Scaling eCommerce Businesses with Tech & Automations
Home is the new office. 40 is the new 30. And, in the world of ecommerce, scale is the new growth.
Now, don’t get me wrong, growth is a significant achievement in and of itself. When your business is growing, you’re adding customers, increasing revenue, and gaining market share—wins across the board and certainly nothing to take for granted. However, growth also comes at a steep cost, or several of them—you have to hire more people, buy more laptops, rent more warehouse space, etc., etc., etc.
Scale is different.
When you can add revenue steadily, even rapidly, at a greater rate than the addition of resources, you are now scaling your business. Digital technology has made this a reasonable goal for many ecommerce retailers, but if attaining it were simple, every company would start scaling on day one, right?
So, while nothing this valuable is ever an easy thing to accomplish, a vast array of solutions do exist for the scalable elements of your business model. For our purposes here, let’s take a look at customer support (CS) and discuss how technology and automation in this area can help ecommerce retailers in their quest for the proverbial holy grail of growing at scale.
An Exponential Increase In Customers Requires An Exponential Increase In Customer Support
As your business scales, customers’ expectations will increase dramatically, as will the volume of their demands. Repeat customers will want to be identified and treated as such. Questions about products, delivery times, return policies, and a myriad of other issues will ramp up from a seemingly ever-growing amount of sources.
How do you manage it all?
First, let’s go over some fundamental CS components critical for your ecommerce site. Then, let’s take a deeper dive into specific automation tools your team can use to unlock their full capability.
— Live Chat: Start The Conversation
Stephen Carl of the Needle Movement has said, “Ecommerce is a negotiation between a buyer and a seller,” and live chat is where that negotiation often begins.
Live chat is much more than just a platform for answering customers’ questions. When used correctly, it becomes an invaluable device for engaging with and helping customers at every stage of their journey, as well as gathering valuable feedback to improve processes in many areas of your business.
Live chat allows your brand to greet, monitor and take care of the customer in much the same way as a brick-and-mortar store. It affords the ability to engage in conversational commerce while moving people through the sales cycle.
If a shopper has concerns, they can be addressed in real time. Generic, repetitive queries (Where’s my order?) may be answered via macros (canned responses—more on them in a bit), whereas personalized, relevant help can be given by a support team member as needed, but without being overly obtrusive, based on a whole host of other factors.
— The Multichannel Helpdesk: All Your Support Tickets In One Place
Helpdesk solutions exist to manage the volume of comments, queries, mentions, likes, dislikes and anything else being posted on your brand’s vast array of social media and marketing channels. Achieving a similar goal to live chat on your website, the right platform can aggregate all your social media, email, SMS, etc., into one place and allow your support team to interact with followers how, when and where they want to be met.
Having the ability to engage with all comments and inquiries in an organized, time-efficient manner is one of the keys to taking your social media and turning it into social commerce.
Turbo-Charging Your Customer Support Through Automation
Here’s where it gets really interesting.
The multichannel helpdesk and live chat may be as critical to your customer support as the engine and transmission are to your car, but additional automation keys exist to unlock explosive power for delivering CS at scale.
— First Things First: The Rules
Rather than take the fun out of the game, creating rules allows for automated processes to function as desired. In order for machine intelligence to behave like human intelligence, rules-based automation is a system that applies human-made rules to store, sort, and manipulate data.
A basic example of this is the identification of priority CS tickets as opposed to non-priority. By creating a rule to tag and sort customers who are reaching out to, say, change the size of an order–a definite priority–you can quickly and easily manage the ticket and ensure it is going to the right place.
Clearly, rules can be as simple or extensive as you want them to be, but, because they are also easily-managed and completely customizable, they serve as the foundation for any and all automated processes to follow.
— Machine Learning
Machine learning functionality can create incredible opportunities for streamlining processes and decreasing response times. Some fascinating examples relate to the ability to not simply read and comprehend written text, but to interpret a customer’s intentions and sentiments and respond based on pre-established rules.
Is the customer happy and using language showing satisfaction? Even better, is the customer gushing and stating she will be letting her friends know about your products? Machine learning can identify the difference between the two, tag one as “Positive,” the other as “Promoter,” and respond with pre-established offers based on their levels of enthusiasm and engagement.
In turn, what if the customer is furious? Having the ability to quickly get an irate customer’s message in front of a set of eyeballs and dealt with immediately can be just as, if not more, important to your brand’s reputation.
— Chatbots & Macros
A key element to scaling your ecommerce business is scaling your customer conversations, and this is where chatbots and macros come into play. In order to scale the conversation, a chatbot or machine learning system first employs pre-programmed macros (e.g., Hello, how are you today?). In the interest of saving time, customers have shown their willingness to interact via chat in this manner.
As the conversation progresses, it may be scaled by handing it off to a live person once sufficient interest has been gauged (thanks to Machine Learning>Intents & Sentiments).
Furthermore, the conversations may also be leveraged. How, you ask? Here are two very different examples:
– Rather than having every visitor to your site receive a pop-up offer, that offer can be delayed until the customer has engaged in a chat and it has progressed to a certain point. At that time, the customer is now more qualified, and a time-constrained offer (30% off, expires in one hour) is issued.
– In contrast, let’s say a store has been getting too many pairs of shoes returned due to sizing issues. Launching a chatbot to let everyone know, proactively, to order one size up could serve to drastically reduce returns by answering the question before it is asked.
The Bottom Line(s)
When it comes to your ecommerce business, the value and benefits of helpdesk and live chat technology and automation in your customer support can simply not be overstated.
Saving the customer valuable time through rapid responses while maintaining engagement is an incredibly meaningful way of providing an excellent customer experience.
Centralized support tickets allow you to have all of your customer’s data displayed when you’re talking to them. Orders can be edited, subscriptions modified, and payments refunded without ever leaving your helpdesk.
Engaging with visitors to your site via live chat can vastly improve conversion rates by turning browsers into shoppers and your CS agents into salespeople.
Responding to customers’ product inquiries on your ads and social media posts can increase your sales and ad effectiveness by the equivalent of a 5% increase in ad spend.
If you are looking for a solution that provides all of these features and more, look no further than Gorgias. We’re designed for ecommerce and built for your entire stack. Plus, booking a demo at this link gets you two months free.