Last Updated: December 2023
What makes Amazon the most valuable brand in the world? You might point to its record-breaking $386 billion revenue for 2020 or its soaring stock price in response to this question. Perhaps, Amazon’s two-day delivery service or incredibly low prices are the biggest draws for you. However, a look at the company’s vision statement will tell you why it has managed to keep growing despite stiff competition and a mutating virus called COVID-19. Amazon underlines its ambitious goal in the opening line itself: “to be the Earth’s most customer-centric company.”
No doubt, it goes on to talk about delivering virtually anything a customer might want to buy at the lowest possible prices. However, the company’s top priority has always been its customers, and this shows in everything it does- from product recommendations personalized in real-time to ‘instant’ refunds on returned orders.
Across the company, everyone from managers to frontline workers is expected to put customers first. According to media reports, Jeff Bezos, the billionaire CEO of Amazon, still attends customer service training programs routinely to know first-hand about the issues faced by the company’s customers. This shows that customer service isn’t just a department at Amazon but a vital part of its business.
Customer service culture is the sum of how a brand treats its customers. From the e-commerce industry perspective, this includes everything from its products, policies, and procedures such as warranty, returns, and shipping, internal processes, employee engagement, and management expectations.
Note: Contrary to how it might sound, customer service culture is not just limited to the employees that handle customer calls, chats, or emails. It is the responsibility of every employee.
Why is a strong customer service culture important?
As Amazon’s example shows, it makes sound business sense for ecommerce brands to build a strong customer service culture. It is one of the few things that can help them differentiate themselves from the competition and retain customers longer. Research shows that loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. By keeping customers engaged, you can boost their lifetime value substantially and attract referral traffic. From a customer experience perspective, customers expect several things from the brands they buy from.
For example, free shipping, easy returns, fast and friendly customer service, loyalty rewards, and a smooth online experience. On the other hand, some things that can be frustrating for them include long average hold time, multiple transfers across different departments, late follow-ups, etc. Good customer service is simply doing the former more often than the latter and doing it consistently.
How do you build a strong customer service culture?
You’ll probably come across hundreds of tips on how to build a customer service culture that you can be proud of. However, without the proper fundamentals, your efforts at creating a positive customer service culture are likely to fail. Why? Different team members may have different ideas about what true customer service really is and how it should be delivered. There may also be a significant overlap between the roles and responsibilities of employees across different departments. For example, customer service is now acquiring an increasingly proactive character- identifying potential gaps and plugging them before it impacts customers. Some years ago, this was the sole preserve of customer success teams with customer service properly playing the role of the first responder if and when a customer opened a ticket.
Here is a 3 step process that will help you build a compelling customer service culture for your ecommerce brand:
1. Define your customer service philosophy:
To create a customer service culture that is consistent, begin with the end in mind. In other words, define how you want a customer to feel after each interaction. Next, think about the behaviors and attitudes that your team will need to display to create this outcome. Remember: employees will only treat your customers the way you treat them. It is also necessary to give some thought to how your processes and systems contribute to customer experience.
Do they make it easier for customers to buy from you? For an objective answer, take a look at the latest CSAT survey data and identify the top 3 opportunities.
Now, it is time to ask your team to pitch in with their views; the key is to look for shared common values and beliefs that are generally acceptable to all. By the end of this exercise, you should have reached a common interpretation of the values and behavior that creates the best experience for customers and employees.
2. Empower your employees:
Agents deserve recognition for their efforts, and there is no better way to do this than to give them the ability to bypass procedures for the sake of customer experience. Take employee feedback into consideration when making changes to service terms and conditions, such as returns and refunds. Doing so can help you discover opportunities for process improvement and cost savings. For example, agents may suggest better ways to tag customer accounts that can optimize IVR call routing. Reward performance with promotions and stay competitive when it comes to compensation and benefits. Finally, invest in ongoing training and development to enable agents to do their jobs more efficiently and enjoyably.
3. Educate and emphasize:
It is essential to talk about the importance of being customer-centric with your team. Don’t forget that your agents are likely to look up to you. So, demonstrate the ideal behavior you want your agents to use with customers every time you converse with them. In other words, walk the talk. Investing in regular training and feedback sessions can have a tremendous payback for CSAT and retention. You might find an improvement in employee loyalty too!
A vibrant customer service culture can help your ecommerce store engage and retain customers better than your competitors. However, a lack of resources can often force you to prioritize efficiency over quality service. If this is the case, outsourcing to an experienced partner like Helpama can provide an immediate and cost-effective solution. With our flexible plans, you can scale your support team in a matter of days, not weeks. Plus, savings in terms of training and hiring costs are likely to improve cash flow.
We do not insist on fixed contracts, so you’d have no legal hassles working with us. Our Zero-Risk Money Back Guarantee is proof that we deliver the results! Contact us today for more information.