An efficiency boost in service that the e-commerce world can profit from

efficiency in online customer service webcare OBI4wanLast week I ordered something from webshop x. Something went wrong with my order. The package disappeared so I turned to the customer service of the webshop in question. To my great surprise, the options available to me were limited to only telephone or email, the most expensive and least effective customer contact channels there are. After waiting for about half an hour, my problem was finally solved, but I was not left feeling like a satisfied customer. Because, after all, it took too much time and effort to solve my problem.

The example above is an everyday example that almost everyone recognises. The danger of these experiences is that the consumer will choose a different webshop next time. After all, online competition is fierce and webshops are sprouting up all over the place. In just about every corner of the internet, consumers can find an alternative provider that offers cheaper products or better service.

International research by Accenture, among 25,000 consumers in 33 countries shows that 46% of customers walk away if they experience bad service. 47% of these consumers won’t even come back. Important factors for service satisfaction are speed, convenience, and service via the customer’s preferred channel. Reason enough to take a closer look at the service process of your webshop. Are you making optimal use of all the possibilities out there?

Curious how bad service affects your organisation? [Infographic]

The most ideal service channels for webshops

The big question that many organisations encounter is: do I have to be active on every channel? What channels are suitable for your webshop depends on several factors. Many webshops use online and offline media monitoring to provide insight into relevant reporting from social networks, news sites, and review sites. The channels through which you should offer service are highly dependent on the wishes of the customer, the strategy chosen, and the (technological) developments within the customer service landscape.

Important success factors for excellent service are the promise fulfillment and personal and expert service. In addition, time savings is crucial when offering a service channel. A well-designed service process helps your organisation to respond quickly. The question is therefore whether your process is set up in such a way that you can meet the wishes and high demands that are made in terms of speed, convenience, and quality.

Do or don’t: phasing out e-mail

The current demands in terms of speed, convenience, and quality are making more and more organisations want to phase out from using e-mail. E-mail is expensive and often has a too-long response time. As a result, it is often not possible to respond to the customer’s initial emotion or reaction. Satisfaction with regards to this channel is also far behind that of other channels. By no longer offering a specific channel, customers are forced to search for another, more suitable, channel.

Whatever you choose, it is up to your organisation to chart expectations, and to respond carefully to them by offering appropriate channels. You can do this on your contact page, for example, where customers will go to first if they have a question or complaint.

Manage expectations on the contact page

An example of a webshop that understands the meaning of service, is Wehkamp. On the contact page of the online department store, the channels through which they can be reached and the expected response time are clearly communicated. It is clear that there is a focus on calling and chat. E-mail is the least favourably presented with a response time of 2 working days. This method ensures that customers with their questions will choose the other channels faster.

Wehkamp contactpagina webcare OBI4wan

The odds of live chat

We are increasingly seeing successful implementation of live chat on e-commerce websites. Live chat offers an enormous amount of opportunities when it comes to service. Conversion is increased because the threshold for customers to ask questions is lowered, and this allows you to help the customer earlier in the purchasing process. Live chat also reduces service costs, because this channel is more efficient and faster than many other channels. With telephone contact you also have fast and real-time contact with the customer, but you are limited to only being able to have one conversation at a time. Live chat makes it possible to have multiple conversations simultaneously, without compromising the personal nature of the service.

By adding technology such as smart chat bots that can capture first-line questions, this efficiency can go one step further, leaving more time for service staff to answer more complex questions. What challenges do you face with regards to which channel(s) to use?

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