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How to Achieve Customer Success in an Online Store

You may be running an online store, but feel that sales and repeat business are slowing down.

In this article, we’ll focus on how to achieve customer success within your online store operations. We’ll also explain the terms you need to remember in order to improve customer satisfaction.

Communication Business Avenue, has been helping some of the world’s largest companies to integrate call center systems and digital communication tools for the past 16 years.

Terminology: Customer success, customer support, customer experience

What does customer success mean in an online store? This section explains the relationship and the differences between customer support, customer success and customer experience, which are often confused.

Customer Success

In short, customer success is the practice of helping customers to achieve their desired goals with the product or service they have purchased. It mainly refers assistance in pre and post-purchase phases of customer relationship.

Customer Support

Customer support is the task of solving problems that customers have in connection with the product or service offered by the business. It refers to the work carried out in response to customer queries and issues.

Customer Experience

Customer experience refers to the measures that are taken to ensure a customer’s interaction with your brand is of the highest possible standard. This involves both the purchasing stage and the post-purchase customer support stage.

What Online Stores Need to Remember

Online retailers need to remember that in order to achieve customer success, attention needs to be given to both customer support and customer experience.

Customer experience is the key to customer success, which leads to higher sales and repeat business. It also enables up-selling and cross-selling.

It is important to note that just because you are focusing on customer support this does not automatically mean that your customer success efforts will be effective. Specific attention needs to be given to the customer’s experience with the eCommerce site and products. 

▶ Reference: ‘Customer Success’ fact-finding survey by ODK Solutions Inc.

Make Post-purchase Customer Success a Priority

It was mentioned earlier that a high quality post-purchase experience is important for customer success. In other words, when it comes to customer success, online stores need to give special attention to existing customers. 

This involves ensuring that the customer experience is of a high level in a variety of post-purchase scenarios, including how well product issues are resolved, and the customers’ experience when buying another product from the same brand.

Customer Success Requires Analysis of ‘Existing Customers’

What should you do first to achieve customer success in your online store? Think about measures to uncover the needs of existing customers, not potential or prospective customers.

In particular, research the concerns and frustrations that existing customers have.

By making a list of customer pain-points that have already surfaced, you can follow up on existing customer problems that have not yet become apparent.

Categorise Your Existing Customers!

When analysing existing customers in an online store, it is easier to work if you categorise customers into five separate categories:

  1. Customers who have only made a purchase
  2. Customers who have already registered as members
  3. Customers who are dormant after purchase
  4. Customers with activities such as newsletter registration, campaign entries, enquiries, etc.
  5. Customers who are accumulating points

Analyse the goals and needs of each category of customer and consider which measures will increase their satisfaction with your product or service. You could send questionnaires to each customer to find out their needs.

3 Ways to Achieve Customer Success in Online Stores

After analysing your existing customers, what measures can you actually implement? There are three ways in which customer success can be achieved in an online store:

  • Developing FAQs
  • Use of touchpoints
  • Improved response to enquiries

Let’s take a closer look at each of these methods individually:

Developing FAQs

FAQs are essential for customer success. If existing customers have questions or problems using a product, they can resolve them themselves if there is an FAQ. FAQs save customers the time and effort of having to contact a call centre. As a result, customer satisfaction is increased.

When developing your FAQ resources, it’s important to cater to all levels of ‘search literacy’, keeping in mind that for some customers it can be difficult to locate the information they need. One effective way to improve usability is to incorporate a search engine that allows natural text searches with the FAQ resource. You can also implement chatbots that allow users to find information while interacting with each other.

▶ Reference: Call Centre Japan, April 2022.

Use of Touchpoints

Online stores are characterised by the fact that they have few opportunities to actually interact with customers. For this reason, it is important for businesses to actively encourage their customers to make contact with them.

 

What kind of points of contact should be made? Here are four touchpoints that can be used in online stores.

  • Tech touch point – contact points using technology such as email, contact forms, chat and messaging
  • Low touch point – points of contact where multiple customers communicate with the company, such as webinars, workshops, exhibitions and offline meetings
  • High touch point – one-to-one services in online consulting and real shops            
  • Community touch point – offline meetings and community sites, similar to low touch but contact points where users communicate with each other

How to Choose the Right Tools for Customer Success

This section explains what tools you need for customer success and how to use them correctly.

What Tools Are Needed for Customer Success?

If you look at the ‘How to achieve customer success’ section of this article, you will see that the majority of customer success involves customer support tasks, such as developing FAQs and improving the handling of enquiries.

In other words, the shortcut to customer success is to improve the quality of customer support operations. There are three tools needed to achieve this:

  1. CRM – a tool to manage the line of relationship between the business owner and the customer
  2. ERP system – a system to manage the business owner’s business information
  3. Enquiry management system – a tool to manage, share and analyse enquiries

For enquiry management systems, we recommend products that can be linked to the CRM and ERP systems mentioned above, as well as to customer support call centre systems.

How to Use and Select Tools That Will Not Fail

The way to use tools that will not fail is to link CRM, ERP systems and enquiry management systems. If they are linked, you can see detailed information about the customer who has made an enquiry, allowing you to provide a personalised response. You can connect the tech touch point to the high touch point.

You can also use the ‘analytical function’ of the enquiry management system to analyse customer concerns and complaints, so you can enhance your FAQs.

There are nine things to consider when choosing a tool.

  1. Whether it is free or paid for
  2. Cloud or on-premise?
  3. Can it be integrated with existing systems? 
  4. Does it have the necessary functions? 
  5. Does it have AI functions?
  6. Does it support automation (RPA)?
  7. Does it have a wide range of supported channels? 
  8. Is it secure? 
  9. Is the price reasonable? 
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