Speed, convenience and affordability – these are the key benefits that have convinced consumers to make their purchases online. The latest data revealed by a Statista report shows that online shopping is not a passing trend and that it turned into a massive disruptive force that has changed the fundamental mechanics of purchasing goods: e-commerce generated an incredible $2.3 trillion last year and sales are expected to double by 2021. Although online shopping was a millennial preference at first, Gen X and Baby Boomers are also catching up, so that today, about 96% of Americans have made at least one online purchase in their life.
Online retail is still dominated by giants such as Amazon and eBay, but that doesn’t mean that things aren’t looking good for smaller retailers. On the contrary, there is room for growth for smaller stores as well. Apart from a product selection, which is the leading decision factor for most people, tech support also plays an important role and it can help you consolidate your brand in more ways than one:
Enhance customer experience
For online stores, tech support is the closest thing to the client-consultant interaction in brick and mortar stores. Not everyone who shops online can locate the product within seconds, add it to the cart and proceed to checkout. The shopping experience can take longer and your visitor may require extra assistance with issues such as:
- They cannot find the product they are looking for
- They are not technologically savvy and do not know how to use your platform
- They encounter issues at checkout
- They want to make a change to their order or inquire about it once it has been placed
Addressing these issues is a friendly manner makes the customer feel valued. Whether it is offered by phone or through the website’s internal chat, tech support enhances the customer experience and this an incredible benefit to reap, as more than half of online shoppers recommend are likely to recommend an e-store to friends and family. And this works the other way around as well: if a client isn’t happy with your support, they are likely to tell others about this, especially on social media.
Price is no longer a crucial factor when deciding where to buy online. E-commerce stores are popping up all the time, so consumers always have options. Besides, many of them are willing to buy a product at a higher cost if they know that the shopping process on that website is seamless and that the support staff is friendly and helpful.
Professional tech support offers a massive opportunity for sales growth. One way that support influences sales figures is through client referral: satisfied clients recommend your store to others and this generates additional sales. Secondly, personalized support is a way to prevent shopping cart abandonment. According to Forrester research, nearly half of consumers abandon their shopping cart if a question or issue they have is not solved in due time, or if they are transferred from one support agent to another with no resolution.
Long-term marketing benefits
In the long run, tech support can become part and parcel of your marketing strategy. For example, you can leverage the interaction by asking for feedback from your clients: how they would rate the experience, whether they found everything they were looking for or whether they would recommend you to a friend. Later on, you can also reach out to customers and offer them personalized discounts based on their purchase history, thus increasing loyalty and client retention.
Mitigate technical issues
When you start an online store, you need to be aware of one sad reality of e-commerce: there is no such thing as a bug-free service. Granted, you can avoid major issues by investing in maintenance and testing, but, at some point, technical issues are bound to appear. Let’s say a user wants to buy something, but the product page doesn’t load because of database error, they can’t see the product in the cart, the payment doesn’t go through or they get an error when they get to the checkout. A professional tech support representative can mitigate these issues and make sure your client doesn’t leave the store without making a purchase or without obtaining some kind of compensation for their inconvenience. For example, if a product they are looking for isn’t in stock, the tech support rep can give them an estimate for when it will be available again, and if order processing doesn’t work, support can complete the order from the store’s internal system. Even when the issue is more extensive, such as the whole site being down or the store being severely understocked, a sincere apology and reassurance from customer service can work wonders.
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Founder Dinis Guarda
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