Congratulations! You’ve made the sale. The customer found your offering and clicked “buy,” and you’ve shipped the product. Now what? Is this sale a one-and-done, or do you have the types of customer service systems that will keep that newfound customer happy and coming back again and again? Does your customer service software enable the level of satisfaction where they’ll post positive reviews and recommend you to their friends? Are you able to leverage your systems to deepen the relationship with this customer and offer even more products and services?
You need customer support software to leverage this sale and turn it into many more. You’ll want to have customer support tools such as help desk software to resolve any issues that arise. There should be customer management software to present more offers to your customer. You’ll need a facility to answer questions about the products they own and others you hope to sell them in the future. It’s important not only to track individual inquiries and reports but also to be able to analyze trends in customer demographics and product performance.
It’s a significant effort develop your own internal customer service software even if you take advantage of customer support software open source. That’s why you may choose to employ a third party’s ecommerce customer support software. There are a lot of products out there, and many of them are quite good. It’s not a trivial matter, however, to select the right one and customize it to your unique ecommerce customer management philosophy.
Support Ticket System
One of the most visible aspects of a customer support system is its ticket management system. To a large extent your reputation rises or falls on how well you deal with customer inquiries and complaints, and your customer support software & ticketing system is front and center in your effort to keep your customers happy and keep them coming back.
There are free support ticket system offerings out there, and all of them will perform the basic ticketing functions, but there are a number of characteristics that ought to be part of your system, whether it’s an internal ticketing system or is managed by a third party.
Beside the basic trouble ticket system, some of the more desirable features of a support ticket system are these:
- Ability to link the customer’s ticket to other account information you have about that customer.
- Ease of use features that fill out as much of the ticket as possible with checklists and prefills.
- Analytics that enable you to slice and dice data by demographics, call characteristics, type of product, etc.
- An email ticketing system or a tie to your email system. It’s also good to allow the customer to open an issue with email as well as through a web entry screen. The best systems integrate customer input from all sources, including phone, email, web entry and chat.
- Templates and other support for procedures to be followed by staff that responds to tickets.
- Automatic distribution of tickets to personnel or departments responsible for closing them.
- Ability to take one action across multiple tickets, e.g., to broadcast to all customers who are dealing with the same issue.
- Support for mobile devices.
With a typical IT ticketing system free trial is offered, so you can ascertain which of the features are available and how well they function before you commit to a software purchase. You can benchmark what other ecommerce vendors are making available to their customers.
Customer Service Website
The customer service website is the ecommerce company’s face to the world. It has to look professional, be easy to use and include all the necessary customer service tools and techniques. Nothing turns off a customer faster than a website that is slow, hard to navigate or lacks some of the features a customer expects to find.
Once a customer has made a purchase, activities they might be interested in on a customer support site include shopping for related products, asking questions about or reporting problems with their purchased product and connecting with other customers. When they can’t readily do these things they tend to get frustrated, have a negative experience and tell others about on reviews and social media.
It should be obvious to the customer where to ask a question or report a problem. The ecommerce company should provide a phone number as well as an online reporting facility. Live chat is a critical service. The site should follow live chat customer service best practices such as offering the customer the opportunity to chat and identifying with a picture the help desk agent that will he working with them. It’s good to have a popup that reminds the customer that service is available, but the site shouldn’t badger the customer by repeatedly asking if they want to start a chat session.
There are customer service websites templates to get your started in building your customer service site, and the marketplace has a number of customer service systems examples that can be implemented in either a turnkey or a customizable manner. You can take advantage of customer service software for small business free trials and ticketing system demo to see what’s available and may be suitable for your business. You might find a ticketing system demo or some customer service chat examples that are close to the experience you want to provide for your customers. Explore all the available options to figure out what customer service website template will work best for your organization.
Because customer relationship management is so important to your ecommerce success, it can be wise to partner with robust customer support software like Zendesk. What is Zendesk? You may have seen the Zendesk logo with the stylized Z split down the middle. It offers a range of customer support Zendesk products including tools such as the Zendesk ticketing system and Zendesk chat.
Zendesk pricing is flexible and it depends on which of their plans you choose. Zendesk Support, the least expensive and most basic plan, is the support ticket Zendesk offering. In addition to the ticketing system, it includes social media support, a dashboard and a reporting system. A free trial is available.
Zendesk Suite is the next level and gets you live chat and messaging. It’s also provides for a Zendesk demo in the form of a free trial.
Other products include Zendesk Guide, which provides smart answers to self-serve queries from customers and agents, and Zendesk Talk, which can improve the friendliness and quality of phone support. Zendesk Sell is a customer relations product designed to improve the performance of you sales team. Zendesk Explore evaluates the overall customer experience. Zendesk Gather supports collaboration among customers.
In addition to the Zendesk ready made products, the vendor offers support for a customizable solution tailored to your specific requirements. It includes full technical support with a Zendesk support login and a Zendesk support number. It includes all of the base Zendesk products plus a change management system and the highest level of security and compliance.
In additional to being a consolidated support process system, Zendesk includes apps that work with tablets and phones.
Freshdesk and Zendesk Alternatives
Zendesk is far from the only vendor with offerings in the customer service management space. There are a number of Zendesk competitors you can choose from.
Freshdesk offers the Freshdesk ticketing system plus a knowledge base and a community platform. It can be integrated with many other customer relationship management tools. In includes the ability to convert email into tickets. Freshdesk offers their most basic configuration, which includes ticketing, collaboration and a version of its knowledge base, for free. There is a 21 day trial available on one of their advanced offerings.
Happyfox Customer Service
Happyfox is a leader in ticket automation. To that end it has a number of tools such as ticket prefill and ticket template that aids in a consistent experience for the customer across your support staff. Customer input from website, email, phone and chat are all funneled into the ticketing system.
LiveAgent is a live chat and ticketing support system that integrates email and social media. Its claim is that it’s fast and easy to learn. You can install the ticketing system only or ticketing plus chat or the full product with all the collaborative and reporting features.
HubSpot Service Hub
This is the product of HubSpot. In addition to ticketing and chats functions, it includes a knowledge base, meeting scheduling and team email. Service Hub features what they call their Conversations Inbox which integrates all channels of customer communication.
Zoho Desk is a cloud-based system and includes ticketing, help desk support and analytics tools. They emphasize the sales support capabilities on their customer management system.
Other Customer Relationship Management Systems
Some of the other choices in Spiceworks, Wix Answers, JitBit, Freshservice, Atera, Solar Winds, AzureDesk, Samanage and Front. Just about any vendor offers a free trial, and some offer free or low-cost basic configurations.
With such a preponderance of these tools it can be a good idea to engage a consultant to narrow down the field.