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What Is Self-Service & How Can It Benefit Your E-Commerce Business?


What Is Self-Service & How Can It Benefit Your E-Commerce Business?

It’s not a secret to anyone that customers interact with brands far differently than they did even 10 years ago, especially when it comes to customer service needs.

Today, customers actively seek independence by doing their own meticulous research before making a purchase decision. Some even search for the answers to their questions, such as shipping and returns policies, before reaching out to customer service for assistance. 

In fact, Zendesk found that 69% of consumers first try to resolve their issues independently before contacting customer service, but, sadly, less than one-third of companies offer self-service options such as a knowledge base. 

As we approach the craze of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday online shopping season, it’s more important than ever to optimize your brand’s self-service options and ensure that customers have everything they need throughout their customer journey to use them without intervention from a live agent.

5 Tips For Nailing The Self-Service Options In Your Brand’s Customer Service Strategy Before BFCM🛍️

When it comes to self-service options, it’s not enough to simply offer them. 

To make them truly helpful and allow customers to use them without necessary assistance from a customer service agent, we highly recommend testing each self-service resource to see for yourself what they’re like to use.

While you or your team members go through the motions of each resource, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask yourself:

  • “Would a brand-new customer understand how to track their own order?”
  • “Are our shipping & return policies clearly written and featured on each product page?”
  • “How easy is it to find an answer to a common question on our website?”

The answers to these questions may offer helpful insight into where your self-service options can be improved.

When you’re ready, use these 5 tips to optimize your self-service experience and set both your team and your customers up for success during the BFCM rush.

1. Regularly Update Your FAQ Page🙋

Before reaching out to a customer service agent, 73% of customers will search directly on your website for the answers they’re looking for.

However, 25% will only spend 5-10 minutes searching before they either contact your team or throw in the towel altogether by leaving the website.

Neither of these results – either clogging up support queues with repetitive questions from now-frustrated customers or losing business to a competitor – are favorable.

Instead, take the time to restructure your FAQ page to highlight the most popular questions first (based on data, of course, not assumptions) and organize questions into categories. 

When customers are able to find exactly what they’re looking for without interacting with your team directly, it saves your brand time and allows you to earn more sales at a faster rate.

2. Write Helpful Canned Responses For Chatbots🤖

Here’s a simple truth: chatbots are as helpful as you make them. 

If the canned responses offered by your chatbots don’t provide accurate information to common questions, include resources like FAQ pages or troubleshooting articles, or the functionality of the chatbot requires several responses before it escalates the issue to a live customer service agent, customers will quickly lose patience.

Chatbots are designed to act as an agent outside of business hours (or for customers who prefer to use them before reaching out to customer service), so optimize them to do the best job possible.

Use historical data from your helpdesk software to create canned responses to popular questions (written in your brand voice, please!) that provide accurate information and offer helpful tools to customers who prefer to handle issues independently. 

3. Include Inventory Counts On Product Pages🔢

Is there anything worse than adding an item to your digital cart only to learn at checkout that the item you wanted is no longer available for purchase?

The sheer frustration may be enough for some customers to abandon their entire cart – especially if they’re placing large orders of the same items as early Christmas gifts for friends and family. 

Thankfully, your brand can totally avoid this by simply adding real-time inventory tracking to your product pages. 

Inventory tracking apps on Shopify like ShipBob & Back in Stock help:

  • Offset fulfillment issues like canceled orders that your brand must refund
  • Drive greater urgency to purchase 
  • Reduce inquiries to your team about SKU availability 

As an added bonus, Back in Stock specifically is designed to send push notifications when items are back in stock to customers who sign up for restock alerts.

4. Offer Self-Service Returns🔄

Returns are inevitable in any E-Commerce business, even though they can be disappointing, which is why 51% of consumers will refuse to work with a business that doesn’t offer free (and easy!) returns. 

Therefore, take the opportunity to make your customer experience smoother for customers who need to return or exchange items by offering a seamless, self-service returns process.

Self-service portals like Loop allow customers to easily begin a product return or exchange process without reaching out to a customer service agent and waiting in a queue.

Overall, self-service returns are a total win-win for your business and your customers.

5. Allow Customers To Track Their Orders🚚

As consumers, we know the drill all too well. We place an order online, and from there, it’s endless checking and re-checking shipping and delivery updates to see when it will arrive.

Not convinced? Take it from the 80% of customers who want to track their order status not only online, but also on their mobile devices.

Without a self-service tracking system in place, the constant loop of “Where’s my order?” inquiries from eager customers will bog down your support queues by forcing customers to rely on your team for updates.

The solution to curbing delivery anxiety and increasing fulfillment transparency within your E-Commerce brand is allowing your customers to track their orders independently.

Though you should always redirect customers to an order confirmation page with their tracking info after they’ve placed an order, you can also enable automatic notifications via email or SMS that keep customers informed throughout the fulfillment process and allow them to check in on the status of their order at their convenience.

Optimize Your Self-Service Options To Empower Customers & Save Time During BFCM🤝

During the Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping season, E-Commerce brands typically see an exorbitant amount of traffic from early holiday shoppers. 

To truly make this busy time of the year count, partner with TalentPop to elevate your customer experience and smash your KPIs. 

In addition to our affordable customer service solutions that start as low as $8 per agent, we also match your brand with a dedicated Customer Success Manager to support you along the way.

Plus, with our flexible plans, you can scale your support up and down as needed throughout the year. 

Schedule a call with us today to learn how we can set your brand up for success for this upcoming BFCM in as little as 3 weeks.

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