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The Complete Guide for Managing Customer Support Escalations

Tag: customer service

The Complete Guide for Managing Customer Support Escalations

The Complete Guide for Managing Customer Support Escalations

Offering the highest level of customer satisfaction is one of the main motives of any business. However, despite the best efforts, businesses are likely to face customer service-related issues. In order to manage these problems, it is important that customer support escalation procedures are put in place and are adhered to. Here are the pointers which can ensure that your business addresses the customer service related issues in a prompt and efficient manner.

Structure it Well: A large number of client complaints may be resolved at the first or second level of customer support system. So, it is important to design your customer care system in such a way that the volume at the top level is kept to the minimal. An ideal tier structure may provide answers to frequently asked questions at the first level while the second higher level may service issues such as basic troubleshooting and other complex problems. These hierarchical levels may be equipped with different tools to provide efficient services. The basic level may employ only customer portal while the second level may use phone and live chat tools. On the yet higher levels, you may need to use customer relationship management software for providing solutions to client issues.

Customize the Support System: While the basic structure of customer care hierarchy may remain same across different organizations, it is imperative to tweak the system to suit the requirements of the target customer segment. Some of the important variables in this regard are the turnaround time and the mode of communication. In B2B organizations, time may be a crucial factor and therefore it should be ensured that customer complaints are escalated and addressed in a timebound manner. The communication must be done in a clear and precise manner.

Team Effort: Customer complaint management requires employees at different levels to coordinate their activities. The system requires input from various departments such as IT, sales and billing to provide adequate solutions to customers. For each case, the system should clearly define the role and obligations of each department involved. Team cohesion tends to be stronger when all the members know their roles and duties. Customers will also receive the best possible solutions to their issues when different constituents pool together their expertise and resources.

Maintain Proper Record: As important as it is to have solid redressing system in place, it is equally important to keep a proper record of the issues and their respective solutions. Ideally, the organizations should have a real time monitoring system in place for efficient control. With the help of proper records, the management is in the position to analyze the system and its performance. If there are any lacunae, then the management may take appropriate steps to fill the void.  The analysis of the records is also important to see if the proper procedures are being followed as intended by the management. Thorough documentation will allow the set up of metrics to evaluate the performance in an unbiased and objective manner. These records may also be helpful for future reference purpose, which may help in speedier redressing of similar issues, should they arise in future.

Be Proactive: Customer issue escalation process should be pro active so that the customers are assured of a positive experience. The process should be flexible enough to incorporate frequent and quick changes. This type of performance requires the active support of all the departments to minimize the occurrence of customer issues in the first place. Some types of customer issues management may require face to face interaction. However, you should endeavor to keep this to minimum. The standard procedures should be designed in such a way that there should not be any need to escalate the issues to such level. The communication methods and styles used for resolution should be tailored as per the requirements of the customers.

Customer support escalation management is highly important to ensure a rewarding experience for your clients. It should be organized in a clear and simple manner to facilitate the provision of quick administration of the right type of expertise. You should also evaluate your escalation management system periodically so that appropriate changes may be incorporated.

Multichannel Selling: The Right Move Forward or Too Many Things at the Same Time?(Part 3)

Multichannel Selling: The Right Move Forward or Too Many Things at the Same Time?(Part 3)

How you interact with the customers during and after a sale are also tightly controlled. Even outside these marketplaces, sales is expanding into the realm of customer service. As some studies note, as many as 88% of online shoppers say they are less likely to buy from you if you’re not responding to complaints or service requests posted on social media. This customer service element extends into order fulfillment too.

Nearly every channel has its own way of handling the flow and interaction with customers. Each has its own journey and process, which means you’ll need some salespeople to put those things in place.

The nice bit is that a lot of this can be automated after the initial setup, so you’re not always trying to force a sale with a specific individual. However, the other side of the automation coin is that it’s got to be set up correctly or you push everyone down a path that’s not optimized to sell.

Order Fulfillment

E-commerce warehouses are in the news often because of conditions customers don’t want to hear about — that doesn’t happen everywhere, and we’re working to show your buyers that it’s not the norm. The reason that this unnamed behemoth gets so much attention is because of its reach and how it changed the online conversation to always be about two-day and same-day shipping.

For multichannel sales, that means having the ability to get things out the door. It’s leading more and more businesses to just outsource the warehouse part of their operations because of the complexity that comes with fulfillment. You not only need a system that can take all orders from all sources and combine them for your warehouse, but you have to keep things in stock, monitor inventory demand changes over time, hire people, fill boxes correctly, negotiate rates with carriers, and be able to handle when a product is returned or an order is canceled in the middle of it being picked and packed.

That’s a lot, and each new channel makes it more complicated. It’s often even too much for a single third-party fulfillment company to handle for everyone. Red Stag Fulfillment only works with about 12% of the e-commerce companies we speak with because of how much things like product size and weight or the number of orders you ship can dictate costs and efficiencies. We do refer that 88% to some other great fulfillment companies and they’re in this list of the best fulfillment companies for 2019.

Each carrier will charge you differently for your products based on weight, size, location, and your overall volume. At the same time, warehouses have different prices for these and other factors. It gets overwhelming quickly, and it’s why we always suggest that e-commerce companies looking at multichannel fulfillment have conversations with multiple warehouse and fulfillment companies. Some might be cheaper to ship from while others are cheaper to store at and understanding that can be the difference between having enough money to expand your marketing or going to the bank to try and secure a loan. You’ve got to ask.

3 Thoughts to Help You Decide

Research. Research. Research.

Okay, that’s one thought, but we’re having it in at least three distinct ways. To understand if the opportunity is there, you’ve got to research your customers, costs, and metrics.

In this thought process, customer research is mainly about who your audience is and where they operate. Are they shopping for goods like yours on multiple sites and channels? Do they purchase on these channels, or do you require so much research that most sales still end up happening on your website?

Typically, there’s no good reason to choose every channel. Sure, it’s tempting, but your audience isn’t everywhere (even if you want them to be). Do your homework to find out where the buyers are and seek out the channels you need to reach them.

Our second research point is about the costs you’re facing. Every new channel adds complexity, and that can be expensive. You’ll need to expand marketing budgets to grow across those channels — even if you’re not buying ads, it still takes people to post on social and respond to customer concerns quickly. Expertise is costly, so narrowing down your list of channels and then looking at related costs can help you find the best spots you can afford.

In your selection process, remember that everything costs. Your fulfillment company may charge more for adding new channels, or you might need to buy new software to integrate your store and warehouse with whatever is new. If you’re targeting a brand-new channel, you might need to pay to have a developer create custom support too. Everything costs money, but budgets aren’t unlimited.

The final research we’ll leave you thinking about touches on everything else here: data. Track everything you can think of and use it to inform all the other decisions and choices we talked about today. There’s a lot, and here are a few highlights:

  • Customer data can help you understand if your old targets are still valid.
  • Product performance can give you insight into the channels that work best for you, especially ads.
  • E-commerce platforms can help you understand search volumes and if you need to switch up your keywords.
  • Warehouse data can show if you’re getting orders out on-time and correctly. It can also highlight what gets returned.
  • Channel specific data can show you when interest on a channel — especially around search and hashtags — is growing or dwindling, marking signs for a change.
  • Competition data can help you find trends that your data hasn’t identified yet.

That’s the tip of the data iceberg, and there’s definitely a whole lot more lurking beneath the surface. Multichannel selling represents a significant opportunity for many, and it’ll come back to your audience and the data you have around them to see when it’s worthwhile to expand.

About the author

Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an ecommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of ecommerce. He has years of experience in ecommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.

Launch Your First eCommerce Website : Shipping and Customer Service  (Part 4)

Launch Your First eCommerce Website : Shipping and Customer Service  (Part 4)

Focus on Shipping and Customer Service

This is the closing part of the transaction where the goods are delivered to the end customer. As the adage goes, All’s well that ends well, it is prudent to ensure a good customer experience on the shipping and service front so as to ensure repeat customers.

Thus, it is vital to have a well-defined shipping and packaging strategy in place. The order should be capable of continuous tracking, even by the customer with timely status updates. The following are the available options in managing order shipping:

  1. Managing the Shipping function

It would be a good idea to have an in-built shipping and order management feature in the e-commerce portal. This is a good step in the direction of transparency as well. Th customer would be able to select the preferred shipping method and pay accordingly. Some websites also have the option of priority delivery, in which case the customer can pay extra charges towards a particular shipping mode. The shipping tool can also be used to conveniently print packing slips and labels

  1. Shipping software and printing

It would be a good idea to have pre-tie ups with logistics partners that have a reputation of timely delivery. Often these third-party vendors also offer free installed software that are helpful in knowing the status of and the expected time of delivery. These pre-installed software can also aid in accurate labelling of the goods as per customer specifics. For example, some e-commerce merchants offer customized greetings on the labels, if the product is to be delivered as a gift etc.

  1. Advanced Order Management delivery Software

One may also consider cloud-based software that would provide real time information as to the rates being charged by various carriers for comparison with support for additional functionalities like drop ship order or inventory status like whether the goods were damaged in transit etc. Some carriers also offer insurance facility.

Important aspects to bear in mind:

  • Size and weight matters: The e-commerce merchant should select the shipping tool based on the business model. In case of shipping a few items in pre-defined box sizes and weights, it would be best to opt for an in-built shipping tool in the website with basic features. However, in case of shipping box sizes that different, managing multiple delivery channels or offering drop ship facility, it would be prudent to select an advanced shipping software with various features to cater to growing and diversified business needs.
  • Think today for tomorrow: Experts advocate opting for a shipping strategy based on the business needs of tomorrow. E-commerce business generally witness growth spurt and it might be difficult to upgrade shipping tools at a later stage. Often the shipping software have a lower price for initial plans which can be upgraded to the higher advanced versions as per business growth. This way one can compare the freight charges and the customer can choose the best based on cost-quality parameters.
  • Packaging options: The freight charges are largely dependent upon the size and weight of the goods to be shipped. The different types of packaging are standard boxes, mailers, envelopes, customized boxes with branding, subscription crates for high value or delicate items. To save on costs, it is important to select small sized, light weight packing materials that serve the purpose of protecting the goods during transit.
  • Customer service: Another important aspect is customer service post-delivery. It may often happen that the customer is dissatisfied with the condition of the product delivered or has changed his or her mind about buying the product. In such a case, it is imperative to have a website feature that records and captures the revised status of the transaction and ensures prompt refund to the customer in valid situations.

In conclusion, it might be a good idea to have the shipping and customer service function as part of the e-commerce website rather than outsourcing to a third party. This way the quality is assured. An efficient and prompt delivery has a long-lasting positive impact on the customer and would translate into further orders in the future.

In this series we walked you through the main steps to set up one’s first e-commerce portal. There is a no one size fits all approach. It’s prudent to test and try out different options, before deciding upon the unique mix that works best for one’s e-commerce business.

How live chat can help drive conversions during the holidays

How live chat can help drive conversions during the holidays

Holiday sales continue breaking different records every year and businesses have come up with innovative techniques to cash in on the shopping craze. According to the National Retail Federation, online shoppers spent $19.62 billion between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday. In 2018, projections indicate sales will increase by 15.3% and as an online business owner, you have to adopt new strategies to leverage these enticing holiday sales. One of the most effective strategies you can adopt to increase conversion is live chat. If you have not yet integrated live chat into your e-commerce store, you need to read on to find out how this strategy can boost sales conversions during the holiday season.

  1. Convert potential leads with faster responses

If you have ever tried shopping online and you needed quick assistance, you know how frustrating it can be to start filling forms. Internet users have an infamously short attention span and if you cannot offer prompt assistance, they will quickly turn away.

As an online store owner, you know that every visitor is a potential lead and you cannot afford to lose them due to a slow response. Through live chat, you have a chance to retain potential leads on your website and convert them into buyers.

  1. Provide an exemplary customer experience

One of the reasons many people still go to brick and mortar stores is because of the personal attention they receive. That human connection is crucial for many shoppers and it is a challenge for online stores. However, with live chat, you can now overcome that challenge and provide that human connection by being there for your customers.

Shoppers love the idea of seeing an active live chat because they can ask any question and receive prompt feedback. Customer experience is one of the easiest ways of increasing conversions on your e-commerce website.

  1. Reduce shopping cart abandonment

Almost 70% of shoppers abandon their carts and this is something that should worry every online business owner. You see, customers need guidance on many phases of the purchase journey and if you are not available, they will move on to the next high ranking competitor. For instance, if you take payments online and they would like help with an alternative payment method, live chat would easily solve that problem.

The shopper will not find a reason to walk away. Reducing shopping cart abandonment rates directly impacts sales conversions. If you want to boost conversions this holiday season, it is time to deploy a live chat system at your online store.

  1. Increase customer satisfaction rates

The e-commerce business environment is highly competitive and if you want to stay ahead of the pack, you have to offer a satisfying shopping experience. Now, you might have the best online store in your niche but if your customers have nothing good to say about it, you are in trouble.

High customer satisfaction rates show in reviews and recommendations. Many shoppers read reviews and check customer satisfaction rates before shopping from any store. Research now shows that live chat can keep 96% of customers happy and this is an incredible achievement for your business.

Simply put, installing a live chat system on your e-commerce store boosts customer satisfaction rates, which in turn enhances customer loyalty. Ultimately, you will notice an increase in conversion rates over the busy holiday season.

  1. Leverage bots to drive conversions

If you have stretched your resources thin and you have no one to operate your live chat system, you can use live chatbots to offer helpful responses. This is an innovative way to help customers instantly even when you are not around. For instance, a live chat bot can recommend a page for a potential lead for more details. This reduces bounce rates and increases conversions.

How to optimize your live chat system

To get the best out of your live chat system during the busy holiday season, you need to customize your chat widget to match your store’s style, prepare personalized greetings for your shoppers, hire a chatbot when not available, increase your working hours, and make sure your team has everything they need to respond helpfully to customers.

If you have already engaged a payment gateway partner to improve your checkout system, go ahead and enable live chat to improve the user experience at your online store. It is the most effective strategy to cash in on the mind-boggling holiday sales.

How to Use Customer Feedback for improving User Experience?

How to Use Customer Feedback for improving User Experience?

According to a report by Lee Resource, for every customer who complaints, there are 26 other unhappy customers who have remained silent.

This data shows exactly how important it is to understand what your customers are thinking. The only way you will know that is when you listen to your customers. Once you know what they want you to improve, you can decide how you can do it.

There are numerous ways to collect customer feedbacks, such as surveys, emails, product reviews, analytics reports, and so on. The question is how do you leverage customer feedback data to offer value to the users? Here we discuss ways to utilize customer feedback to derive maximum value and ultimately, enhance user experience and propel the growth of your organization.

Creating customer-oriented Products

Evolving trends and data analytics can give you an insight into what to create for the consumers. But customer feedbacks will provide extensive data like desired features, defects in products, problems with the processes, and so on. As customers are using products and services on a daily basis, they can identify areas that have a scope of improvement. They can give you ideas that you might have skipped in the planning stage. Identify customers who leave detailed and practical feedbacks, and invite them to collaborate and innovate with your team.

Discover New Possibilities

Reading customer feedbacks lets you analyze the demands of the consumers, thereby, instigating you to develop a new range of products and services. The emerging needs of the society compel consumers to ask for more. They discuss their problems and write about ideas or features in the reviews, surveys, and feedback forms. It’s your responsibility to assess available information, have a discussion with the team, and determine the future course of action.

You can also engage with the customers on the community forum, blogs, and ask technically-inclined individuals to review and submit feedback. This is a great way of accumulating crucial information.

Engage with Customers

Customer feedbacks are not just about spearheading innovation and development. You can actually use customer feedbacks to strengthen bonds with your existing and new customers. For example, if customers leave either a positive or a negative feedback on the product listing, engage with them, appreciating them for rendering a positive response and addressing their grievances in case of a negative response. When you engage with the customers, you build trust that will be fruitful for your business in the long run.

Moreover, you can request satisfied customers to refer your products or services to their contacts on social media or by personally communicating with them. This is an excellent technique of mouth publicity to grow your sales.

Addressing Bugs

The research and development wing maybe doing a commendable job when it comes to designing products, releasing updates, and integrating new technologies. But the customer feedback shows the real image when it comes to overall experience with respect to a product or service. For example, if the majority of the customers complain about the payment gateway process, you should dig further and identify the weak areas. Based on reviews, you can learn about the bugs that can be addressed. This will improve the quality and also prevents any blunders in the future.

Building a Roadmap for the Future

If you are a businessperson, you must have a long-term vision to establish your brand. However, your roadmap may not be aligned according to the customer expectations. You have deployed everything to be on the right track. But if customer feedback is not on your list, do it right away. The feedbacks will generate enough data for you to determine and implement the future course of action. Let’s say you are into payment gateway services, and you have got some feedbacks about integrating UPI payments. You can consider this suggestion and incorporate UPI options for taking payments online, a clear sign of product improvement.

 

Your customers are human beings, influenced by emotions. Try to engage with them emotionally to know about their genuine views, ask for ideas and improvements, and enhance their experience. This will establish your credibility, thereby, paving the path for your success.