I firmly believe everyone should experience working in customer support because, let’s face it, working in support isn't always recognized for the challenging job it is.
The importance of customer service for brand success has been proven time and again. Yet, customer support continues to get regarded as a necessary cost the business has to bite. It's often under-resourced and under-performs as a result, reinforcing the perception that support brings little value.
I’m on a mission to change that.
I'm Amanda Kwasniewicz, VP of Customer Experience at Love Wellness, and my journey has taught me that we customer support professionals have to be loud and proud about the importance of our work, since we're repairing a pretty damaged reputation.
In this article, I will share practical tips and firsthand experiences to help you showcase the significant impact of customer support on your bottom line, and make the case for more budget and respect in the organization.
Why is customer service important
A great customer experience is crucial to any business. And at the heart of that experience is good customer service.
Right now, every small business owner is experiencing the frustrations of rising customer acquisition costs. The solution? Leverage the relationships with customers you already have by focusing on repeat purchases and customer lifetime value (LTV). This strategy is much more profitable: Keeping customers costs much less than attracting new ones, and returning customers generate 300% more revenue than first-time shoppers (according to Gorgias data).
Your customer service agents are your brand’s frontline representation. Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, great reps have the capacity to enable sales and keep customers coming back. And undertrained or ill-equipped reps have the capacity to drive new customers away and dissolve relationships with current customers.
Simply put, customer service is important because it has a huge impact on your revenue. Let’s break that truth down into some specifics.
7 ways customer service impacts your bottom line
From generating more referrals to increasing your average order value, there are several benefits to offering a great customer service experience.
1. Excellent service increases conversion rates
The truth is, new customers are often hesitant to trust a company that they’ve never done business with before.
Studies have found that 18% will abandon their cart if they don’t trust the website with their credit card information. And, even if a customer trusts your business enough to make a purchase, still roughly 70% of all online shopping carts are left abandoned.
Why? Some of the top reasons are
- A complicated checkout process
- Questions about product pricing
- Problems with payment
These are all customer problems that live chat support agents can address proactively, which will increase trust and decrease abandoned carts. Adding live chat to your website can boost conversions by 12%.
Tip: Provide pre-sales support
Picture a shopping experience where uncertainty is met with immediate guidance, and questions are answered before they even arise—this is the essence of Love Wellness' commitment to elevating pre-sales support.
On our product description pages, we prominently feature
- Links to our general FAQ page
- A striking red button on the bottom right corner for customers to reach out and connect with our support team via email.
- A FAQ block on the product page with answers related to the product being viewed.
In addition to what we do at Love Wellness, you can enable chat campaigns to proactively guide customers through the checkout process or answer common questions that are blockers to purchasing.
Chat campaigns can trigger when certain conditions are met (like visiting/dwelling on a certain page or being a repeat shopper). You can hit these targeted shoppers with a message, like offering personalized product recommendations or providing a unique discount code. Now that’s an experience worth telling your friends about.
Remember: Customer service involves more than just resolving customer issues post-purchase. Support reps also act as sales agents, answering pre-sales inquiries and offering discounts to encourage orders.
2. Personalized customer service drives repeat business
According to a report from Salesforce, 97% of marketers report an improvement in business results due to personalization. Customer service is no exception: including customers' names, avoiding asking for the same information multiple times, and providing customer-specific recommendations all help build customer loyalty.
Your customer support platform should make personalization easy by showing a customer’s order and conversation history with your brand, so reps have the full context when speaking to customers:
And, with a helpdesk like Gorgias, you can build templated Macros, which automatically pull customer data into your messages (names, order numbers, shipping addresses, etc).
Tip: Offer premium support at key stages of the buyer’s journey
One way we offer personalized customer support at Love Wellness is our “Shop with a wellness specialist” program. Shoppers can take a short quiz, get matched with an expert, and text that specialist directly to build a personalized wellness routine.
3. Customer service data holds key information
Customer service can be a goldmine of key data that benefits the entire team, serving as a wellspring of insights that drive informed decisions and overall business success.
How? Customer service acts as a direct line to your customers' thoughts and experiences. By consistently collecting and analyzing feedback, you gain an understanding of pain points, preferences, and trends that can influence product development, marketing strategies, and overall business direction.
Tip: Collect customer feedback often
One word: convenience.
Your customers should be able to share feedback without leaping through hoops.
And, when you've got a vault of feedback, don't let it gather digital dust. Your team has so much data they can review between channels like email, SMS, chat, and social media—both compliments and complaints. You need to be willing to listen to every customer’s needs.
We have a channel in Slack dedicated to customer feedback. Dropping in feedback is part of the team’s daily and weekly responsibilities, which helps them get really familiar with all of the content. It also allows our team to dissect them and collaborate on how we can improve. You could also schedule recurring feedback share sessions with the Product or Website teams, or even invite them directly into Gorgias (at no extra cost) and create a dedicated view for product feedback, website feedback, and so on.
4. A great customer service experience drives referrals
Happy customers are much more likely to recommend your brand to others than customers who have a poor customer service experience.
94% of U.S. shoppers will recommend companies with service they rate as “very good.”
Along with increasing the likelihood of organic referrals, a great customer service experience can earn your more positive reviews.
Considering 95% of customers report reading online reviews before making a purchasing decision, showcasing just how important these reviews can be when it comes to attracting new business. We have a whole page dedicated to this on the Love Wellness website.
There’s also a filter option on every product page review widget so that shoppers can see the most common things people are saying about a product and filter down accordingly.
Tip: Train everyone on how to have a customer-first mindset
Customer service is one of the main ways we build trust with customers, which is especially important in the personal care and women's health niche. Our aim is to provide a safe space for questions that customers might not even be comfortable asking a doctor.
At Love Wellness, we believe that every single team member plays a vital role in creating a haven of care and understanding. That’s why we created an immersive customer experience training program that involves each and every one of us, including the president of the company and even our office manager!
This program is about truly understanding Love Wellness' purpose, from top to bottom. Whether I'm involved in product sourcing, managing our online presence, or crafting compelling copy, I've come to realize that a customer-first mindset is the key.
Tip: Create self-service resources
Your customer support team can create self-service resources like an FAQ page or Help Center to educate customers about your return policies, shipping practices, and the quality of your materials or ingredients. And by proactively during the pre-purchase process, you can provide first-time customers with the answers they need to make a purchase.
Here’s what ours looks like at Love Wellness, which answers key pre-sales questions about each product, plus frequently-asked questions about payment, shipping, and more.
5. Satisfied customers have higher average order values
By addressing any questions or concerns that may be preventing a customer from making a purchase, proactive customer support can boost your AOV by encouraging customers to purchase additional products they might not have bought otherwise.
The proof is in the pudding: businesses that offer proactive live chat customer support generate a 10%-15% higher AOV than those that do not.
At Love Wellness we have a proactive outreach program for delivery issues, with the goal of reaching out to the customer to triage before they reach out to us. Since starting this, of our ~250 tickets, 105 have received a CSAT and the score is a solid 5 across the board!
According to Gorgias data, repeat customers make up only 21% of the average brand’s customer base but generate 44% of that brand’s revenue thanks to these higher cart values:
Tip: Find opportunities to sell more
Another effective way that customer support boosts AOV is by providing your sales team with upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
For example, at Love Wellness we make sure to explain to customers how they should use the product on the description page. In this section, we also call out additional products that pair well with what they’re looking at.
6. Good customer service increases customer loyalty
One well-known rule of business is that attracting new customers is always more expensive than marketing to your existing customer base.
And fun fact: A staggering 95% of U.S. consumers use customer service quality as a factor when determining whether or not to do business with a company.
My point? By prioritizing customer relationships and positive customer experiences, you can ensure that the customers you attract remain loyal to your brand and offer as much value as possible over the full course of their relationship with your business.
Tip: Fulfill your promises to customers
Promises made, promises kept. Make sure you have the means to follow through on your claims—and the backup available when mistakes happen
My two-fold advice:
- Build trust: If you're advertising 2-day shipping, get the necessary resources and operational capacity to consistently meet this commitment.
- Tip: during a high volume period, especially over holidays, if there's even a chance that your shipping commitment isn't going to be met 100%, temporarily remove that option to keep expectations realistic.
- Manage customer expectations: Claims like "better taste" are subjective. Highlight provable benefits, such as health advantages, to set realistic expectations.
When customers consistently receive what they expect, they are more likely to become repeat buyers and advocates for your brand.
7. Great customer service reduces marketing spend
Between social media, content, advertising, and SEO, marketing can get very expensive very quickly. For small businesses, these expenses cost thousands of dollars every month.
I’ve already mentioned how exceptional customer service improves customer retention rate. By investing in your support team, your brand can generate positive word-of-mouth, reviews, and repeat customer service.
This means you’ll draw more value from your existing customers rather than spending money trying to attract new ones, which is a much more cost-effective and sustainable path to growth.
Tip: Use tools that are well-integrated
In the past, we had a custom tech stack that operated in isolation, causing manual errors and a great deal of confusion. We were practically solving puzzles blindfolded when something went wrong.
After finally having enough, we dismantled our old tech stack and reconstructed it with components that had native integrations already in place. We've learned the hard way that a well-integrated tech stack is the backbone of efficient customer service.
There's no more frustrating tab-switching or tedious copy/pasting to handle tasks like creating discount codes, editing orders, and processing refunds — trust me, it’s saving us from a lot of hair-pulling moments.
One tool that has been a game-changer for us is Gorgias, thanks to its integrations with Shopify (ecommerce), Okendo (reviews), Yotpo (loyalty rewards and referrals), and Recharge (subscriptions). These integrations have streamlined our customer support process by helping agents make changes to those other tools (like refunding an order or updating subscription status) without changing tabs. It also helps our agents offer more personalized support (with less back-and-forth) by giving them the full customer context, right in the ticket view.
Tip: Take an omnichannel approach to customer support
Every customer has a different communication preference. Omnichannel support makes it easy for them to reach you on various channels like text (SMS support), live chat support on your website, and social media support).
Offering an omnichannel experience is important and can be effective, but only if it's tailored to the consideration of your customers and business needs.
For example, the bulk of our inbox is subscription management, so tackling those tickets via SMS is not effective for us. The messages are too long, and often include details customers need to hang onto to reference back to, so email is by far the better channel.
Want more tips? Read our list of customer service best practices.
What happens when customer service isn’t prioritized
We've all been there — waiting endlessly on hold, being bounced around different departments, and feeling the frustration mount. It's not a feeling we relish.
Take contacting your bank, for instance. The last thing that crosses your mind after that ordeal is calling them again anytime soon. Instead, it's more like, "Phew, glad that's over. Hope I won't have to do that again."
Now, transpose that to an ecommerce scenario. A lousy customer service experience can easily push a shopper to the point of churn, or even talk bad about your brand online or to their friends.
Above, we discussed the impact of great customer service on your bottom line. But the real thing to be aware of is just how damaging bad customer service is — enough to tank a great product, brand, and company.
The costs of subpar service are staggering, ranging from $75 billion to a jaw-dropping $1.6 trillion annually. Plus, according to Retail Dive, a whopping 73% of customers won’t return to your brand after just a couple of poor customer service expenses.
There’s a compounding snowball effect beyond losing customers as well: your customer service team gets burnt out and quits, you hire quickly (and not carefully) to replace those reps, and you’re left with an untrained and understaffed team.
As a result, your company has poor customer service, so execs never get to see the impact that good experiences could have on your bottom line, leading to even fewer resources for customer success. The cycle continues from there.
Thankfully, good customer service can have the opposite effect.
Example: Excellent customer service helped Best Buy overcome bankruptcy
CB Insights shared a story about how, in 2012, Best Buy grappled with a $1.7 billion loss due to rising ecommerce and Amazon's Price Check app. The company turned this around by putting customer service at the forefront by
- Empowering sales staff with thorough training that focused on being friendly and knowledgeable
- Introducing a bold price-matching guarantee to keep shoppers engaged
- Reviving the employee discount program
- Offering personalized in-home consultation with a technology advisor
This customer-centric approach revitalized the brand. If they hadn’t made these improvements, Best Buy might not be here today.
Transform customer support into your new growth engine with Gorgias
Looking back, I've realized that nailing customer support is all about staying ahead of the game and making smart moves — fast.
Remember, your customer support situation can impact your revenue in ways you might not imagine, and profitability is essential these days. The goal is to ensure your customer support strategy cultivates loyalty rather than driving customers away. That's where Gorgias comes in.
Designed exclusively for ecommerce, Gorgias equips online stores with powerful tools to enhance customer interactions, ultimately driving revenue growth, including:
- A centralized view of support interactions from all your channels
- Live chat support widgets (including proactive chat campaigns)
- Customer self-service tools like Help Centers and self-service order tracking and management
- Deep integrations with Shopify and other ecommerce platforms to quickly cancel, refund, and modify orders
- Rules and Macros for automating tedious customer support tasks
- Detailed and flexible reporting and analytics features
I encourage you to book a short time with the team to learn all about it. Gorgias has been a game-changer for Love Wellness and I’m confident it can be for your brand too.