10 Tips to Give Shoppers an Experience That Brings Them Back

To learn more about current shopper attitudes towards customer service, Bizrate Insights surveyed 900 respondents ranging in age from 18 to over 65. Of the respondents we questioned, 100 were in the 18-29 and 65+ brackets, respectively, while the 30-39, 40-54, and 55-64 age ranges each had 250 respondents. Of the total respondents, 400 were male and 500 were female. 

This survey highlights the importance of customer satisfaction in maintaining good relationships and return orders. It also reveals the differences in expectations across channels. The key takeaway? Good customer service principles are universal, but some aspects matter more to your customers than others. We uncovered data to support 10 tips to help ensure you’re doing everything possible to keep shoppers happy. Let’s dive in. 

1. Use Multiple Customer Service Touchpoints So You’re Easy to Reach

Online shoppers want several options to contact a customer service representative – partly because they utilize them so much. It may surprise you to learn that 26% of online shoppers interact with online retailer customer service at least weekly, and all online shoppers indicate they interact with online retailers’ customer service at least once a year. 

Make sure that customers can reach you by phone, email, and live chat. In our survey, 38% of respondents said having self-service options was important to them, and 23% said the same about having toll-free contact numbers highlighted. You can offer bot assistance, but it has a lower satisfaction rate than those three options. 

In fact, only 17% of survey respondents found automated tools such as chatbots important for customer service. Only 11% of our respondents had a social media interaction with customer service, resulting in just 5% placing an order. Two other customer service touchpoints performed even more poorly, with less than 10% suggesting it drove conversion: social media interaction at 5% and virtual appointments at 1%. 

2. Make Sure Your Responses Are Quick, Relevant, and Helpful

Now that we’ve all become more comfortable with the online world and rely more heavily on smartphones for daily tasks, live chat has become the most favored form of customer service. 

This makes sense given that 75% said superior customer service consists of a timely response, 72% said a quality response makes the difference, and 69% said it must come from a competent associate. Live chat with a trained, responsive human being fulfills all these needs.  

As the above results indicate, quality matters nearly as much as a fast response, and bots’ limited abilities make them less able to fulfill these needs. That’s also probably why 63% of online shoppers favor live chat with a human when they choose online customer service — and 37% of those who have used it are likely to convert. 

3. Deliver as Quickly as You Can – Even Same-Day if Possible

Thanks in part to Amazon and other large retailers emphasizing fast and free shipping options, online shoppers have come to expect quick deliveries as part of a great online experience. Prioritizing fast shipping and prompt delivery is sure to increase customer satisfaction in the long run.

Responses indicate that 49% of shoppers find 2-3 day delivery an essential customer service aspect, while 41% value delivery times that are specified on the website. Surprisingly, same-day delivery isn’t as much of a make-or-break feature as one may think, with 21% of respondents saying it’s an essential factor. That should come as a relief to retailers struggling to keep shipping costs low. 

4. Ensure Your Return Policies Are Customer-Centric and Provide Plenty of Time to Act

Some items are pretty straightforward to buy and don’t usually require many returns. However, return rates will likely be higher for items where fit, color, quality, or some other attribute can only be assessed in person. In those cases, your return policy can be instrumental in convincing customers to complete a purchase. Having an easy, straightforward return policy is a close second at 64%, and 46% chose having adequate time to complete returns. 

5. Evaluate if Free Return Shipping Makes Financial Sense for Your Company

Most (75%) of online customers we questioned find free return shipping an essential aspect of placing an online order. For those shoppers to whom this feature is a priority, not having it could cost you a significant portion of your conversion rate. If free return shipping doesn’t put an undue burden on your company’s resources, consider making it part of your return policy. 

6. Leverage Stores to Support Pickup and Return Conveniences

In addition to free return shipping, customers appreciate multiple options to make their item returns more convenient. Our respondents valued the ability to return in several ways, with the top one (44%) being the ability to return items to a physical location such as UPS, Whole Foods, FedEx, etc. 

Next came being able to return the item to a physical location of the retailer’s store (39%). Curbside pickup (or BOPIS) is an essential option, according to 27% of those surveyed, while returning items to an Amazon store is crucial to only 18% of respondents. 

7. Use Live Chat and Integrate It Throughout the Shopping Experience

Making live chat available throughout the shopping process can increase your conversion rate. Addressing customer questions immediately increases the likelihood of a purchase, making it a worthwhile addition to your website. Half of online shoppers use online customer service monthly or more frequently, underlining its importance to good customer UX. 

8. Optimize Your Mobile Customer Experience

Whether a customer visits your shopping pages or your live chat interface, making sure it’s responsive to mobile devices is paramount. Our survey indicates that 64% of online shoppers complete customer service interactions via their mobile devices, and more than half of respondents perform 50% or more of such interactions on mobile. 

Making sure your website looks good and functions ideally when viewed from mobile devices is critical in today’s device-driven world.  

9. Deliver Customer Service That Helps Shoppers Buy

According to our survey, live chat was the #1 converting customer service touchpoint (37%). Phone calls scored a close second at 31%, with email trailing at 26%. These results make sense, given that automated live chat with a bot saw 52% usage but a low (11%) likelihood of converting.

10. Regularly Monitor Customer Satisfaction to Keep Customers Coming Back

Our survey showed that two-thirds of respondents regularly used the top three methods of utilizing customer service channels (live chat, phone, and email). These results underscore the importance of remaining available to your customers via the contact method they find most convenient to solve their issues. 

Different demographic segments have different preferences, and as technology and consumer trends continue to develop, these preferences may shift. Making it easier for your customers to provide feedback can help keep you apprised of changes in real time so that you can pivot to meet consumer needs. 

Read Our Full Customer Service Report (It’s Free!)

These “Show ‘Em the Love” customer service care tips will help you stay competitive in the online retail space. Prioritize fast, easy, and convenient customer service channels to keep your shoppers happy and coming back.

If you want to learn more about how customers feel about customer service, download the full free report here.