As an ecommerce store owner, opportunities to communicate directly with your customers may seem few and far between.
But every time a customer interacts with your brand, they're directly communicating with representatives of your brand — and it's vital for those representatives to maintain high-level customer communication.
Fifteen percent of U.S. customers say they’re likely to leave a brand after a single negative experience: That translates to a significant hit to your bottom line, and showcases the importance of getting communication right on the first try.
In this article, we'll cover the ins and outs of customer communication and its impact on the customer experience. If you want to start executing a customer communication strategy that will boost customer satisfaction and retention, here is what you need to know.
What is meant by customer communication?
Customer communication is any conversation that you or someone from your company has with a customer. In the context of ecommerce, these are typically customer support conversations, so great communication is one of the most crucial skills for your support reps to master.
Remember: Your customer support reps will often be the only humans from your company that customers communicate with, so you’ll want those interactions to be as positive as possible.
Why customer communication management is more important than you might think
Of course, it’s important to make sure that your reps actually solve customers’ issues. However, it's also important to present that solution using positive language, a personal touch, and other key elements of effective customer communication.
These techniques can leave customers more satisfied with your support, and can go a surprisingly long way to boost your customer retention and repeat sales.
Great support can also translate to better reviews and word-of-mouth, which can directly generate more revenue. Forty-seven percent of customers are willing to spend more at a business with higher reviews, and 41% say that reviews are the most important factor when choosing a business.
Common channels for customer communication: Pros and cons
Ecommerce brands might never meet their customers face to face. However, they can still communicate with customers using multiple communication channels, like email, social media, live chat, etc. — aka omnichannel communication.
Each of these channels has unique pros and cons regarding the customer experience each delivers. That said, let's take a closer look at each channel to help you decide which ones you should use in your omnichannel communication strategy.
Phone support tends to be time-consuming for customers and support reps alike. However, the big advantage of phone support is that it is ideal for resolving more complex issues that require a lot of back-and-forth communication.
Phone support is also ideal for handling sensitive customer interactions where a human touch is especially important. Check out Gorgias' innovative phone support solution to get started providing high-quality phone support.
Use cases for phone support
Email is a great communication channel for resolving issues that are not especially pressing or time-dependent. Offering support via email allows customers to contact your brand and receive a response at a later time without having to wait around in the meantime.
While it's still important to provide swift average response times when communicating via email, email support provides a little breathing room to your customer service team as well. Check out Gorgias' solution for email support to get started making the most of this communication channel.
Common use cases for email
SMS (also known as text messaging) is a customer communication channel that has been growing in popularity. SMS allows customers to contact your support team using a convenient communication channel they are already very comfortable with.
It also bridges the gap between phone and email support, offering faster response and resolution times than email support without being quite as involved as phone support. Check out Gorgias' SMS support tools to see how Gorgias facilitates excellent customer communication via SMS.
Common use cases for SMS
- Conversational support messaging
- Collecting customer feedback
- Alerts and notifications
- Short-form marketing campaigns
Social media is where your customers spend most of their time online, so why not use it as a customer communication channel? Social media messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger provide many of the same advantages as SMS, serving as a highly convenient way for customers to communicate with your brand.
Along with allowing customers to contact your brand using these messaging platforms, you can also use social listening tools to highlight comments and posts mentioning your brand so that you can respond to these as well.
Common use cases for social media
Live widgets such as Gorgias' live chat solution enable you to offer support directly from your website rather than utilizing third-party messaging apps. It also allows your customers to quickly and conveniently connect with a live agent for swift response times and a hassle-free experience.
Common use cases for live chat
- Resolving customer issues
- Eliminating obstacles that are blocking sales
- Provide self-service support (like order management and quick answers)
Pop-ups on your website
Website pop-ups might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of customer communication. However, these pop-ups can be great tools for broadcasting important messages to your customers. You wouldn't use them as a means of customer support, but they can be highly effective at announcing promotions or sharing mass updates.
Common use cases for pop-ups
- Announce sales or other promotions
- Share mass updates (such as shipping delays or service outages)
- Spark conversations with customers
Can automation help to humanize communication?
Automation can help improve customer communication in several impactful ways. In fact (though it might sound a little contradictory), automation can even help humanize customer communication by turning customer data into targeted, personalized messages.
Let's break down the benefits that this provides.
Convenience for customers
More than anything else, customers who contact your support team want their problems resolved as quickly as possible. Automation offers the advantage of instant response to common customer questions, boosting customer satisfaction without involving your support team.
Time-saving for agents
Speaking of your support team, they are sure to enjoy the advantages of automation as well. By creating automated responses to common customer questions such as "where is my order?", you can free up your team to focus more on complex support tickets. This provides a human touch where it matters most and reduces the time your team spends answering the same questions over and over again.
Automated customer support solutions such as Gorgias can personalize the support you offer to your customers by pulling in customer data like order numbers and tracking numbers. Gorgias can also provide reps with additional customer data, such as CSAT scores and previous support history.
This data can vastly enrich the quality of your support and ensure that each customer receives a personalized support experience that resolves their issue and improves your bottom line. Using Gorgias' automation tools, luxury jeweler Jaxxon not only saw a 17% drop in live chat tickets, but a 46% revenue boost.
8 best practices for achieving remarkable customer communication
Customer communication is vital to high-quality customer support and the customer experience at large. If you want to level up the quality of your brand's customer communication, here are eight best practices to employ.
1) Filter out simple queries and questions with automation
It's worth mentioning again the numerous ways in which automation can improve customer communication. With the right helpdesk, you can create automated Rules that provide canned responses to common customer questions.
Automation tools help provide swift, convenient responses to many of your customers while freeing up your support reps to give other customers their full attention and A+ effort.
2) Provide omnichannel communication for customers
Keeping with the theme of making life as easy as possible for your customers, providing multiple support options/communication methods is something your customers are sure to appreciate. In fact, 40% of customers won't do business with a company if they can't use their preferred support channels.
Offering a combination of communication channels such as live chat, phone, email, SMS, and social media enables customers to choose the channel that they are most comfortable with and the channel that is best suited for resolving their issues.
How to achieve omnichannel support
The easiest way to achieve omnichannel support is to use a helpdesk such as Gorgias. With Gorgias, you'll be able to connect multiple support channels in just a few clicks. Support reps get a centralized support dashboard where they can view and respond to messages across all of your support channels.
Learn more about how Gorgias empowers an omnichannel support strategy.
3) Implement customer self-service options
Along with utilizing automation to respond to common customer questions, you can make your support services even more convenient for customers by providing self-service options such as FAQ pages, knowledge bases, and community forums. These self-service options enable customers to find the answers they need without contacting your support team, improving the customer experience while also reducing the number of support tickets your team has to resolve.
Types of customer self-service options
There are numerous types of customer self-service options to consider implementing, including:
- FAQ sections
- Informative blogs
- Knowledge base
- Forums and communities
Check out our article on customer self-service to learn more about these options.
How to implement customer self-service
Implementing customer-self service entails choosing and then building the specific customer self-service options you want to implement. With Gorgias, you can easily create several customer self-service options, including a comprehensive knowledge base, FAQ sections, and self-service flows that you can add to your live chat widget.
4) Use chatbots for automated customer communication
Chatbots are a form of customer support that toe the line between customer self-service and traditional customer support. Technically speaking, they are self-service options since no live agent is involved. However, many chatbots are designed to make customers think that they are speaking to a live agent and are, at the very least, designed to emulate the experience.
Chatbots can be another helpful self-service option to offer to your customers. However, it’s best when brands are upfront with customers and make it clear that they are communicating with a chatbot.
Being upfront helps prevent sub-par customer experiences where customers believe they are communicating with a live agent vs. a chatbot (and thus have much higher expectations than they would have if they knew they were speaking with a chatbot). You can also use automation and quick answer flows in place of chatbots.
How to implement chatbots
There are plenty of standalone chatbot services for ecommerce brands to consider. If you are looking for a chatbot capable of integrating with Gorgias' live chat, we recommend checking out Ada.
5) Create a personalized customer experience
Seventy-five percent of consumers are more likely to purchase from brands that offer personalized online experiences. If you want to improve the quality of your customer communication, striving to offer more of these personalized experiences is a great place to start.
How to create a personalized customer experience
Using customer data to inform support and mentioning specifics in customer messages are two effective ways to provide your customers with personalized support experiences. Check Gorgias' Ultimate Guide to Personalized Customer Service to learn more about these and other strategies.
6) Solicit customer feedback and implement it
Customer feedback is an invaluable resource for further improving customer communication. Tools like email surveys to promote customer feedback can gather helpful information on how satisfied customers are with your support service quality. This helps identify opportunities for improvement and support agent training.
How to promote and implement customer feedback
Email surveys such as CSAT surveys are the simplest way to gather customer feedback, and you can incentivize responses to these surveys with discounts or reward points. You can then analyze the feedback you gather to identify recurring themes that might signal an issue that needs to be resolved.
7) Build relationships with customers with positive scripting
Positive scripting creates positive, brand-consistent scripts or templates for common customer issues and situations. While you don't want to script away your brand's human touch, utilizing these scripts to initiate or guide common customer interactions ensures consistent messaging for your brand.
How to apply positive scripting for customer success
Positive scripts can initiate customer interactions but shouldn't outline entire conversations — or they'll sound robotic. You should use these scripts as a training resource for your support agents, whether they're new to the team or need a refresher.
Make these scripts easily accessible to everyone on your support team and ensure that your agents know where to find them and when it's appropriate to use them.
8) Analyze the right customer satisfaction metrics and train your team accordingly
Customer satisfaction metrics such as CSAT score, customer effort score (CES), and customer churn rate (CCR) can all provide helpful insights into how your support team is performing. They can also make it easy to spot opportunities to optimize the customer journey for improved satisfaction and customer loyalty.
As you fine-tune your customer communication, track and analyze these important customer satisfaction metrics. You can then use their insights to guide your customer service training initiatives.
How to analyze the right metrics
Along with CSAT, CES, and CCR, other important customer satisfaction/communication metrics to track include first response time (FRT), internal quality score (IQS), net promoter score (NPS), and numerous others. Check out our article on how to evaluate your customer service program for more learning.
Unify and streamline your customer communication with Gorgias
If you want your customers to remain loyal and passionate about your brand then it's vital to maintain high-level customer communication. From enabling automated responses and all of the benefits they provide to facilitating live chat and omnichannel support, Gorgias empowers brands to improve the quality of their customer communication in various ways.
Take advantage of Gorgias' best-in-class customer support features today and be on your way to unifying and streamlining your customer communication.