Hiring For Customer Service

Hiring for Customer Service: A 6-Step Framework to Recruit Top Agents

Jon Tucker
Oct 4, 2023

Table of contents

Hiring For Customer Service

Hiring for Customer Service: A 6-Step Framework to Recruit Top Agents

Jon Tucker
Oct 4, 2023

When you say the word “growth,” most brand leaders think of customer acquisition, paid ads, or the newest marketing trend — probably something about TikTok influencers. And while acquiring customers is important, we know that truly sustainable growth comes from loyal customers, organic referrals, reviews, and repeat buyers — all of which stem from your customer experience. And at the core of that customer experience is your customer service team.

Your customer service agents spend more time interacting with customers than any other department, including marketing and sales. They manage VIP customers, repair at-risk relationships, and have the opportunity to chat with customers at make-or-break moments (like right before a sale). In other words, your brand’s growth hinges on the quality of your customer service team.

We can’t offer any algorithms or magical software to find and hire talented agents. Hiring takes time, experience, and a strategic approach. That last part — a strategic approach to hiring — is what I’m here to provide. 

At, we run 24/7 live chat and customer service teams for over 100 brands. We’ve hired hundreds of customer service agents successfully and built scalable, robust customer service operations that provide great customer experiences and drive growth for brands we work with. 

In this post, I’ll walk through the framework we use step-by-step. My goal is to help you or your hiring managers simplify your customer service hiring process, find high-impact customer service professionals, and transform your brand’s customer service from a frustrating cost center to a seamless and scalable revenue driver.

But first, what’s really at stake here? 


Bad customer service will kill your brand

If you are like most ecommerce brands, you hire customer service reps when your team needs additional support to keep up with tickets. This purely reactive approach means your support team will always be buried in tickets or onboarding new team members. The constant scramble means they’ll never have the bandwidth to think strategically, improve processes, or work on higher-impact initiatives to help the business.

Here’s the snowball effect we often see. First, your agents become overworked with an ever-growing number of tickets to process each day. This endless sprint to keep up contributes to extremely high turnover in the customer service industry. According to Harvard Business Review, CS reps typically last a job for about a year. 

The snowball effect of bad customer service

As agents start to burn out and fall behind, customer service experience quality suffers. Customers feel frustrated with slow response times and often disappointed with incomplete or ineffective solutions from junior agents hired just a few months before. A downtrend in customer satisfaction is common with brands as they start to scale. 

Eventually, a poorly run customer service operation starts to have a direct effect on sales. First-time shoppers give low NPS scores and never develop brand loyalty. Customer complaints start to appear, scaring off potential customers, and referrals dry up. 

As the quality of service goes down, the cost of customer service goes up because you have to spend more time hiring and training customer service representatives that won’t be productive for weeks, if not months. Replacing an employee typically costs 1.5-2x their annual salary when you factor in all the costs, according to Gallup

The business sees these poor results and high costs, and refuses to invest in the department, which leaves them even more under-resourced. The cycle continues.

Great hiring processes can accelerate growth

A great customer service team (that’s not over-worked and under-resourced) will stop this vicious cycle. But beyond answering customer inquiries and managing ticket load, they’ll systematically improve your brand’s customer experience and, by extension, growth engine.

An excellent customer service team will create replace the vicious cycle with a positive one by:

  • Improving your shopping experience by collecting customer feedback, building self-service resources, and studying data for high-impact opportunities
  • Intercepting new visitors with proactive support to raise the conversion rate
  • Helping customers who have unsatisfactory experiences, winning some of them back
  • Encouraging happy customers to purchase more, leave reviews, refer new customers, and remain loyal to your brand
Customer service accelerates growth with repeat purchases, custoemr reviews and referrals, on-site conversions, and more.

Ready to learn how to fill your customer service positions with agents who will make an impact? Let’s get into it. Here’s our 6-step framework to hire the best customer service teams around.

1) Assess your customer service hiring needs

The first step to hiring great customer service reps is to shift from a reactive hiring process to a proactive one. When you hire reactively, you tend to rush hiring and training to get a body in a seat processing tickets as quickly as possible. Of course, this leads to low-quality interactions and dings to brand perception. By proactively forecasting customer service needs, you’ll have time to run a more thorough hiring process to find and hire the ideal candidate.

Here is a quick overview of how to forecast customer service volume:

  1. Identify the percentage of orders that typically turn into support tickets. For example, if you historically get about 20 tickets for every 100 orders then you can forecast that 20% of your future orders will turn into tickets. 
  2. Use the traction to ticket ratio to forecast how many tickets you expect to receive in the future, based on your sales forecast for the upcoming quarter or another time period. 
  3. Use the agent ticket capacity per day, accounting for PTO and sick leave, to determine how many agents you need to process that upcoming ticket volume. Account for ramp-up time for new team members.
Forecast hiring needs
Source: Gorgias

The three tips above are just a snapshot of a true forecasting process. Check out our framework for customer service forecasting for more detailed guidance.

Forecasting will help you predict your future needs and shift to a more proactive approach. Remember to give yourself enough time to conduct a thorough hiring process and onboarding program. If you anticipate needing two new agents in Q4, start collecting applications by early Q3.
Forecasting is just one strategy to understand when you should hire. Here are a few additional signals that could mean your team is understaffed: 

  1. Declining metrics: Each week, you should check on important metrics that measure your customer service management such as first response time, handle time, and customer satisfaction. If you start to see these metrics decline, it could mean your team can’t keep up with ticket volume and needs additional support.
  2. Team morale: As part of your customer service team meeting cadence, you should have regular team huddles, manager-led 1:1s, and anonymous climate surveys.  Managers should work to foster trust and open dialogue so agents can share their stress. Don’t be afraid to ask them directly about their workload. If agents start to report challenges, especially if the concern comes up across multiple agents, you may need to staff up. 

You may find that you need additional support, but you may not need to hire people full-time to solve the problem. You may be able to support your core team with other solutions such as:

  1. Efficiency improvements: If you’re like most brands, you’ve frankensteined together a customer service process, piece by piece. Consider doing a workflow audit to identify opportunities to improve the team’s workflow with process improvements, email templates, and customer self-service options. 
  2. Changes to coverage schedules: You may have the right amount of agents, but simply have a schedule that leads to ticket buildup. For example, if everyone is staffed M-F, response and resolution times will suffer over the weekend. Look into your hour-to-hour ticket volume, especially on conversational channels like live chat and phone, and schedule agents whenever you have peaks in incoming tickets.
  3. High-quality outsourced help: Hiring full-time employees is cumbersome and expensive, and sometimes more than you need. By working with a high-quality outsourced team, you can bridge the gap to have additional agents on a custom schedule or just for a season of high volume. 
  4. Overtime opportunities: If your agents are currently salaried, you could change them to an hourly model so they can earn overtime during busy weeks. Don’t make this decision without consulting the agents. They might be enthusiastic, but they might also dislike that your solution for being understaffed involves working more hours.


That said, you may conclude that you need to hire new agents. Here’s how to do it well. 

2) Create a target hire persona for the role

Before you start your search, I recommend taking some time to understand your hiring needs and describe your ideal candidate.

First, take stock of:

  • Everything the customer support team does today
  • Everything the team wants to do but doesn’t have the bandwidth for
  • Everything the team currently does that could be phased out with process improvement or recalibration of ownership

Once that’s done, you’ll be better prepared to understand:

  • What existing roles need to be filled or staffed up
  • What new roles need to be developed
  • What type of skills would match each of those needs — this is where your target persona comes into play
Take stock of the first list of bullets to understand the second

A target persona is a tool we developed to build clarity around your jobs to be done, the skills needed to accomplish those jobs, the type of person who would succeed in this role, and how you’ll measure that person’s success.

The value is similar to an ideal customer profile (ICP) for sales and marketing. By defining the core qualities you need ahead of time, you can create a sharper job description, distribute the job posting in more targeted channels, and decrease the time it takes to find the right person.

What to include in a target hire persona

Your target hire persona should include mission, outcomes, competencies, and culture fit

Below are the key sections to include in a target hire persona: 


  • What is the purpose of this position in your organization?
  • Why does it exist?
  • What will the role focus on?
  • Why are you hiring this person now?


  • How will you measure this person’s success?
  • How will you keep this person accountable to the mission described above?
  • Use specific, clear, and quantifiable outcomes to answer both questions above.


  • What experiences and qualifications should this person have?
  • What attributes and customer service skills will help this person succeed? (For example, is it more important to be organized or empathetic for your specific needs?

Culture fit: 

  • Separate from the role, what are the specific attributes that make someone a culture fit for your team? 
  • These will vary depending on the company, but it’s very important to define these so that you can screen otherwise qualified applicants if they aren’t a culture fit.

Customer service agent target hire persona example

We put together a full customer service agent target hire persona example that you can access and modify for your own needs. Consider revising the mission and outcomes slightly to match your needs, and adjust the target experience for your specific company.

Have questions? Feel free to reach out

3) Create a job posting that sells (and market it)

Once you have a target hire persona completed, it’s time to start marketing- yes, I said marketing, just like how you grow your business. 

Typically, when someone is hiring they simply put together a job description, post it on a few job boards, and work with the applicants that come in. This is especially true for customer service hires, which are unfortunately seen as low-value.

This approach leads to a small number of low-quality applicants. The kinds of A-players you’re looking for aren’t scouring job boards and responding to basic job postings — they’re likely crushing it at their current role.

Here’s how to create and distribute a job posting that reaches the right people and convinces them to apply:

Sell the role in the job posting

Remember, hiring is a two-way street. You have to impress the candidate just as much as they have to impress you. Don’t just publish a list of duties and requirements on a job posting website with an application link. Instead, sell the role (and the company) by using parts of the target hire persona above:

Checklist for an effective customer service job posting, listed below

Clearly explain the company’s current position, mission, and goals. Share a bit of the journey you’ve been on so far and the successes you’ve had. The right candidate will be excited about your particular growth stage and the opportunity to help you with the next leg of the journey.

Also, dedicate some space to selling your team and unique company culture. This doesn’t need to be all rainbows and unicorns: great candidates know building a great company takes hard work. But they should be able to get an understanding of your company’s unique values, priorities, and ways of working. Describe and share examples about how your teams collaborate, the level of autonomy, accountability, coaching, and support they can expect, and the general vibe of a day-in-the-life of your team. 

Finally, paint a very clear picture of what success looks like by sharing the outcomes and target metrics. This will ensure the applicants understand what you want to accomplish before your first conversation. Clear success metrics will also attract goal-driven people with an “I can do that” attitude. 

This may seem like a lot of work, but you’ll save time by getting higher-quality candidates quickly, and in the long run, having to rehire due to rushing into a bad hire.

How to drive a lot of quality applicants

An enticing job description gets you halfway to an inbox full of strong applications. Now, you have to get that job description seen by a lot of high-quality candidates.

Remember, great team members don’t typically spend their days scouring job boards to find a new job. You need to catch their attention in other ways to spark their interest in jumping ship and joining your brand.

Your job posting should be shared with your network, team, job boards, customers, and more

Here are multiple ways to drive a lot of great applicants for your role:

Publish on multiple job boards. For example, if you are working with a remote team, consider publishing on WeWorkRemotely or If you are hiring locally, leverage a few different job boards such as or to get the best coverage. LinkedIn is also a good option for both local and remote hires. If possible, make the extra investment to make a premium or boosted posting. And, especially if you are in a challenging niche, consider specialized job boards and communities. The Support Driven Slack community, for example, has a job board for ecommerce community service positions. 

Another best practice is to share the role with your network. Send a few messages to peers who may know someone fit for the role and publish the posting on your social media. Also, encourage your team to do the same — they’ll be working with this new hire, after all. Again, don’t just copy/paste the link. Sell the role to attract the best candidates. 

Finally, involve your customers in the recruitment process. One of your customers may want the job or know someone else who could be a good fit. Customers who love and use your products have a great head start: they’re familiar with your brand, your shopping experience, and the benefits of your products. And since customer service skills can be transferred from many other types of roles, your customer base may have more qualified candidates than you expect.

4) Screen applicants async to avoid wasting time

A great job description effectively shared means you’ll have a steady stream of applicants. You might feel overwhelmed with the workload of screening applicants to find the right hire. And rightfully so: Applicant screening can turn into a lot of work if you do it with typical in-depth reviews of each applicant and blocking out time for interviews. 

Interviews are important, and we’ll explain how to hold a customer service interview below (including interview questions to use). But first, here’s how to effectively screen the large number of applicants you’ll receive to find the best possible hires. 

Quiz them on the job posting

Screening starts by gauging how well applicants read through the details of the job posting. If they’re not willing to spend the time reading and following the instructions on the job posting, odds are they won’t be detail-oriented in the role. 

By asking a simple question or making a request deep within the content of the job posting, you can quickly screen whether applicants read it. For example, you can ask applicants to start their cover letter with, “ready to rock!’“ This way, you can skip over anyone that didn’t catch and follow the instruction. 

Optional: Assign a micro take-home assignment

At, we skip take-home assignments because our hiring process is so thorough. However, since customer support agents spend most of their days writing, you may choose to request a short writing sample at this stage.

If you opt to include this step, consider keeping the writing sample very short — something applicants can complete in 10-15 minutes. However, be aware that more up-front work from your candidates means:

  • You’ll spend more time reviewing applications
  • You may lose some qualified job seekers due to a too-strenuous application process — but they likely wouldn’t be the most committed hire

Send them a common customer question or one of your most common customer problems. Give them resources like a knowledge base article and your policies so they have all the necessary information. At this stage, you’re looking for their ability to communicate clearly and empathetically. 

Request a brief video questionnaire

Rather than jumping straight to an interview, send a brief questionnaire to the applicant so they can tell you more about their experience in a short video message. There are tools such as Spark Hire that make this easy. But a simple list of questions and instructions to send a response using a screencast tool like Loom is just as easy. 

For the questionnaire, you should ask open-ended questions to get a sense of how their experience and capabilities fit your needs. You might also choose to include a fun, get-to-know-you question to get a better sense of their personality. 

Asking why they think they are the best fit for the role is a good starting point, as it gives them the ability to provide more context than they typically would in a text response. Also, this gives you the ability to compare their experience to the target hire persona. The way someone answers this question typically makes clear if they’re a fit at a high level.

Consider asking questions like:

  • Why do you think you’re the best fit for this role?
  • What are you looking for in your next role?
  • How are you looking to grow and learn?
  • What’s a mistake you made and learned from?
  • How would your friends and family describe you? 
  • If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

In their video response, you’ll see their communication skills, confidence, and personality — without having to schedule dozens or hundreds of 30-minute meetings.

5) Conduct two interviews to assess fit and experience

Interviews can be time-consuming. They take time to schedule and conduct, especially if you put too many people through the entire interview process. Multiple rounds of screening ensure you only invest time in the most promising candidates.

Ideally, your job posting results in hundreds of applicants. Your first screening (described above) gets you down to about a dozen, max. The first interview we’re about to describe gets you down to the single digits — about four or five. Then, you’ll only have to deeply interview those four or five candidates to find your new hire(s).

1) A quick interview to assess skills and mindset

Your customer service interview screening should be 10-15 minutes

This first interview is a brief (20- or 30-minute) phone call to learn more about each applicant's skill set, goals, and mindset. Skills aren’t the only prerequisite for success: True rock stars have a growth mindset and will look at this opportunity as the next step in a passionate career.

At the beginning of this interview, we like to build up the candidate’s confidence by saying something like, “We had ### applicants and you’ve made it this far, so you’re definitely a strong person for this role. We’re confident you’ll be successful regardless of whether you work for us or get scooped up by someone else.”

Then, you’re ready to start asking questions.

Questions to understand their goals and mindset

  • What does success look like for you a year from now?
  • What do you want to accomplish in this role?
  • What specific achievements will make you feel the most successful?

These questions should feel familiar, and that’s because they should roughly align with the mission and outcomes you chose in the target hire persona. Of course, candidates didn’t read that document so it’s unfair to expect perfect alignment. But they will help you understand which applicants are the best fit for your needs.

For example,  if your target hire persona was a systems thinker who can help with problem-solving and organization across your team, you might look for answers about strong processes and great teamwork. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a brilliant customer-facing agent, you might seek answers related to empathy and customer advocacy. 

Also, a lack of clear, focused goals at this stage is a red flag. If someone answers vaguely or responds with a variation of “I just want a good customer service job and your company seems great,” then they’re not going to be a rock star on your team.

Questions to understand skillset

Skills are a difficult thing to discuss. If the candidate prepared well, they’ll likely know what skills you need for the role based on the job posting and find ways to weave those skills into their answers. They may also have completed courses or customer service certifications that indicate what they can do, but it's important to go beyond that and get a sense of real-world applications of these skills.We like to ask a series of questions that force candidates to reflect on their skills in a slightly different way. Here’s how we get there:

  • We’re going to talk to a few people you’ve worked with at the end of the application process, should you make it that far. What’s a role you succeeded in, and who was your boss in that role? If we talk to them later in the interview process, how do you think they’ll describe you? What parts of the job would they say you excelled at?

Again, you’re looking for clear answers and alignment with your target hire persona. 

Second, gauge which parts of the job they’re least skilled and excited about. Here’s how we might get at this answer:

  • Now I want to understand the opposite. What are some things that boss would say you’re not great at? Or maybe, what are some things you’re capable of doing but don’t love?

To make this question a bit less intimidating, we usually share an example. We’ve often used the example, “I’m able to whip up some graphic designs for our website and they look pretty good. But graphic design is something I just hate doing. It’s a tedious process and I would rather have a marketing person handle that if at all possible, so I can focus on my strengths.” 

This question allows the candidate to essentially complain about select aspects of the role. You’re not looking to trick someone into disqualifying themselves from the running. However, you are trying to avoid a situation in which you hire someone to spend all week doing something they’d rather avoid.

Once they answer, consider asking follow-up questions to get more examples and context.

Questions to understand teamwork and self-awareness

  • How would past supervisors rate you on a scale of 1-10?
  • How would your peers rate you on a scale of 1-10?

These questions are quick and help you understand whether their previous answers were honest and self-aware. 

Ask them for the name of two previous bosses and two previous colleagues. Explain that you won’t reach out to those people yet, but might if you extend an offer. 

Once they give you names, ask how each person would rate them on a scale of 1-10 — insist on a single number for each. You’re looking for lots of 8s and 9s. If you see a trend of 7 or lower, that could indicate this person has — and may have oversold themselves when discussing their skillset earlier in the interview. Also, 10s across the board show a lack of self-awareness and growth mindset. 

By the end of this interview, you’ll have a solid understanding of whether each candidate’s skills and mindset fit your needs. Move the best candidates onto the final interview, thank the rest for their time, and invite them to re-apply for future roles — after all, each role should have a specific target hire persona, and they might just fit your next opening a bit better. To thank them for their time, you can also refer them to anyone else in your network that’s hiring.  

2) A deep-dive interview to know you have a great hire

Your longer interview should be 2 hours.

Each candidate that makes it to this final interview should be a pretty great fit for the role. Some companies might go straight to a job offer at this stage, but the risk of bringing on the wrong new hire still exists.

The deep-dive interview will last two hours. Two hours might seem like a big investment. But two hours is nothing compared to investing two or three months into a candidate before realizing you need to start the hiring process over because they’re not a great fit.

A deep-dive interview gives you a crystal-clear understanding of each candidate’s entire career history, their ability to communicate clearly and effectively in a long-format meeting, and their personality. After this conversation, you’ll have zero doubts about which candidate is your rock star.

Here’s how the deep-dive interview works.

Set up a two-hour conversational interview with a small panel

When you invite the candidate to this meeting, be clear about:

  • The goal of the meeting
  • The format of the meeting
  • The list of attendees

If you give the candidate some context behind such a long meeting, they can approach the interview with more preparation and less anxious energy. 

As far as the list of attendees, you can make a decision based on your team’s makeup and availability. If possible, we recommend inviting the hiring manager, a senior manager, and a peer to introduce the interviewee to the team they’ll work with (and vice versa). However, you can also run the interview solo if that works better for your team. 

A remote panel interview

Once you assemble the panel and schedule the interview, the long-form interview itself is quite straightforward and formulaic. Here’s what it looks like:

Discuss every full-time position the candidate has had, in chronological order

Start from the beginning of the candidate’s resume and discuss each and every full-time role in their job history. For early parts of their career (or jobs that are not related to your open role) you can move quickly through these questions. But it is important to discuss each role.

By digging into every single part of the candidate’s career with a standard set of questions, you will get a clear overview of how they’ve performed and what makes them tick. 

Ask the same set of questions for each position

What makes this interview process effective and simple is that you ask the same questions for each role. This gives the interview a conversational flow that produces powerful insights. Here are the questions:

  • What were you hired to do? This gives you an idea of the mission and outcomes they were hired to accomplish
  • What accomplishments are you most proud of? This helps you understand whether they accomplished those goals and what they value in terms of achievement
  • What were the low points of the role? This helps show the candidate’s self-awareness and growth mindset, and gives you a chance to spot red-flag trends — that said, recognize every job naturally has high and low points
  • Who was your boss? What was it like working with them? This gives you context for your reference call later on and tells you how the candidate likes to be managed

Together, these answers give you a good idea of their specific experience in customer service roles, their experience with handling a helpdesk and the challenges of customer service, and some insight into their soft skills that a shorter interview could never provide.

Don’t bother with a take-home assignment for these qualified candidates

Many companies will assign a test assignment this late in the process to do a final check on the skillset and quality of candidates. We don’t recommend a test assignment — especially at this point — because assignments are too simple to game and sometimes give candidates a bad impression of your company because you asked them to do “free work.” 

If you want to use an assignment, keep it short and earlier in the process. But at this point in the process, the deep-dive interview will give you much richer information. Specifically, it helps you understand what the candidate will actually be like on your team before you invest in onboarding and two or three months of work.

6) Use reference checks to get more context and certainty

Most people treat reference checks as a way to make sure the candidate told the truth on their resume and during the hiring process. That can be part of the process, but the greater value of reference checks is to get even deeper context into the candidate’s skills and work style.

Checklist for reference calls, listed below

Here’s how to approach reference calls:

  • Use the deep-dive interview to decide who to contact. If the candidate mentioned a particularly important or interesting relationship, success, or challenge, make a note to call their boss in that position to get more information.
  • Chat with references for 5-10 minutes. These conversations should be informal and conversation — you want the major takeaways about what it’s like to work with this person.
  • Give the reference person context. Start on a positive note, explaining that you’re hiring for a customer support role and the candidate in question seems like a great fit. 
  • Ask high-level, open-ended questions. Questions like “Is what they said true?” limit the conversation. Instead, ask questions like “What was it like working with this person?” or “What kind of role would this person excel in?”
  • Ask about strengths. For example, ask “What’s a project this person absolutely crushed? What responsibilities did they nail every time?” Ideally, the answers align with the candidate’s self-reported skills and strengths.
  • Ask about challenges. For example, say, “They mentioned [the challenge] at your company. How did they handle that challenge?”. Then, open it up: “What are some other areas of improvement for them?” By framing this positively as improvements, you’ll get more direct feedback about the candidate's rough spots. 

Each call takes fewer than 10 minutes but gives you valuable insight into the highs and lows of working with this person. Again, similar to the deep-dive interview, you’re looking for patterns across reference calls more than any single answer. If the candidate’s answers line up with the answers you get during the reference checks, the candidate has high self-awareness and emotional intelligence — both important qualities in customer service. 

By the time you go through the entire process with multiple candidates, you’ll be certain about the best fit(s) for your open role(s). And once you’ve run this interview process a few times, it will become much more efficient and much less daunting. 

Bonus: How to choose a start date and win over unsure candidates

As we mentioned earlier in this guide, hiring is a two-way street. You have to win a candidate over just as much as they have to win you over. Once you choose a candidate, here’s how to give yourself the best chance for an accepted offer and a successful start.

An illustration of an offer letter: "You're hired!"

Tips for sending an offer letter they’ll want to sign

If all went well, the candidate should be thrilled that you offer them the job. However, they may be considering other offers and it never hurts to demonstrate that you’re a thoughtful employer that’s genuinely excited about working with them.
First, consider giving them a call before sending the offer letter. Most candidates will appreciate hearing the enthusiasm in your voice and getting the news directly from the hiring manager, who they spent the entire process getting to know. Plus, you have the opportunity to get a verbal yes.

When you send the letter, give them a sign-by date. This gives them some parameters, adds a bit of urgency to the decision, and helps you develop a contingency plan with other top candidates in case your top choice declines the offer.

Last, consider asking everyone involved in the interview process to send a personal note to the candidate, especially if the candidate is on the fence. The candidate will end up working with these people, so an authentic and personalized note expressing excitement could make the difference between an acceptance and a declined offer.

Choose a start date that works for candidates and your business

Throughout the interview process, you should clarify when the candidates hope to start. Once you make the offer, don’t be afraid to encourage them to take a week or two off before starting the new job — they’ll appreciate the time off, plus it’s a signal that your company takes preventative measures against employee burnout. And if you’ve moved away from reactive hiring, this shouldn’t be too big of a hassle for your team.

Last, if you’re hiring multiple agents, work to start them on the same day. This way, you can onboard in cohorts, giving each new hire a buddy for support and companionship. Plus, you’ll save time by giving each training session once instead of multiple times for each hire. 

Master Hiring Customer Service Agents with and Gorgias

The hiring process isn’t about filling seats, it’s about building a team that strengthens morale, tackles challenges, and ultimately drives your brand forward. While it’s definitely possible to hire agents more quickly, quicker isn’t always better. A single bad experience with a customer service agent can cost you customers and damage brand equity. A team of bad hires can kill the future of your entire company. 

If you rush the hiring process, problems during onboarding, new-hire retention plummets, and the top talent you had before these bad hires start to leave. It’s better to invest time upfront to ensure you only hire A-player team members. 

Want help scaling your customer support team with agents who can provide an amazing customer experience and work with larger company goals in mind? HelpFlow runs customer service teams for over 100 brands and can help you level up your customer service operation. Check out our Gorgias Premier Partner profile and contact us today to learn more.

And if you’re struggling to streamline the workflow of your team and turn customer service into a profit center, check out Gorgias — the customer service platform built for ecommerce. Sign up for a free trial today.


Jon Tucker
CEO at HelpFlow
Author Profile
Jon Tucker
CEO at HelpFlow
Author Profile
Download your target hire persona template
Access and modify this template for your own organization, courtesy of the HelpFlow team

Recommended Articles

7 Ways to Improve Your Customer Service Response Times

0 min read . By Astaeka Pramuditya
By Astaeka Pramuditya

Modern customers have high expectations when it comes to customer service. One survey showed that nearly half of customers expected an email response from businesses in less than four hours. If your average response time is much higher than this, you could be losing out on a lot of business. 

Of course, meeting customer expectations regarding response time is often easier said than done. If your customer support team is struggling to keep up, the good news is that there are some effective ways to shorten your response times without having to hire a team of new employees.

In this blog, we'll discuss why a fast response time is such a vital component of great customer service and go over seven proven methods you can use to achieve a faster response to customer service emails and messages. 

What is a good customer service response time?

When a customer reaches out to you, you should aim for a first response time of one hour for emails, 15 minutes for social media messages, 40 seconds for SMS messages, and even less than that for live chat messages.

Why response times are important for customer service teams 

No matter what product or service you happen to be selling, creating a positive customer experience is an essential ingredient in the recipe for long-term success. While there is a lot that goes into creating a great experience for your customers, prompt customer service goes a long way. 

Here are a few of the reasons why achieving fast response times is such an important goal for your customer service department: 

1) Customers continue to demand faster responses 

More and more customers have come to expect near real-time access to companies across multiple channels. One Hubspot survey showed that 90% of customers rate an “immediate” response as important or very important when they have a customer service question. 

Furthermore, 60% of people who needed support defined "immediate" as 10 minutes or less. If your company isn’t responding to customer queries at least this fast, you risk falling short of expectations your competitors may be meeting. 

2) Poor response times reflect negatively on your company 

Fair or not, poor response times can hurt your brand image. Encouraging brand loyalty and return customers is a vital goal for any business, and poor response times can make this goal all the more difficult to reach. 

Keep in mind that customers expect fast response times since so many companies today can meet those expectations. If your company isn't keeping up with the customer service offered by the competition, it could damage your brand reputation among existing customers. 

3) Faster responses that lead to quicker resolutions can increase revenue

There are plenty of scenarios where responding to a customer query within a short time frame can lead to your business making more money. If a customer has a question about your product, for example, responding quickly before they move on to another product could lead to a sale you might not otherwise make. 

If a customer needs to return a product, prompt customer service could encourage them to exchange the product for another product or store credit rather than becoming frustrated and demanding a cash return. In instances such as these, fast response times that lead to quick resolutions can directly translate to more or retained revenue. 

4) Quick responses can boost customer satisfaction

Good customer service doesn't mean that you always have to solve a customer's issue on the first response. In many cases, simply acknowledging their email and letting them know that you’re working on a solution is enough to keep customers temporarily satisfied and buy your customer service team some time. 

Unless the issue is immediately resolvable, your goal in an initial response should be to acknowledge the customer's problem, let them know that you’ve assigned their ticket to a representative, and provide them with a time frame for when they can expect a resolution. 

Sending out an initial response that covers these bases can keep customers satisfied and patient while your team members work on their follow-up. 

Related: How To Measure Net Promoter Score (NPS)

5) Slow response times might increase your workload

Achieving fast response times may seem like a lot of work. Many times, though, slow responses can end up increasing the workload of your customer support team. If you don't respond quickly enough to a customer that needs assistance, they may end up contacting your company multiple times through multiple channels. 

This can lead to numerous support tickets being created for a single issue, bogging down your team and creating unnecessary confusion that could have otherwise been avoided if you had responded to the customer's initial query promptly. This is another reason it’s helpful to keep your average first response time as low as possible. 

How to reduce customer service response times

For all of the reasons listed above, responding to customer service emails in the shortest amount of time possible is ideal. Thankfully, there are many different methods you can use to speed up your response times across all your support channels that don't require huge investments or shifts.

1) Make sure you're measuring first response times 

Before you can test out solutions, determine what your average response time currently is (if you don’t already know). First response time is a crucial customer service metric to evaluate your team's impact because it affects revenue-related metrics like churn and retention rates.

To calculate the average first response time, all you have to do is add up all of your first response times for a given period then divide that number by the number of resolved tickets during that time.

Once you've determined what your average first response time is, you can then set goals for improvement and continue to measure your progress. Gorgias provides you with many analytic tools that allow you to track key customer service metrics, including average response time. By leveraging tools such as these, you can easily analyze your customer support team's efforts and set achievable benchmarks for more improvement.

Related: Customer Service ROI: How to Measure and Improve

2) Take advantage of customer service software

Responding to every customer email manually is a monumental task. If you’re still solely relying on traditional methods of responding to customer queries, achieving fast response times is going to be nearly impossible. Fortunately, there’s a wide variety of customer service software on the market today that can take a lot of the heavy lifting out of your workflows.

For example, help desk software allows your team members to see and reply to customer queries from any channel — like social media, ecommerce stores, WhatsApp, and SMS — from a single centralized dashboard. You can organize them based on factors such as the date and time received, priority, subject matter, and some other categories.

Customer service software also automates time-consuming tasks, like sending initial responses to customer emails. This is just a snapshot of the ways these platforms can help your team reduce your response times. We highly recommend leveraging software to optimize your customer support process. 

Related: Learn how Gorgias' support performance and live agent performance dashboards can help you measure


3) Utilize customer service automation for 24/7 service 

We touched on it briefly, but customer service automation can free up your customer support team significantly during business hours. It provides customers with immediate, automated responses that you can personalize to make sound as friendly as a manual response. These small measures free up your team to focus on more complicated and pressing tasks.

That’s not all. Setting up an auto-responder allows you to send customers an all-important first response any time you like. There’s no need for a live representative, and a quick response could prevent another ticket or message from piling up to deal with in the morning. Most software lets you automate responses and send them via email, chatbot, app notification, text and more. 

Recommended reading: Ecommerce Customer Support Best Practices

4) Use scripts and email templates 

Having your customer service team type out a custom response to every new email they receive from a customer is inefficient. In addition to using an auto-responder to send out an automated first response, one simple way to speed up your reply time is to make use of scripts and email templates

To build your scripts, start by identifying common questions and issues that your support team encounters most frequently. You can then create helpful boilerplate answers with blank spots to plug in customer details using your software or other tools. 

One pro tip is to look back at positive customer feedback or five-star interactions to get ideas. See which answers made customers feel heard and satisfied while also solving their issues quickly. For live customer support channels such as phone calls or live chat, you can create scripts for each FAQ that representatives can follow. 

Leveraging scripts and email templates ensures that your team members aren't having to type out the same response over and over again to commonly asked questions, enabling them to provide service in a more efficient and timely manner. 

5) Create a system to categorize and segment priority tickets 

Some customer support tickets should take higher priority than others. A customer that’s reporting a fraudulent purchase with their debit card needs a quicker response than someone who’s asking if there are any discounts they can use.

  • Start by prioritizing tickets that have been open the longest. These are the customers who may be growing impatient, or even angry enough not to shop or work with your business again.
  • From there, you’ll want to prioritize the most complicated or resource-intensive tickets. This helps your team get a head start on the tickets that could end up taking a lot of time to resolve. 

Beyond prioritizing tickets, it’s also helpful to categorize them if they share similarities. Grouping similar tickets together boost efficiency. For example, your team can come up with one main solution (create a new discount code because the previous one is buggy) and easily resolve the entire group of tickets in a single pass. 

If you’re making use of email templates, a single rep may be able to clear an entire batch of tickets in seconds or minutes.  

6) Offer multichannel customer support options 

Every channel where you communicate with customers — from your main phone line and website to messaging platforms like social media and live chat support — should include customer support options. Having multichannel customer support options offers a couple of advantages.  

For one, it makes it easy for customers to reach out and engage with your company wherever they are. You may be serving customers across demographics, from Generation Z to baby boomers, all of whom have different communication preferences. The customer’s initial outreach is their first interaction with your customer service experience, and it’s great to start on a note of convenience and ease no matter who the customer is. 

Setting up multichannel customer support options can also give your response teams quicker access to the requests that they receive, allowing them to organize by priority no matter where the request originates.

Recommended reading: Customer Support Metrics

7) Leverage self-service to reduce tickets 

Any time a customer can resolve their issue on their own is a success for your business. Customer self-service support keeps your team’s hands-free and prevents one more support ticket from entering the queue. Here are some useful resources you can provide customers: 

  • Company blog
  • Product instructions, how-tos, and video tutorials
  • FAQ page
  • Community forum 
  • Dictionaries or glossaries 
  • Case studies 
  • Knowledge base or help center

Equipped with this information, many customers will be able to answer their questions — and perhaps discover or try something new with your product. As you’re putting these resources together, think about how tech-savvy your audience is and how long they want to spend reading about their issue. 

With Gorgias Automate, you can improve your live chat widget with a self-service flows that let your customers track and manage their orders without any agent interaction. You can also enable a chatbot. Customers can type in their question or comments and the chatbot will pull up your content that matches those keywords. 

All of these tools combine to reduce the number of tickets your support team receives in the first place, which can ultimately result in faster response times for the tickets that do appear. 

Recommended reading on live chat:


Gorgias helps support teams reduce response times

We’ve covered a variety of ways to roll back your response times, but that’s not all these best practices accomplish. They also optimize your customer service workflow overall, ensuring your customer service interactions are positive and helpful and your team isn’t overloaded or losing time to repetitive, manual tasks. 

At Gorgias, we’re proud to offer a number of different customer service software solutions, from live-chat solutions to chatbot solutions, to email auto-responders. To learn more about how Gorgias can help you speed up your response times in a way that is affordable and hassle-free, book a demo today.

Chatbot vs. Live Chat Software: What's the Right Solution?

0 min read . By Lauren Strapagiel
By Lauren Strapagiel

Imagine leaving your angriest customers to spar with an automated script in your website’s chat window. Now picture your support team reading “Where is my order?” for the hundredth time and glancing at the clock, only to find six hours left in the workday. 

Who do you think is more frustrated?

Luckily, you won’t have to answer that, because these are completely avoidable problems. Once you learn the important distinctions between chatbot software and live chat software, you’ll understand how to use them both more effectively and lower blood pressures across the board.

Chatbots rely completely on automation and artificial intelligence (AI) while live chat software connects customers with human agents via a real-time chatbox. A third option, self-service chat, is an appealing alternative.

To determine which solution(s) is best for your business, let’s compare chatbots and live chat software and go through the top use cases for each.

What is live chat software?

Live chat support connects customers with human support agents who can answer their questions and assist them with any issues. When a customer opens the chat box on a live chat support solution, they are connected with a real person from the company's customer support department. 

Support agents then use live chat messaging to address customer inquiries and walk customers through the solution to their problem. 

Interested in getting live chat software? Check out one of these lists for tailored recommendations:

Pros and cons of live chat


  • Live agents have the knowledge base to answer complex queries and customer issues 
  • 73% of customers state that live chat is the most satisfactory form of customer communication with a company
  • Enables multitasking for support agents so they can assist multiple customers at the same time
  • The personalized touch of a real human can go a long way toward improving your customer satisfaction
  • Support agents can find opportunities to convert visitors or turn support interactions into additional sales 


  • Not available after-hours when your customer team is off the clock
  • More expensive to employ agents to respond to chats
  • Responses will be slowed down by high volume which impacts resolution times
  • Much of your agents’ time will be spent answering the same simple questions over and over


What is the difference between chatbots vs. live chat?

Unlike live chat software, chatbot software doesn’t connect customers with human agents. Instead, chatbot software connects customers with a chatbot that utilizes AI and machine learning to provide natural language answers to common questions. 

Automation assists customers with less complex issues and provides quick answers. Chatbot technology enables companies to reduce their average response time, and frees up support agents to focus on more complex queries.  

Pros and cons of chat bots


  • The ability to answer questions 24/7 without paying for agents to work around the clock. According to a survey by Drift, 64% of customers say that 24/7 service is the best feature of chatbots. 
  • Chatbots offer instant responses to common questions like pricing inquiries, improving customer experience with quick resolutions to common issues
  • Chatbot solutions are a highly cost-effective option, as they allow companies to resolve more customer issues without having to hire new customer support reps
  • By answering commonly asked questions and resolving simple issues, chatbot solutions can free up support agents to focus on more complex questions


  • Chatbots can’t handle complex inquiries requiring human intervention
  • Automated responses are a colder, less human form of communication, which can impact customer satisfaction
  • No opportunity for agents to elevate an inquiry into an exemplary customer experience, such as offering personalized live chat offers
  • Customers will become frustrated if the chatbot can’t properly answer their questions or solve an issue


Live chat vs. chatbots: Evaluating their strengths to help you choose the right one (or both)

When comparing chatbots with live chat solutions, it's important to recognize that each category offers its own unique advantages. Many companies choose to employ both live chat and chatbot apps on their ecommerce websites. 

With that in mind, let's explore the strengths of each solution.

Response times and customer expectations 

One of the biggest advantages of chatbot solutions is the fact that they allow for immediate responses to customer inquiries. Live chat solutions can also help companies reduce their wait times, though not to the same degree. 

Chatbot advantage: Answers are immediate

According to data from HubSpot, 90% of customers rate an "immediate" response as important or very important when contacting customer service, with 60% of customers defining "immediate" as 10 minutes or less. 

With a chatbot app, offering immediate response times to customer queries is a much more attainable goal. Best of all, these immediate response times are a 24/7 offering for customers, whereas live chat agents may not always be on the clock. 

Live chat advantage: Solve complex issues

The problem with relying solely on chatbots to reduce customer wait times is the fact that even the best and most intelligent chatbots are often unable to resolve complex issues. Chatbots are excellent at pulling information from internal databases to answer common questions, such as providing the status of a customer's order or editing it.

But for uncommon questions or complex issues, a chatbot alone may not be sufficient. Because they can only handle one thing at a time, it can take forever before you get all of your questions resolved.

Solution: Use both chatbots and live chat

Many companies use chatbots alongside live chat support. This allows businesses to offer both immediate responses, as well as more in-depth support for complex issues. 

For example, a customer may first be connected with a chatbot that provides instant responses to their query and assists with gathering initial information. If the chatbot determines the customer's question or issue is too complex to resolve, the customer is then connected to a support agent via live chat. 

This combination is an ideal solution for many companies, allowing them to quickly resolve common issues without the need for a live chat agent. At the same time, customers have the option to speak with a real person in cases where assistance from a chatbot alone isn’t sufficient. 

Human touch and personalization needs 

While chatbot apps can help reduce customer service wait times and the number of customer service reps needed, many customers prefer speaking with a person. 

Live chat advantage: The human touch

A CGS study found that 86% of customers would rather interact with a human agent than a chatbot. Further, 71% of customers say that they would be less likely to purchase from a brand that did not have real customer service representatives available. 

Chatbot advantage: AI learning

Chatbots have come a long way toward replicating natural language and determining customer intent for better customer engagement. Today, the best chatbot applications can come quite close to sounding like actual human beings. 

Chatbots leverage AI and machine learning to deliver personalized responses, as opposed to only “canned” responses, and can better serve your customers. 

Solution: Use both chatbots and live chat

Even the most advanced chatbots still fall short of a live representative when it comes to delivering a personalized, human touch. They’re also lacking when it comes to handling more complex questions or customer issues. 

Once again, a combination of automation and live chat support is typically the best approach. 

Live chat conversion and sales.


Consistency and accuracy

Chatbots and live chat applications have unique advantages when it comes to delivering consistent and accurate responses to customer queries. 

Chatbot advantage: Consistency

Chatbots are excellent at delivering consistent, on-brand messaging. They can be programmed to systematically follow templates or scripts to provide a consistent customer service experience. 

When working with human customer support agents, this high degree of consistency can be a little more difficult to achieve. 

Live chat advantage: Accuracy

While live chat support may not offer the same consistency as chatbots, human support agents do tend to be more accurate when determining the intent of the customer they are assisting. 

For example, a simple spelling error can sometimes confuse chatbots, whereas a human customer support agent would be much more likely to look past the error and correctly figure out what the customer needs. 

A human agent is also much more likely than a chatbot to accurately interpret questions that are worded strangely. 

Solution: Use both chatbots and live chat

For companies that are choosing between chatbots and live chat support, it’s a question of whether they’d like to prioritize consistency or accuracy. This is yet another reason why a combination of chatbots and live chat support is often the best solution.

More chat features to provide self-service support without the bots

Many of the issues your website visitors have with bad chatbots involve their mimicry of support from real people. It’s easy to tell when you’re chatting with a robot, but it’s not always made clear to you by the chat widget.

But there’s a third chat option that you should consider in addition to live chat and chatbot software.

Self-service chat options make it clear to your customers that they are receiving automated help. By presenting menus instead of imitating a human conversation, self-service customer support empowers customers to find the answers they need on their own.

It’s a win-win, because the customers get the answers they need in real time, at any hour. And your team can focus on support tickets that are more important to the business.

Here are a few ways self-service chat options can work.

Self-service order management

Up to 30% of incoming customer service tickets are shipping status requests. With self-service order management in the chat widget, customers are empowered to make these queries on their own — providing fast answers and reducing your support tickets.

These automated options are easy to add with Gorgias. This self-service adds buttons to the chat widget to automatically:

  • Track an order
  • Return an order
  • Cancel an order

Quick service with chat automation provides quick, responsive customer service, which means better customer experience and a positive impact on revenue.

Barcelona-based shoe brand ALOHAS added self-service order management flows with Gorgias after experiencing a high chat volume. This allowed customers to find information on their own without a human needing to respond.

Here’s how a “track order” request looks in action:

Order management in live chat.

Quick answer flows

When using a chat widget, you’ll notice the same questions come up again and again. You can satisfy those FAQs by adding quick answer flows into the chat widget.

These automations can be set up in the widget for questions like:

  • What is your shipping policy?
  • Are there any discounts available?
  • Do you have any new products?
  • What materials do you use?

These automations can be customized for whatever FAQs are most relevant to your ecommerce store.

Here’s how it looks, for example, when an ALOHAS customer wants to find out more about the brand’s shipping policy.

Quick Response Flows in chat widget.


Luxury jewelry brand Jaxxon has used these self-service quick responses with great success. The customer service team found themselves overwhelmed with customer questions and unable to respond as quickly as desired.

Jaxxon upgraded their live chat widget with Gorgias Automate with Quick Responses for customers. The result, combined with using Gorgias’ helpdesk, reduced live chat volume by 17% and lifted the on-site conversion rate by 6%.

Self-service in chat.


Even when a customer chooses to type out a question, automation can be used to provide quick, customized service through the chat widget.

Gorgias can detect questions that come in through chat and provide automatic answers using Rules and Macros.

Here’s how the flow works:

  1. Intact detection scans the incoming message.
  2. Rules is triggered when a relevant message is found (such as some asking about where their order us) is responds to the customer.
  3. Macros is where you create the templated response sent to the customer. The Macro can be set up to pull in a customer’s unique information like order number, their name, and their tracking code.

The best part is this can not only be used for chat, but for responses to tickets coming in through other communication channels like email, social media, and SMS.

Keep customer service running 24/7

With Gorgias, you can make sure your chat widget isn’t missing a single ticket, even if your customer support team is offline.

First, you can set up your business hours to correspond with when you have live chat available. This will show up on your site’s chat widget by either showing the current status as online or offline.

From there, you can create automated responses for whether you’re offline or online. During business hours, this message can tell customers you’ve received their request and give a time by which they can expect a response.

After business hours, the responder can tell customers that although you’re offline, they can expect a response during the next day’s business hours via email.

Offline mode in live chat for follow-ups.
Absolute Collagen

You can also use a contact form which turns a chat into an emailed ticket. This is great to use after-hours and to make sure chat requests don’t get lost overnight. 

Combine automation and human interaction for the strongest customer experience

The use of automation within customer service is multifaceted. As we discussed earlier, a human touch is critical for many customers, and speaking with an automated chatbot can be a turn-off. However, automation certainly has its place in the customer service process.

On the customer’s side, starting with self-service chat helps them receive quicker customer support at scale — a more satisfying experience. On your team’s side, automation allows for sorting, segmenting, and prioritizing tickets.

When self-service chat can’t solve an issue, someone from your support team can easily step into the conversation. You can use Macros — scripts that automatically bring in the customer’s information — to scale the human touch on your support team.

So in reality, it’s not automation vs human support. These are two complementary tools that work better together. And the result is a stronger and faster customer experience for your website visitors, which can increase your conversion rate by as much as 12%.

Still not convinced? In 2021, brands using the Gorgias chat widget generated an average of $38,702 from conversations involving chat. We have a whole post on live chat statistics that can help illustrate the impact our chat widget can have on your business.

Gorgias brings intuitive live chat to your ecommerce business, alongside your other channels

If you’re an ecommerce business looking for an all-in-one customer support solution that includes live chat support and AI-powered chatbots, Gorgias is your one-stop shop. 

Our algorithms are trained on hundreds of millions of ecommerce tickets, so you can be sure your customers are getting the right responses every time. 

Plus, you can manage both live chat and chatbot conversations in the same dashboard that you use for all your other channels, including phone, email and major social media platforms. Bring in chat from other channels, including Facebook Messenger. We’ll even be supporting Whatsapp in early 2023.

Our customer support platform is available for Magento, Shopify, and BigCommerce users.

Read more about our chat offerings by clicking here.

Customer Service Messaging: Tips and Templates for SMS + Conversational Channels

0 min read . By Ryan Baum
By Ryan Baum

Customer service messaging (also known as conversational customer service) is a powerful way to elevate the customer experience and delight customers beyond their expectations. For customers, texting with a support agent feels much more convenient and casual than slower channels like email. And, SMS is a much better channel for “on-the-go” communication, since most people always have their mobile phones and can usually reply to text messages quickly.

That’s why customer service messaging is one of many recent customer service trends shaking up how ecommerce and D2C businesses offer support.

In this guide, we’ll discuss how your business can implement or improve this type of customer support and other conversational channels in your customer service strategy. 

Let’s get started with why it’s important for businesses to offer SMS customer service.

What is SMS customer service?

SMS customer service is when support teams resolve customer questions and issues via text message.

Why SMS text messaging improves the customer service experience

Customers love these one-to-one messaging channels for customer service because they’re so quick and convenient. When implemented well, conversational messaging allows customers to reach your CS team and get answers quickly — within 42 seconds, most of the time. Especially considering that 42% of customers prefer communicating with customer service on messaging apps over any other channel, introducing a conversational channel may do wonders for your brand’s customer satisfaction.

Your customer support team can also use these channels to proactively reach out to customers with important updates and timely discounts.

SMS customer service is especially attractive to your customers because they don’t have to stay glued to your website or check a social media app for new DMs. They can get answers to their questions on a device they already check 96 times per day. Let’s take a closer look at SMS, a channel that’s quickly gaining ground as a standard support option. 

Example of SMS in Gorgias helpdesk

10 tips to successfully incorporate messaging into your customer service strategy

Adding each messaging channel at one time might overwhelm your customer support team. Likewise, a new channel may have low adoption if you don’t announce it to your customers. As you begin offering messaging experiences as a part of your customer care portfolio, use our top 10 techniques to maximize the effectiveness of your workflows on those channels.

1) Funnel all interactions to SMS or messaging channels and then move to email or phone if needed

For issues with easy solutions, there’s no reason for customers to engage with email or phone. Emails are slow and clunky and phone calls can lead to customer frustrations, especially if your wait times are excessive. Texts are far faster than either option and can provide simple, accurate information that leads to speedier solutions — and happier customers.

For that reason, we recommend setting up your contact page and information so that text and other live channels are your first line of communication — well, after self-service support. You can always move to email or phone if the customer requests it or if the problem you’re trying to solve is better suited to one of those channels.

Tip: Speed is an important factor in all customer service interactions, but it’s critical when sending any sort of instant message. First response time (FRT) is a key customer service metric you can measure with Gorgias through the analytics dashboard. Make sure to track the speed of your responses when you start your support messaging program.

Fast reply to an SMS conversation

2) Consistently let your customers know that you’re available on quick messaging channels

To inform your customers they can now text your brand, we recommend adding “Text us,” plus your phone number, in some or all of these places: 

  • The footer of your website
  • The “Contact Us” page of your website
  • Your Gorgias Help Center
  • Transactional emails (order confirmation, return initiated, etc.)
  • The signature of your support agents

You can put your messaging app information in the same spots, and make sure to say you accept support requests via DM in your social media bios so customers know they can shoot you a message.

Tip: Because conversational customer service usually takes place on a user’s phone, you need to keep responses short and friendly. The long, detailed macros and templates you might use for emails won’t work when communicating through short messages — depending on your platform and your customer’s phone, long messages might not send or might get broken into multiple text messages. Plus, depending on your brand’s tone of voice, conversational channels are a great place to use emojis, images, and GIFs to make the conversation even more friendly and casual. 

Berkey Filters chat prompting people to use the messaging chanel
Source: Berkey Filters

3) Use autoresponders for a lightning-fast first response

Start every messaging interaction with an autoresponder. This tactic lets your customer know that you received their request, and it gives your human agents a small buffer of time to finish up their current encounter before starting the new one. You can also include a link to your help center in case they want to look for their answer on their own.

You can use this tactic whether you’re incorporating chatbots for basic query automation, or using your customer service agents for all customer interactions.

See page XX for an example of an autoresponder Rule for messaging.

4) Create a system to categorize and segment priority tickets 

Some customer support tickets should take higher priority than others. A customer that’s reporting a fraudulent purchase with their debit card needs a quicker response than someone who’s asking if there are any discounts they can use. 

You can start by prioritizing:

  • Tickets that have been open the longest. These are the customers who may be growing impatient, or even angry enough not to shop or work with your business again. This can be set up with a View of tickets that have been open for more than X minutes, where X is an amount of time corresponding to your service-level agreement (SLA).
  • Tickets from VIPs and loyal customers. You can tag these customers and make a View based on that tag to surface their questions and concerns.
  • Tickets that fall into certain intents, like “order/damaged,” which Gorgias auto-assigns through our proprietary algorithms. You can auto-assign these tickets with a “priority” tag using a simple automation Rule and set up a View that has all open priority tickets.
Gorgias' Intent detection can be auto-tagged for prioritization and organization
Source: Gorgias

You can even set up dual priority queues for all priority-tagged tickets: One for priority tickets that are about to go past the first response time in your SLA and another for all other priority tickets. Then prioritize the former, followed by the latter, followed by other tickets, to keep your first response time and resolution time down while giving attention to important tickets.

Beyond prioritizing tickets, it’s also helpful to categorize them if they share similarities. Grouping similar tickets together boosts efficiency. For example, your team can come up with one main solution (create a new discount code because the previous one is buggy) and easily resolve the entire group of tickets in a single pass.

5) Use Macro templates to respond faster to repetitive requests…

If you are responding to customer service messages on a platform like Gorgias that supports Macro templates, you need to take advantage of this time-saving feature. But you can’t just take your existing email templates and drop them into these conversations.

You need to create a specific set of Macros for messaging purposes, using the principles we mentioned earlier: short, friendly, personalized, etc. That means you need to use variables like [Customer first name] or [Last order number] to personalize messages. If you set up your Macros strategically for DM and SMS messaging, many can be reused for live chat, as well.

To prioritize building Macros that will have the highest impact, create Macro templates to respond to the most common questions that have come through your helpdesk. You can also ask your team which responses they end up writing out the most and add those templates too. 

Once you create and launch these Macros, you can automatically add Tags to Macros for reporting to see which Macros are being used the most. This will help you understand where you have gaps (or unhelpful Macros) and can make tweaks to improve your agent workflow and customer experience.

6) …Or deflect those repetitive requests altogether with automation Rules

If your customer service platform supports automation, as Gorgias does through our Automation Add-on, you can deflect up to a third of repetitive, tedious tickets instantly, with no human interaction. Much of this automation can be applied to customer service messaging, as well.

When we mention automated answers, some support professionals say something like, “We don’t want to send low-quality automated responses to our customers.” We completely agree: For many tickets, automation doesn’t provide the best customer experience. 

However, as you know, most tickets your support team receives are repetitive and low-impact, like questions about order status (WISMO) or your refund policy. We recommend setting up automatic responses for these tickets, so customers get instant answers and agents have more time to respond to tickets that actually need a human touch.

Look through your reporting dashboards to see the tickets that are taking up the most time on your support team, and prioritize those requests for automation with Rules, where appropriate.

Gorgias automates answers to repetitive questions (like WISMO)

7) Go beyond text-only interactions with multimedia messaging

WhatsApp Business, Facebook Messenger, and SMS support images, and luckily so does Gorgias. This is a more engaging way to interact with customers, and it also allows you to exchange relevant images like broken parts, malfunctioning equipment, and screenshots for more helpful instructions.

If you want to go this route, maintain a catalog of fun, topical images that your support team can use in their customer conversations, and give them the freedom to collect their own images to insert. It’s a great way to make your support feel more personal and human, but use common sense: Frustrated customers don’t want to receive a picture or meme, they want their problem solved as quickly as possible.

Gorgias lets you send multimedia text messages

8) Provide proactive support at scale on platforms that allow it

SMS and other personalized one-to-one support channels can get a little complicated because not everyone wants to interact on the same messaging application. True SMS support goes out over cellular networks and lands in users’ actual text messages, the same way messages from their friends and family do.

But you may need to be ready to handle other support channels that use similar short, text-based communication. These include Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and your website’s web chat. Certain channels may be a better fit for your unique customer base — for example, Instagram attracts a younger audience than Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp is more common outside the US. Likewise, you may have other specialized messaging channels or messaging platforms that you need to support.

Gorgias has SMS, Messenger, and live chat functionality

As a rule of thumb, you need to be where most of your customers are, which varies across businesses and industries. But to reach the desired level of customer engagement, most businesses need to be reachable via most, if not all, the major applications and support channels. 

That’s where a unified customer service platform can be really useful. By keeping all of your customer conversations in one feed, you can handle more channels more strategically, through triage and routing to dedicated agents for specific tasks. For example, you could have one agent who just handles messaging and route all messages to that person for a quicker response.

On platforms like WhatsApp Business, you don’t have to wait around to hear from customers. This allows for a wide range of strategic and proactive support interactions. 

For example, you can send out text blasts:

  • When you have an issue affecting all customers (i.e. website downtime) to let them know what’s going on (and avoid getting excessive tickets about the issue)
  • When you have new product launches or add-ons, driving revenue and customer education
  • When you have relevant announcements for customers: limit these to news that actually affects customers (i.e. shutting down your community or a time-sensitive sale), not company news (i.e. your latest fundraising) 

A proactive approach builds trust with your audience — they will see you going above and beyond with these efforts, and know that you’ll be upfront with potential issues.

9) Integrate your SMS support with your marketing efforts

SMS marketing is a useful tool for your ecommerce store, but it becomes even more powerful when you integrate your SMS marketing tool into Gorgias. Send out SMS blasts and have support agents on hand to handle any questions you get in response, to help nudge those customers closer to a sale.

Gorgias and Klaviyo integration
Source: Gorgias

With certain integrations — Klaviyo, for example — you can even use Gorgias attributes to segment and build campaigns. Use this function for win-back campaigns, or to send a special offer to customers who posted low CSAT scores.

10) Conduct surveys using text messages to collect feedback from customers

Text messages are an effective method for collecting feedback from existing customers, too. Once customers opt in to SMS communication, you can use this point of contact to launch quick surveys that provide valuable feedback.

Response rate is always an issue with email surveys, and other channels see higher response rates. Using a multichannel approach will supply you with more responses and help you make more data-driven decisions with the results.

Note: In a customer service tool like Gorgias, you would use one of our integrations with Klaviyo or Attentive to send the survey to entire segmented lists of customers or prospects, all at once.

SMS customer service templates for common response types

Ready to start implementing an SMS customer service strategy but not sure what to say? We get it: Staying concise yet friendly is tough, and so is conveying all the needed information in such a short space.

We’ve put together a collection of proven templates you can start using today. Adapt as many of these as you need to fit the contours of your business, and bring them into your customer service platform of choice. In Gorgias, you could auto-populate these responses through our Macros.

Note: We’re sharing these templates as text messages, but they can easily be adapted to other conversational channels like social media DMs and live chat. 

Ticket received template

As we mentioned earlier, it’s a good idea to set up an autoresponder. This tactic can buy your team time to finish up a previous interaction or send an email, yet it shows you’re on top of the interaction and will be back soon.

Here’s our template for a ticket received autoresponder:

Thanks for texting {Brand Name}. An agent is reviewing your question now. We’ll get back to you shortly :)

Introduction message template

The introduction message is the point where your autoresponder or chatbot passes off the reins to a human agent. It’s the first point of personalization, and you want to make a solid impression. Still, your agents don’t need to be typing these out every single time. Use a template like this one to break the ice (just with a little less repetitive stress injury):

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Thanks for messaging us. What can I help you with today?

Agent introduction template for SMS

Hours of operation template

There are two frequent scenarios where an hours-of-operations text makes sense. One is as an answer for when customers message you on social media or elsewhere just to ask when you’re open. In those cases, use this template:

Hello, {Customer First Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Best, {Your Name}

The other scenario is when a customer reaches out via a messaging channel and there’s no one on the other end. If your helpdesk isn’t open 24 hours a day, use a template like this when the team isn’t live:

Hello, {Customer First Name}! Our live chat helpdesk is open {list hours}. You’ve reached us outside those hours. Leave a short message here and we’ll get back to you tomorrow.

By the way, if around-the-clock coverage is a goal of yours, you might be interested in introducing contact forms into your live chat widget. These forms let you keep your live chat on 24/7 and, when nobody’s available to answer, they ask customers for contact information so you can be sure to follow up. Learn more about Gorgias’ automation add-on and contact forms.

Order status template 

This one’s pretty obvious: You want to let the customer know the status of an order, and there’s no reason to manually type a whole message to do it.

Use this template when a customer asks for their order status. You can create variations of this one for delays or other order status updates, and even customize it further to include tracking information.

Hey {Customer First Name}, great news: Your order has shipped! It will arrive on {delivery date}. Let me know if I can help you with anything else!

SMS template for order status requests

Payment reminder template

Customers with recurring subscriptions sometimes forget the frequency they sign up for or when their next payment will be. Use this template if customers frequently ask your brand when their next payment is:

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Your next payment of {amount} is coming up. Your card on file will be charged {due date}. Questions? Reply here or call {phone number}.

Pro tip: While there’s nothing inherently wrong with soliciting payment via SMS, many consumers will view this with suspicion. Text channels may not be the best avenue for inviting bill payments or collecting credit card information. It could also lead to more cancellations, which makes it a balancing act, though customer clarity is important to have. Always track the impact of changes to your process and be mindful of how new touchpoints could affect it.

Deals or rewards template

If you’re trying to build brand loyalty or win back an upset customer, sometimes a simple discount code can go a long way. At the end of an SMS conversation, there may be times when you can surprise and delight customers by sending over an exclusive deal. Here’s a template (though you’ll certainly need to customize this one further to fit the details of your offer):

{Customer First Name}, thanks for being such a loyal customer. We’d like to give you {details of the offer}! Click to redeem: {short URL}

Refund issued template

Refunds happen, and they don’t always require a massively complicated interaction with your contact center. If you’re able to resolve a ticket and issue a refund with a simpler interaction, this template can finish the one-to-one portion of the encounter. 

Notice the template specifies that the interaction will finish up asynchronously (via email). It’s a great way to tie off the synchronous, real-time interaction and lead the customer right to the next step (check your email.) 

Here’s the template:

Hey {Customer First Name}! We’ve issued a refund for your last order. We’ll send all the details to your email, but feel free to let me know here if you need anything else.

SMS template for refund issued

Pro tip: You can tie discounts and future order credits into this template, but make sure your entire team is aligned on your official policy as you update the Macros to match it. You may also want to have different tiers of intervention (and offerings) depending on the severity of the issue.

Customer check-in template

The customer check-in is another asynchronous message that occurs outside of an active conversation. Perhaps the customer walked away from a previous encounter or seems to be stuck on the customer journey based on other CRM data.

Whatever the reason, a gentle, well-timed message can sometimes get the customer back on track.

Here’s a model:

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Just checking in to make sure everything is working well for you. If you have any issues with our {products/service} or need anything else, let me know!

Templates for SMS marketing and relevant integrations 

Though a customer service platform can handle the above templates, you’ll likely want to expand even further through additional integrations with the platform. If you take that approach, here are some opportunities that open up:

Discount template

If you’re running a sale or trying to drive traffic to your site, a great way to do so is by texting a discount code to customers on your SMS list. Because their phone is probably close by, it’s great way to promote your sale and make sure it gets noticed. Here’s a template you can use (but remember to update with your own promotion!): 

Flash sale, this weekend only! Up to 40% off, including our latest collection. Shop now: {insert URL} 

Discount template for SMS

Appointment reminder template

Medical offices and other organizations that schedule appointments or meetings can bolster attendance and reduce no-shows by providing yet another reminder — one that reaches patients and customers directly via phone.

If your SMS system supports it, you can invite an auto-reply to confirm or cancel an appointment, too. Use this template:

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Your appointment is scheduled for tomorrow at {appointment time}. See you then! Reply Y to confirm, N to cancel.

Order confirmation template

Order confirmation messages simply confirm that your business has received and is processing a customer order. These don’t typically take place during an active one-to-one customer service interaction. Instead, they’re sent automatically and asynchronously, whenever the order confirms.

Still, you can set them up as personalized messages and enable replying so that, if something happens to be wrong, the customer knows how to reach out.

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Your order #{order number} has been received, and we’re working on it now! We’ll message you again when it ships. Questions? Reply here.

Order confirmation template for SMS

Pickup notification template

If you’re in an industry that offers pickup services (whether curbside pickup, custom goods like eyeglasses, or anything else), a text message is a great way to let someone know their order is ready for pickup. SMS reaches customers when they’re on the go in a way that email frequently doesn’t.

Here’s an example:

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Your recent order #{order number} is now available for pickup at {location}. Stop by to grab it anytime today before {closing time}!

Survey or poll template

This message asks your customers to respond to a survey or poll. It’s a data-gathering tool that can pull in responses from people who ignore your emails or the messages at the bottom of store receipts. Try a script like this:

Hello, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. We value your opinion as a customer and we’d love specific feedback on {topic}. Here’s a 5-minute survey: {short URL}

Membership renewals template

Membership renewals, like payments, ought to be set up as automatic occurrences. Still, it’s helpful to remind a customer that a charge will hit their bank account soon — you don’t want to track down non-payments, and you don’t want angry customers who weren’t prepared for a bill.

Here’s an example:

Hi, {Customer First Name} {Customer Last Name}! I’m {Your Name} from {Brand Name}. Your annual membership renewal is coming up on {date}. Your card on file will be charged on that day.


Is conversational and SMS customer service right for your business?

At Gorgias, we believe any industry can find value in conversational support, though some industries and brands will get more bang for their buck with these channels. 

For ecommerce brands that deliver physical products, conversational support is a no-brainer. Imagine your customers get shipping updates via SMS and can just respond to the message if the package isn’t delivered correctly to get immediate help. No need to open up a laptop and log into a support portal or compose an email.

If you’re on the fence about offering conversational customer support, consider whether any of these points are relevant for your business:

First, consider your primary audience. If you sell to millennials and Gen Z, conversational customer service deserves serious consideration. These groups value speed and convenience more than anything: Millennials prefer live chat over every other channel, and 71% of people between 16 and 24 agree that faster customer service would drastically improve the shopping experience.

These two generations grew up texting. It’s a very natural communication style for them, so they’ll feel right at home texting and DMing your brand. They’re also absolutely massive groups — combined, they make up a staggering 42.3% of the U.S. population.

If you’re targeting an older generation, texting may not feel as natural. They have a higher tendency to prefer email or phone, although that’s changing by the day.

Is your marketing team already sending SMS campaigns?

One of the biggest hurdles to implementing conversational support is getting the systems, hardware, and staff in place to respond to SMS texts and messaging app requests at scale. If you’re already sending SMS marketing campaigns, then you already have some of that infrastructure in place.

So, if you’ve already made the investment in SMS for marketing purposes, then integrating messaging with your customer service platform and team requires minimal additional investment.

Fortunately, your helpdesk and SMS marketing software may integrate to give you a centralized way to spark conversations if customers reach out via text or respond to SMS campaigns. With Gorgias and Klaviyo, for example, customer responses to SMS marketing campaigns get assigned directly to an agent for fast response times.

Klaviyo Gorgias integration example

Are customers abandoning conversations on other channels? 

One of the benefits of messaging is that customers don’t have to stay on the phone or by their computer — they can easily continue talking even if they have to take the dog out, go to work, or even fall asleep and respond in the morning. Plus, while email conversations often span multiple days which is frustrating for customers with simple requests, requests on messaging channels usually get resolved before customers lose interest or patience. 

If you notice that your brand currently sees lots of unresolved email threads or phone calls, you might need to offer customers a more convenient and flexible channel to talk to your team. This is a perfect use case for SMS and other messaging channels.

Are you already active on related channels?

It’s important to show up where your customers are. That’s why most brands post and engage with customers on social media pages. But if you’re posting on social media and not providing support to customers who reach out via DM, you’re missing a big opportunity. 

By adding conversational support via Facebook Messenger and Instagram and Twitter DMs, you can maximize your presence on those platforms and provide an omnichannel customer experience for both existing and prospective customers.

Are you struggling to gather customer feedback?

We often discuss the importance of customer feedback to monitor brand perception and constantly improve the product and customer experience. But as most brands know, getting feedback via email can be a challenge because of low survey open rates and lack of follow-up from customers. 

Business texting lets you ask your customer base for feedback on a channel they are less likely to ignore. Text messages have a whopping 98% open rate. Consider sending CSAT, NPS surveys, and other requests for customer feedback on this channel to raise your response rate for more accurate customer support metrics. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility: Spamming customers will quickly damage customer relationships, so don’t send too many messages to their personal devices.

What to look for in text messaging tools

SMS customer service is an avenue that customers are growing to expect. But managing yet another communication channel — much less one that demands real-time responses — takes careful planning.

Implementing a messaging strategy requires using tools built for that purpose. Some customer service messaging platforms offer SMS support natively, while others integrate a third-party SMS integration tool to add this functionality. 

As you consider the available options, make sure the one you choose offers the features you need. Some tools are full-fledged SMS marketing solutions. Others focus specifically on SMS as a support channel.

It’s easier for most businesses to use an all-in-one customer service platform like Gorgias to support an omnichannel approach. With this kind of helpdesk platform, SMS tickets can be handled in the same feed as your other tickets and benefit from the same workflows and automation.

Customer service helpdesk with SMS

Here are some other features your customer service tool needs to have to handle SMS ticket effectively:

  • Conversation history (for SMS and other text-based channels like Facebook Messenger or webchat) so your agents know what this client has asked about or needed support for in the past
  • Ability to create and customize macros as replies to SMS questions
  • Ability to send and receive images or videos (this is great if your support teams need to see the damaged item to issue a refund, for example)
  • Routing or triaging capabilities to make sure SMS conversations don’t get lost in a queue of tickets
  • Integration with other ecommerce tools so your agents have all the context they need to reply in a single space (e.g., surfacing Shopify customer data or CRM data during a support interaction)
Logos of Shopify, Recharge, ShipBob, and others to power up your messaging and customer service

Ecommerce SMS marketing tools to complement your customer experience

As we mentioned earlier, SMS marketing lets brands connect with consumers in a personalized and measurable way, just like with customer service. According to Attentive, average read rates of 97% within 15 minutes make SMS a prime channel for connecting with prospects and customers.

If you’re looking for the right SMS marketing tool to work in tandem with your new SMS customer service channel, consider these four leading tools. Each one integrates with Gorgias, along with most of the rest of your tech stack.

Gorgias, Klaviyo, Attentive, Postscript, and Yotpo SMSBump

Each tool offers a slightly different feature set. Revisit the list of features we compiled earlier in this article to help determine which are the most important to you, then vet these four tools against your customized list.

  • Klaviyo, a Gorgias preferred partner, is a leading customer data and marketing automation platform that leans heavily on SMS communications. Automatically create tickets in Gorgias if customers reply to Klaviyo SMS messages, and send Gorgias events into Klaviyo to create targeted audience lists based on support experiences. 
  • Attentive, also a Gorgias preferred partner, sends automatic text messages to your subscribers at each step of the customer lifecycle. It collects real-time behavioral data on customers as well, and the Gorgias integration allows you to see that customer data within the Gorgias sidebar. If a customer replies to an Attentive SMS, it’ll automatically create a ticket in Gorgias for agents to reply to. 
  • Postscript is an SMS messaging tool that drives revenue growth and improves the customer experience over SMS. If a customer replies to a Postscript SMS, it’ll automatically create a ticket in Gorgias for agents to reply to.
  • SMSBump is a D2C focused SMS customer journey automation tool by Yotpo that boasts powerful results: 45% conversion rate and 25x ROI for D2C brands. By connecting SMSBump with Gorgias, tickets will automatically be created if customers reply to SMSBump campaigns. 

Integrate your SMS tool with your helpdesk for a seamless customer experience

Integrating any of these SMS marketing tools with Gorgias is a great way to unify your marketing and support efforts to improve the overall customer experience.

For example, if customers respond to an SMS marketing blast from a tool integrated with Gorgias, the response gets brought into the helpdesk. The agent can see the initial marketing message and the customers response, so they can answer any follow-up questions. It's like an alley-oop from your marketing to your support team.

Also, these integrations help your marketing team be more aware of active support conversations to avoid tone deaf marketing. For example, by integrating Gorgias and your SMS marketing tool, you can pause marketing campaigns on customers awaiting a response from support. (Nobody wants to get marketing messages if they're waiting on a delayed order, or troubleshooting their last purchase).

Message your customers in real time with Gorgias

Customer service messaging across a wide range of message-based platforms can be a powerful addition to your customer service channels. Of these, the SMS channel is one of the most powerful options for businesses that want to reach customers directly where they are.

The scripts and tools provided in this guide should put you well on your way toward a successful SMS support rollout. But make sure that at the core of your customer service operation, you have a platform robust enough to handle everything you need to do — and whatever functionality you might add in the future. For more examples and tactics to launch a successful rollout of SMS support, check out our playbook of Berkey Filters, an online store that released SMS support to great adoption.


Gorgias is the customer support and helpdesk platform built for ecommerce businesses like yours. Our live chat tools and 150+ integrations equip you to reach your customers — whenever and however you choose.

See how Gorgias supercharges customer support and helpdesk via SMS. Alternatively, check out more information about our integrations with:

How To Provide Order Tracking for Your Ecommerce Customers

0 min read . By Ryan Baum
By Ryan Baum

The competition to provide customer satisfaction in ecommerce today is fierce. Now, shoppers demand free shipping on every order and expect lightning-fast order processing and fulfillment. What once were “nice to have” differentiators for small businesses have become necessary for growth and success. 

Similar to getting orders quickly and with no shipping fees, customers expect a tracking number to see an order’s status and its location at any given time. Even better are real-time alerts and SMS or email notifications at each point in an order’s journey from purchase to doorstep. 


Below, explore the benefits of tracking customer orders and why you should consider implementing an order tracking tool for your business. 

Why your online store should track customer order status

Customers have been trained by huge ecommerce vendors like Amazon and tracking to track their online orders from the order processing stage to the moment a delivery person from FedEx, UPS, or USPS drops it at their doorstep — with photo evidence. This has set high expectations. 

Offering real-time tracking data for purchases benefits both your customer and your business in four distinct ways.

The benefits of providing order tracking for customers: provide a sense of security, allow customers to plan, build customer loyalty, and free up your customer support from repetitive WISMO questions.

Gives shoppers and business owners a sense of security

Once customers place an online order, waiting for it to arrive can be both exciting and stressful. Questions like, “Will it get here on time?” or “Is it ever coming?” are heightened if customers can’t check the delivery status in real time themselves. Plus, as a business, you can follow along to ensure that orders are getting where they need to go. 

A 2021 survey by OptimoRoute found that 24.6% of online shoppers said they were extremely likely to return for additional shopping if a brand provides real-time order tracking.

Allows customers to plan ahead

There are reasons beyond “I'm just curious” that consumers need to know an order is on its way and when it will arrive. For example, if a product is expensive, customers won’t want it to sit on their front porch all day. If a signature is required, they might have to work from home to accept the package. In these instances, status updates are crucial.

According to ProShip, "80% of customers want to track their order status not only online, but also on their mobile devices. And of that 80%, 76% of them want SMS communication throughout the entire shipping process." 

Keeping in constant contact with their order at home and on the go via a mobile device gives customers the transparency they need to plan ahead for a fun unboxing or essential item they can’t live without. 

Builds customer loyalty 

The customer experience you provide on your ecommerce platform is essential to business growth. Providing shoppers with tracking information, email notifications, and delivery dates can create a positive association with your brand, build a better customer experience, and drive loyalty and retention.

The Effortless Experience found that 96% of customers who have high-effort experiences feel disloyal to those companies afterward. And forcing customers to dig or compose an email just to know the status of their order is a high-effort experience.

96% of companies who have high-effort experiences feel disloyal to a brand.
Source: The Effortless Experience

New customers appreciate seamless experiences and are more likely to make repeat purchases from businesses that offer them. Creating a cycle of repeat business will help your business grow, so encouraging loyalty through an easy-to-use order tracking tool is a big advantage.

📚Recommended reading: Our guide to offering free shipping and boosting customer loyalty at an affordable price.

Frees up your customer service team (by deflecting WISMO tickets with automation)

Many ecommerce companies are looking for ways to alleviate customer service workloads and reduce time spent handling simple requests. Providing real-time order tracking is one of those ways since customers no longer need to ask, “Where is my order (WISMO)?” 

Instead of calling and emailing to check their order status — one of the most common questions customers ask any ecommerce business — tracking systems proactively send email notifications or provide access to a portal where customers can take a look at progress in real-time. This solution streamlines the process and cuts down on call volumes. This increases productivity for you or your customer service team because they’ll be freed up to address more complex issues.

Typically, you can automate customer order tracking notifications via SMS, app notifications, or email — we’ll cover this in more detail below. Or, create a self-service portal where customers can use their purchase order number to access order status — we’ll cover this more in a later section.

📚Recommended reading: Our guide to customer service automation for faster, friendlier service.

Lowers the number of returns you can expect 

People often return items because they arrive late and the customer no longer wants or needs them. With detailed and up-to-date order tracking (as well as a clear returns policy), customers can better anticipate the arrival date of the product, making it less likely they’ll just ship the package back to you when it finally arrives. And, as you might expect, reducing returns has a great positive impact on your business’s revenue.

📚Recommended reading: Our list of best practices for reducing returns in ecommerce and our list of the best returns management software.

Why ecommerce businesses should think twice before building a custom order tracking system 

There are numerous advantages to using a customer order tracking system. We recommend using a pre-built solution — and put our recommendations below — because maintaining a manual tracking system is time-consuming. 

A custom-built tracking page may require more data entry than necessary with other solutions. Not only do manual processes open your system up to human error, but they also eat up productivity.

Manual systems require extensive set-up

If you try to provide order tracking yourself, you’ll save in the short term but end up spending plenty of time building and maintaining a system to send tracking information. 

For example, once you sync your tracking components up successfully, you'll need to create different templates that collect or communicate information to your customers. For example, you might build an order form that collects order information like a customer’s name, address, phone number, and credit card information. Or, write a pre-written email that you can use to send out shipment notifications for each step of the order process. 

You might also create templated responses that answer common questions like, “Where is my order?” or that provide tracking information or shipment and delivery updates. 

You need seamless integrations to avoid tab-shuffling

For an order tracking system to work properly, your manufacturers, website, helpdesk, social media commerce, SMS, inventory management software, and shipping carriers’ information must all "talk to" each other. If they don't, information gets bottlenecked or not communicated at all. The result is that your customer isn't able to access their order status, which causes frustration and has them calling your customer support team.

How to set up order tracking: Let customers see the status of shipments in real time

If you’re manually recording and sending out order tracking information in an excel document, you’re likely feeling very frustrated right now. 

One of the most common incoming questions teams get is Where is my order? (WISMO). And the best way to mitigate those messages is to implement an order tracking system that allows for self-service order tracking and automates shipping tracking notifications. Here's how to do it:

  1. Decide on an order tracking tool
  2. Integrate your order tracking tool with your ecommerce platform
  3. Configure your tracking app’s settings
  4. Let automation do its thing
  5. Integrate your order tracking software with your helpdesk
Tracking customer orders with automation decreases the number of "where is my order?" (WISMO) tickets your team gets.

This creates an overall better customer experience by providing transparency and reducing stress or frustration — customers see exactly where their orders are at any point in time. You’ll also be available for customers when they’re most engaged. 

Here’s how to implement one. 

Decide on an order tracking tool 

First, you’ll choose an order tracking tool like ShipBob, ShipStation, or AfterShip — we discuss each in more detail below. These tools take order information like tracking numbers and shipment status and automate their delivery to a customer. Many order tracking apps integrate with different ecommerce systems like Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, 3DCart, or WooCommerce. So, you’ll need to make sure that the tool you choose integrates well with the ecommerce system you use. 

As an example, we’ll walk through setting up order tracking with AfterShip on a Shopify store. 

Integrate your order tracking tool with your ecommerce platform 

This is usually quick and easy, depending on the tool. You can add AfterShip from your Shopify store by visiting the Shopify App store from the apps section on the sidebar of your store’s dashboard. Then, click “Customize your store” and search for the AfterShip app. 

Set up order tracking with Shopify.
Source: AfterShip 

Or, you can sign up for an AfterShip account, visit the apps section, search for Shopify, and add it that way. Either way, visit the integrated app section on your Shopify/AfterShip account to make sure that the installation succeeded. 

Configure your tracking app’s settings

Now, you’ll want to make sure your courier mapping, import settings, and tracking page settings are good to go. You can access these from your AfterShip account’s app page — here’s AfterShip’s help doc on to assist with setup

  • Courier mapping: Add all of the shipping couriers you use so that AfterShip’s automation can pick them up. 
  • Import settings: Choose your order fulfillment timeframe and select the timeframe you’d like AfterShip to pull orders from. 
  • Tracking page settings: Choose the tracking page you’d like to use (in the case you had created multiple in AfterShip). 

Let automation do its thing 

Now that you have AfterShip set up, it will sync every three hours and pull shipping information from any new orders via a shopping cart, CSV file, or marketplace. You can also opt for AfterShip to send out automatic notifications via email or SMS at each milestone in the shipping process. 

Integrate your order tracking software with your helpdesk

Create a seamless experience for your customers and support team by integrating your order tracking tool with your helpdesk. By linking all shipping data and tracking information, you can get resolutions to customers faster and access all necessary information in one place. 

Why is this helpful? Well, in case customers end up bypassing your self-service order tracking information and ask your support team about the status of their order. Without the integration, you’ll have to switch tabs and copy/paste order information like tracking number, shipping address, and estimated delivery date. 

With an integration set up, that information automatically populates. Take a look at the image below. On the left is a Macro (or template) sent by a customer service agent, which contains variables that auomtatically pull tracking information from the integration. On the right is the personalized message the shopper receives.   

Use Gorgias to provide personalized order tracking to customers without any copy/pasting.

Set up is as simple as creating a connection between the two platforms so that they can talk to each other. To get an idea of what this looks like, take a look at the step-by-step installation guide to setting up the integration between AfterShip and Gorgias.

Save time, provide order transparency, and create better customer experiences by linking Gorgias and AfterShip  

“With all the Gorgias integrations, my team doesn't need to jump between tools. This has helped us dramatically improve customer satisfaction.”
— Amanda, Director of Operations at Darn Good Yarn

Make tracking information easily accessible

Once you have your automated order tracking system set up, you’re not quite off the hook yet. While many customers will opt in for email and SMS notifications, some may ignore those notifications, lose the tracking link, and still come to your website (or support inbox) looking for the status of their order.

That’s why we recommend putting an order tracking portal in (at least) the following three places:

Order confirmation emails

Whenever a customer places an order, they should get an order confirmation that includes a receipt and any additional information they could need between that moment and the arrival of their new item. This includes a prominent tracking number, and a link to the order tracking portal, whether that’s with a service like AfterShip or directly on your carrier’s website. 

If your fulfillment process doesn’t let you send this information right away, consider adding an additional shipping confirmation email to your post-purchase experience flow.

If you don’t currently send order (or shipping) confirmation emails, take a look at this guide (for Shopify users) on setting one up.

Embedded in the chat widget

While the primary function of the chat widget is to connect with customer support agents in a conversational way, some live chat apps like Gorgias allow you to embed buttons shoppers can click to track their order. In Gorgias, this is called a self-service order management flow.

Self-service order tracking in chat is possible natively in Gorgias, no integration required.

Here’s how the flow works for customers:

Self-service order tracking in chat, with Gorgias

Self-service order management is convenient for customers, and it also serves as a last layer of protection for your customer support inbox. Right when a customer opens the chat widget to send a question, they get the opportunity to see the status of their order, much faster than an agent could tell them.

Embedded in your knowledge base (or FAQ)

If you have an FAQ page or a larger knowledge base (which we call a Help Center), you can also embed order tracking here for customer accessibility.

Standalone self-service order tracking in the Help Center is possible natively in Gorgias, no integration required.

Much like order tracking built into the chat widget, this feature lets customers track their order with just a few clicks, right where they’d find other help content:

Self-service order tracking with Gorgias Help Center.
Source: ALOHAS

To direct customers here, you can include a link to your Help Center at the bottom of all your customer support and automated emails, in an email signature, for easy clicking.  

The best customer order tracking app options for ecommerce stores

There are several great choices on the market for customer order tracking systems that are both scalable and flexible depending on your needs and the ecommerce platform that you use. 

Start with customer support software that acts as your central hub

A powerful customer service team is the building block of a successful order management system. Helpdesks like Gorgias help centralize the communication of tracking requests via apps into one place. From there, customer service teams can respond/automate responses related to tracking and order statuses. These tools optimize the response time and increase the instances of a positive customer experience.

Gorgias integrates with a ton of popular ecommerce tools, making it a great single-view hub. A few of the most popular integrations are NetSuite, Reveal, Tolstoy, Magento, ChannelReply, and Shopify.

Apps that help automate customer order tracking for Shopify and BigCommerce

Choosing the best tools to automate your customer order tracking can be overwhelming. The good thing about having so many options is that you’ll end up with an order tracking system that works exactly the way you need it to. Here are some of the best order tracking providers that you can use to create a successful project management pipeline when it comes to tracking customer purchases.


ShipBob is a global logistics platform that provides online companies best-in-class order fulfillment, so customers receive fast and affordable shipping. With reliable fulfillment services and connected technology that powers their fulfillment network, they help improve transit times, shipping costs, and the delivery experience for your customers.

Check out this app in the Shopify App Store or the BigCommerce App Store. And if you use Gorgias, check out our integration with ShipBob.


With its seven notification triggers, easy-to-use email editor, and filter tracking tools, AfterShip helps your online business provide transparent communication to your customers. It also helps you keep an eye on delivery issues, so you can address them before they become problems that could end up damaging your customer experience.

Check out this app in the Shopify App Store and the BigCommerce App Store. And if you use Gorgias, check out our integration with AfterShip.


ShipStation helps you save time, money, and sell more. You can compare rates and delivery times for all your carriers in one place to get the fastest, most cost-effective shipping for your customers. The app automates almost every facet of your shipping process, and offers intuitive dashboards and seamless interfaces for an optimal workflow.

Review this app's full offerings in the Shopify App Store and the BigCommerce App Store

Extensions that help automate customer order tracking info for Magento 2

Below, take a look at three recommended order tracking extensions that integrate with Magento 2. 


ShipStation is highly scalable and provides everything you need for order management in one location. It integrates with Magento 2, as well as Shopify and BigCommerce. 

See if ShipStation is right for your ecommerce business in the Magento Marketplace.


Whether you're shipping 50 or 50,000 orders a month, Easyship can help you lower shipping costs and increase conversion rates. Use this extension to manage your post-purchase process the way it makes the most sense for your business.

Read more about Easyship in the Magento Marketplace.

📚 Recommended reading: Our list of best practices for ecommerce shipping and our list of the best shipping software for ecommerce.


The Mageworx Order Editor extension lets you edit errors customers have made with their street number, phone number, name, and other shipping and billing details that they accidentally get wrong during checkout. You can also add or remove products, change pricing, and add coupons after an order has been placed. This saves your customer support team from having to cancel the order and start it again from the beginning.

Learn more about Mageworx in the Magento Marketplace.

Centralize your order status tracking and customer support management with Gorgias

Employing automation to facilitate easy order tracking, status updates, and real-time delivery information for your customers is a smart move for your online business. By committing to an end-to-end order tracking system, you make it possible for your company to cut costs, increase productivity, and encourage customer retention.

Gorgias is a powerful and comprehensive ecommerce help desk solution that can help you deflect repetitive tickets so your team can spend more time on higher-value conversations. 

Reach out today to learn how we integrate with your order status tracking system.


Table of contents