Ecommerce Customer Service: What CX Experts Need To Know

As the ecommerce space continues to grow rapidly, so are consumers’ expectations. To stand out in this highly competitive landscape, brands need to be delivering truly exceptional support.

The ecommerce market has exploded over the past few years and is continuing to grow at an accelerated rate. By 2023, online retail sales are anticipated to reach $6.17 trillion

With more people doing their shopping online than ever before, ecommerce CX has become a priority for many brands. With a highly competitive landscape of as many as 12 million ecommerce companies, delivering easy and convenient customer service is more than a differentiator—it is a necessity for brand success.

What TF is Ecommerce Customer Service?

Ecommerce customer service is how online businesses deliver support to their customers. 


Since the online shopping experience and digital customer service experiences are different than the experience of shopping and receiving service in-person, retailers need to have strategies specific to ecommerce customer support. 

Why TF Does Ecommerce Customer Service Matter?

The digital transformation is in full swing and the ecommerce industry is thriving. While there is ample opportunity for online retail success, the market is incredibly saturated and highly competitive. Today’s customers have more ecommerce companies vying for their attention than ever before. 


With ubiquitous access to many options, your customers have unprecedented power. They can easily find a different brand. They can research companies that offer the best service, compare reviews, or follow social recommendations from friends and influencers. This "control" puts enormous pressure on brands to meet and exceed customer expectations. 


Keeping up with consumer demands minimizes the risk of churn and increases ecommerce customer satisfaction, which can boost loyalty and ultimately ecommerce customer lifetime value.


So, how can ecommerce brands achieve and maintain customer loyalty?


96% of consumers agree that brand loyalty is determined by customer service. 


Delivering high-quality service experiences boosts ecommerce customer retention rates, but also has a positive impact on customer acquisition. After a single positive experience, 77% of customers would recommend a brand to a friend. And thanks to the digital transformation and social media, your customers’ experiences spread farther and wider than ever before. Within seconds, a customer can share a negative or positive experience via social media and reach hundreds or even millions of followers and friends. 


Not only is the power of word-of-mouth advertising expanding, but brands with the best customer service are known for it and attract even more customers. 55% of consumers become a customer of a company because of its reputation for delivering great service


On the flip side, brands that fail to deliver quality ecommerce customer support will risk losing current and potential future customers. Needless to say, the service you provide your customers with sticks - both with them and everyone in their network. 


The importance of customer service in ecommerce has never been more critical to brand longevity. 

Why TF Are My Ecommerce Customers Unhappy?

Did you know that ​​91% of unhappy customers will leave a brand without even making a complaint? 


Your Twitter mentions and company Facebook page may not be filled with scathing reviews (or maybe they are…), but odds are pretty high that you have some unhappy customers - they’re just not vocal about it. So don’t wait for a complaint or negative social post to prioritize your customers’ happiness; it should always be top of mind.


Not only are happy customers less likely to churn, but they are also more likely to be loyal - and loyal customers are likely to spend more. But before you can deliver service experiences that delight, you need to understand what is dissatisfying customers. To get you started, we pulled some of the top reasons today’s customers are unhappy with the service they’re receiving. 


1. Your support team is hard to get ahold of

If you want your customers to be unhappy right from the get-go, make it a challenge for them to connect with your brand. Hide contact information in the depths of your website, limit your communication channels, only offer support during the day on weekdays… you get the point.


When customers are able to contact your support team via their channel of choice at a time that is convenient for them, they’re going to be more satisfied and engaged.


2. Long wait times

Nobody wants to waste their time waiting in a chat queue or on hold, so it’s no surprise 90% of consumers rate an “immediate” response to their customer service questions as important or very important. The longer your customers have to wait, the unhappier they’re going to be. 


3. They have to repeat themselves

Having to reiterate information is frustrating, time-consuming, and makes consumers feel like nobody is listening to them. The resentment towards repetition is so strong that 92% of customers will actually spend more to do business with companies that don’t make them repeat themselves. 


4. Service requires a lot of customer effort

An inefficient customer service experience is more than just a minor inconvenience; 77% of consumers say it actually detracts from their quality of life. The stakes are high, so it’s no wonder 96% of customers are more likely to become disloyal after a service interaction that requires a lot of effort. 


The more effort a customer has to put into a service interaction, the more likely they are to leave your brand. In fact, customers are 87% more likely to go to a competitor after a high-effort service experience. And the impact of inefficient service transcends the customer-brand relationship; 77% of consumers say it detracts from their quality of life.


To combat high-effort service interactions, many ecommerce brands are turning to conversational AI. Learn why here!


5. Deflection

We’ve said it many times before, but we’ll say it again: self-service is not full-service. In fact, only 9% of support journeys are resolved solely within self-service portals. By failing to provide customers with full service, brands are not only creating more work for customers but missing an opportunity to make them feel valued and cared for. 


6. Service Interactions Lack Empathy

While we’re on the topic of making customers feel valued and cared for, it is crucial that your brand delivers service that is empathy-driven


Today’s customers don’t want to be seen as just another service query. In fact, 84% of customers are more likely to continue doing business with you if they are treated like a person rather than a support ticket.


Customer expectations are always on the rise, so it’s important to continually evaluate the quality of your brand’s service, identify pain points, and understand where your CX is falling short. Invite feedback, conduct social listening, and leverage robust analytics with data from the voice of the customer to uncover what your customers want and what they don’t want. 


With a customer-centric approach, the right tech stack, and refined processes, your support team can be better equipped to turn your customers’ frowns upside down. 


How TF Can I Improve Ecommerce Customer Service?

Ready to uplevel your CX? Here are 6 actionable tactics for how to improve ecommerce customer service. 👇


1. Support in real-time

We live in a culture of urgency where everything is urgent and requires the utmost attention. This trickles into every facet of the human experience, including (you guessed it!) customer service. 


For 79% of consumers, immediate answers to their questions is the main reason they prefer live chat support. If you don't have enough ecommerce customer service representatives to scale around the clock, an AI Agent can handle routine customer issues with consistency and ease. It works within your help desk and communicates with existing business systems to receive, understand, and take action on queries - making it possible for your brand to deliver real-time 24/7/365 support!


2. Be everywhere your customers are

Not only do today’s ecommerce customers want to receive support when they need it, but they also want to be able to choose how they get in touch with your brand. 


It comes as no surprise that 90% of consumers want an omnichannel experience. Providing ecommerce support services across all channels makes service experiences more accessible, efficient, and effective. When customers have the option to choose how they reach out for support, they feel more connected, in control, and are often happier with a brand. In fact, businesses with omnichannel strategies have a 91% higher YoY retention rate


To learn more about the power of being everywhere your customers, download the omnichannel support ebook.



3. High-speed service


It’s no secret that consumers’ need for speed is greater than ever before. With 89% of customers deeming speed of response and resolution as the most important aspects of service experiences, it’s critical for brands to provide quick support. That’s why top brands are leveraging ecommerce customer support automation to speed up their service. 


AI doesn’t have a ticket capacity and is capable of quickly handling high volumes of support tickets with ease. It provides customers with responses and resolutions in a matter of minutes while simultaneously reducing human agents’ workload - further decreasing wait times! 


Renowned apparel brand, Bombas, needed an ecommerce customer experience automation solution that resolved high volumes of transactional tickets and reduced customer wait times. With Thankful’s AI Agent onboard, Bombas saw TTFR decrease by 81% and overall time to resolution decrease by 35%. 


You can get all the details on Bombas' success here.


The wildly popular accessories brand, Pura Vida, also leveraged Thankful’s AI Agent to effectively reduce wait times. Even with ticket volumes up 147%, Pura Vida was able to decrease wait times by 55%! 


Want to learn more about how Pura Vida reduced wait times amidst rapid growth with Thankful’s ecommerce customer support software? Check out the case study here.👇


Pura Vida Ecommerce Customer Service


4. Reduce Repetition

If your customers provided you with the information once, they aren’t going to want to explain their issue again. 92% of customers will even spend more with companies that don’t make them repeat themselves. 


Here’s where technology can help. Using a helpdesk with a unified view of all customer conversations across all channels. With customer context and data readily on hand, agents are able to deliver better support and customers don’t need to provide as much information each time they contact support.


Pair your unified helpdesk with well-trained AI that never forgets a customer or their history with a brand. The most advanced AI is also capable of going beyond surface-level intent to understand customers’ contact reasons, motivations, and sentiment. It saves time and effort, while also delivering experiences that make customers feel heard and valued.


5. Deliver full-service

When customers need support, they’re often directed to a self-service portal. Even chatbots and many automated ecommerce customer experience technologies are commonly used as deflection tools. The best a brand can hope for is that its self-service option is enough for customers to figure out their own problems. No matter how robust or useful a self-service portal is, it requires customers to put in more effort. 


Only 9% of support journeys are resolved solely within self-service portals. Deflected customers will continue to spend even more time and energy trying to connect with your support team to get the service they need. By failing to provide customers with full service, brands are creating more work for customers while also missing an opportunity to make them feel valued and cared for. 


With an AI Agent, ecommerce brands don’t have to forfeit quality of service to support more inbound customer requests. It allows brands to provide full service at scale while minimizing pressure on human agents. Customers can always count on receiving the support they need.


6. Prioritize Personalization

Personalization is essential to the ecommerce customer experience. 


Brands that get personal and take a customer-centric approach are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t. But when brands fail to deliver personalized service experiences, customers are 4 times more likely to leave for a competitor. The reality is that customers have numerous companies fighting for their attention and dollars. If you’re not giving them the personalization they need, other companies will. 


To achieve the level of personalization that consumers demand, many brands are turning to AI automated customer support technology that remembers everything about each customer and their relationship and history with the brand. Helpdesks with unified views of customer profiles to Agent Assist, and well-trained AI automation can enable companies to provide individualized service at scale.

When customers feel taken care of, they’ll be more likely to keep coming back. Many brands are providing that next level of service by implementing an ecommerce customer service software like AI automation to give their customers meaningful interactions at high speeds each and every time.

Improving customer service not only boosts ecommerce customer experience metrics, but it is critical to overall business success - especially as competition increases. With a customer-centric approach and the right AI automated ecommerce customer service technology, your brand can be better equipped to deliver experiences that meet your customers’ needs.