How Poor Quality Customer Service Can Harm Your E-commerce Site

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Good Customer Service Increases Sales 

If you’ve ever worked in retail, you’ll know just how important it is to ensure that customers leave your store happy - both with the product and with the service that your company has provided. The customer experience continues as they use your product, often translating into potential for additional revenue from repeat buyers or people influenced by positive word of mouth.

Due to this, your customer service offering can have a significant  impact on your revenue. If you’re not actively considering consumer sentiment as a metric, then you could be unintentionally driving customers away and missing out on revenue. In this post, we’ll outline some of the ways that poor quality customer service can harm your e-commerce website. 

Social Media Complaints Will Increase

In 2020, customers are well aware that if they complain in a ‘public space’ such as on social media, they are likely to receive the best customer service. A social media survey found we carried out found that 5% of people follow brands on social media just so that they can complain. 

Brands need to be seen responding to unhappy customers in a way that showcases their most effective problem-solving skills. Unfortunately, if you don’t deal with complaints in a timely or constructive way, anyone who lands on your profiles will only see the negative comments, and not the positive way in which they were handled. This poor customer service could be turning potential customers away from making a purchase, as it will look as though you don’t care about your customers. 

Our advice: Respond to every customer complaint. Don’t use a generic message - consumers want to feel like they’re being heard and you’re dealing with their individual issue. Struggling to cope with the sheer number of customer messages? Program a chatbot to respond to common customer queries and escalate to a human where necessary. 

Your Reputation will be Damaged 

If potential customers are searching for your brand, are you confident that they will have a positive judgement of your business? If you are receiving negative reviews on multiple platforms, then you must ask yourself, why should a customer trust you with their money - would you give money to a brand with bad online reviews?

Damage to your reputation is the worst possible outcome from negative customer service, and in some cases the damage is irreparable. 

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently." - Warren Buffett

Our advice: If you’ve had a customer service ‘incident’, or you’re finding that your negative reviews are damaging your reputation, it’s time to formulate a plan and respond accordingly. If necessary, put out a statement to say that your business is aware of the negative issue and you’re dealing with it. You then need to demonstrate to customers that there is a plan in place to deal with negative customer service. 

Your Average Order Value (AOV) is Likely to Drop 

You might have noticed that traffic levels are static but revenue is down. This is likely due to your average order value being lower - people aren’t buying as much, or maybe they’re going for the lower-end product. 

However, a lower average order value can also be an indicator that poor-quality customer service and negative reviews are impacting your business. 

For example, perhaps they’ve seen reviews of orders that have been handled badly and that has impacted whether they want to buy higher priced items from you. People may be willing to take a risk on a company with poor reviews if the cost of the item is low - but if the products you sell are worth hundreds, or even thousands of pounds, then customers will be more inclined to turn to your competitors. 

Left unchecked, this could lead to a long-term, devastating effect on your profits. 

Our advice: To keep AOV high and negative reviews to a minimum, it’s important to offer a fantastic user experience to visitors. If you’re able to, combine products to offer bundles, so that users are encouraged to buy complimentary products when browsing for one item. Try to utilise cross-selling modules to suggest new products, and upsell to more advanced models where possible. Try taking a look at user experience in general, and improve conversion rate by enhancing the customer journey. 

Your Bounce Rate Could Increase

If you are receiving a lot of negative customer reviews and you can see that bounce rate is creeping up, it could be that people are coming to your site to see if it’s as bad as they think it will be. These users have no intention of buying and will be artificially inflating your bounce rate. 

Our advice: Check for any spikes in referral traffic from third party review sites, or from social media sites (especially if you’re experiencing negative customer reviews on social media, or someone has complained about your store on social media). Try turning on private messaging so that you can channel customer complaints into a private space. Customers feel like they are being ‘heard’ by the brand, and you can protect your brand reputation. 

What You Should Do To Improve Customer Service 

If your business is struggling with negative customer service, we'd suggest that you take this approach: 

  • Make sure you are monitoring customer satisfaction. If you repeatedly experience the same issues from customers make sure you identify and address the root cause to improve your service.  
  • Make sure you are training your staff to provide good customer service. Training staff to ensure that they know how to deal with unhappy customers in a timely manner is a quick way to deal with negative customer experiences. Handling customer complaints in an open forum, like on social media, shows consumers that the business is efficient when dealing with complaints. But make sure you make more difficult conversations you need to have with customers private - avoid slanging matches at all costs. 
  • Consider using technology to help provide an enhanced service. Using tools that can help manage customers queries, like chatbots or even comprehensive FAQ pages, shows customers and website users that you care about their experience with you.

Help Me With Customer Service

According to a report commissioned by ZenDesk, 97% of consumers say bad customer service changes buying behavior, and 87% say good customer service changes buying behavior.  Customers are essential to any business, and in the age of social media it’s more important than ever to provide a fantastic service that is worth sharing. 

If you’re currently experiencing negative feedback, and want advice on how to manage your customer service expectations, implement a chatbot or increase AOV then don’t hesitate to get in touch. Speak to us by using our contact form or by giving us a call on 0161 402 3170 

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