shopify merchant, ask yourself how you can create more transparency for your customers?
How can you provide visibility into where orders are, whether it’s an outbound delivery or an inbound return?
If nothing's going to ship until Monday and you know you're going to miss a delivery window, proactively notifying customers is a huge advantage. Many retailers balk at being proactive because they don’t want to throw a spotlight on fulfillment issues, but this is a mistake. The customer is going to experience the delay whether you notify them or not—your only chance to make a good impression is by being honest about the delay and keeping the customer “in the know.”
Remember—your customer is a human being and people don’t like being kept in the dark. They want to know what’s going on. If things get screwed up, it’s not ideal but it does happen. As long as you’re forthright and transparent, shoppers will be pretty forgiving. In aggregate, this will help with retention which is of critical importance to all brands, but especially when the economy starts to slow down and consumers pull back on spending.
Retention can take many shapes, but with respect to returns you want to focus on getting rid of refunds back to the original form of payment. Instead, compel shoppers to accept something that’s more revenue friendly:
Doing so allows you, the Shopify retailer, to retain more dollars without much risk to customer loyalty.
One more thing?—Pay attention to your return rate.
How can you better enforce eligibility rules to keep your return rates down and your revenue protected?
What can you learn from customer returns that you can use to better optimize your supply chain, manufacturing, warehousing, product detail pages, and more?
While there are many different impact drivers and metrics that Shopify sellers can focus on to show success with customer service, one of the critical ones to pay attention to is how fast you’re responding to your customers. That is because one of the main frustrations shoppers have about retailers is waiting to hear back from customer support agents.
Customers want a fast, personalized experience and customer support agents play a major role in the provision of that experience. So, in addition to being transparent, be proactive. Given that the average brand has a 12 hour response rate, there’s a major opportunity to impress shoppers and win loyalty with more expedient replies. Automation, especially when blended with personalization, really helps leave customers starstruck.
Narvar strives to help Shopify sellers find the solutions they need in the least amount of time possible. Unlike other less able vendors, Narvar constantly adapts to the changing landscape of Shopify to allow merchants to provide their shoppers with a better customer experience. Narvar takes feedback from more than 1,2000 of the world’s biggest online sellers and uses it to improve its product offering for Shopify merchants. Narvar invests in building partnerships with world class technology providers such as Gorgias and Klaviyo to provide Shopify merchants with the strongest post-purchase experience possible and deliver real value in the least amount of time possible. Check out this case study to see how Narvar supercharges the Shopify customer service experience.