7 Customer Service Best Practices for E-commerce Companies


By David Veibl

For e-commerce businesses that don’t interact with customers at a physical location, having an easy to navigate sales process and quality customer support via phone, chat, and email becomes especially crucial.  Because concerned customers can’t simply walk up to a customer service desk and get a representative’s attention, each touchpoint with the customer becomes especially important.  E-commerce businesses have limited opportunities to make a positive impression on the customer.


Take a look at the top most popular e-commerce business in the United States. (CEO World Magazine)


An e-commerce company’s customer service is thus defined by a handful of small interactions and details.  By making small adjustments to each aspect of these processes, companies can make significant improvements to their overall customer service.  E-commerce companies looking to offer excellent customer service should follow the best practices below:


1. Make Phone Numbers Easy To Find

Some companies make an effort to hide their phone numbers from their customers. This strategy decreases call centre costs, but can also increase customer frustration. Having quick, responsive email support is essential, but it’s not a replacement for phone support. As a bonus, having a prominently displayed phone number can increase customer trust even among customers who never call, which can increase sales.

Photo courtesy of Anselm Hook


2. Have An Extensive FAQ Knowledge Base

There’s no excuse for not having an extensive, easy to search knowledge base that’s easily accessible to the customer.  No matter how pleasant a customer service representative or how fast the email response time, customers do not want to make inquiries in order to get answers to basic questions like “do you ship internationally” or “what’s your return policy?”



3. Call Customers Who Abandon Shopping Carts

Calling customers who abandon their orders is not only a great way to proactively address customer concerns, but it also provides valuable feedback that can be used to optimize the checkout process for future orders.


4. Perform Follow-Up Surveys

Allowing customers a frictionless way to follow up with their concerns or feedback after the transaction not only increases customer satisfaction, but it can help a company identify pain points in the ordering process or potential problems with the product.  This feedback can allow a company to make important improvements to the ordering process, or even the product itself.

Follow up surveys are most useful if the customer feels that their feedback is actually valued.  Having a member of the customer support staff personally reach out to the customer in order to thank them for their feedback or discuss their concerns can help build a loyal customer for life.


5. Provide Live Chat Support

Live chat support is becoming standard for e-commerce companies concerned with providing the highest level of customer case.  But why is live chat support important if a company already has email and phone support?

Oftentimes, customers will have small, immediate concerns that are too urgent to wait for an e-mail reply, but may not be significant enough for them to pick up the phone and potentially get placed on hold.  In these cases, having a prominently displayed live chat window or button can be the solution.

Live chat windows can even be used proactively – a popular way to use live chat as a proactive customer service device is to have the chat window appear on the screen after the customer has been stuck on a page for a certain amount of time.  This is the virtual version of a salesperson walking up to a confused looking customer and offering assistance.



6. Closely Monitor 3rd Party Call Centers

With call centers being such an important touchpoint between customers and a company’s brand, it’s vital that all e-commerce businesses closely monitor the quality of their off-site call centers.  Although call center outsourcing may be necessary due to cost concerns, it’s crucial to select the right partner and ensure that systems are in place to ensure a high level of responsiveness and quality customer care.


7. Detailed Product Pages

By addressing product questions in detail on product pages, e-commerce sites can make the ordering process smoother for the customer.  This is especially important for companies that get a high volume of queries regarding product details.  Adding more detail to product pages can not only makes it easier for the customer to find the information they’re looking, but it can free up customer service reps for other customers with more pressing concerns, reducing overall response time.


This is a guest post from David Veibl, a writer for Capita Customer Management.

Rene Erickson