We live in an age where customer satisfaction is the keyword. From the ‘big three’ online retail marketplaces to the tens of thousands of sellers operating on them and independently, we are all constantly thinking about customer satisfaction as a way to promote and conserve a group of loyalists that would be crucial to our businesses. In the age of e-commerce, customer satisfaction has to be thought of slightly differently as opposed to the traditional ways of thinking about it. This is because ecommerce inherently operates on the assumption of a distance between the buyer and the seller. It replaces the direct interaction with an interaction with interfaces – both for the seller and the customer. If we consider the need of the customer to interact with the seller as a basic necessity, then we will have to think about online interaction with online interfaces in a drastically different manner.

In this article, we are going to try and do just that. We are going to look at the whys, the wheres and the hows in the context of customer interaction in ecommerce to try and find ways in which the timing and the manner of response can be altered to our benefit as online sellers.

Why do we Need to Interact with Our Ecommerce Customers?

This question might be approached in two drastically different ways. In one sense, it is almost a rhetorical question. Of course the customer needs to interact and so do we. After all, buying and selling are essentially social activities. How else are we going to build a relationship with the customer?

Yet, there is another way of thinking about it – In online sales, we generally don’t even see our customers face to face. We don’t know how they look, what they do for fun, what kind of job do they do, what kind of lifestyle they lead. The nature of online retail can sometimes make you forget that these are really important questions because these exact details might come up in a ‘soft conversation’ missed out in a typical online retail interaction. Answers to these questions are what helps you really hone your marketing strategies and model your services according to the customers’ needs. We must, therefore, find ways to get answers to this questions with the tools available to us.

Where can we Interact with Our Ecommerce Customers?

This is where the idea of ecommerce becomes more interesting, because the internet provides us with many ways to actually engage with our customers away from the marketplace. It is important to talk about social media in this context. Social media presence has almost become a necessity for online businesses, exactly because it allows the possibility for social interaction that is virtually non-existent on most marketplaces.

Your social media profile can be used to solve issues for the customer, provide them with service and accessibility, and also as a means of advertisement. Most social media platforms also allow businesses to collect interaction data and provide various metrics for analysis, which can be a helpful to gain better business insights.

Most importantly, social media can be used to access someone instantly. Customers really value this instant access, which is something that email or even integrated messaging platforms on marketplaces don’t provide. The inherent pace of operations of social media is such that posts can become old very quickly unless there is active participation, which means that the you are expected to respond soon. This is what we are going to talk about in the next section.

How to Interact with Customers?

While dealing with customer queries, perhaps the most important aspect is that of response time. How quickly you are able to respond to the customer query invariably decides the tone of the future conversation. According to data collected by econsultancy, 83% online customers expect a response in the first five minutes of asking a query. If this doesn’t happen, they are more likely to abandon their purchase.

Therefore, it is important to understand that we are working with a very short time frame when it comes to responding to the customers’ queries. Since queries can come at any point during the day, responding to them is a responsibility which must be permanently delegated. Further, your receptiveness and tone while interacting with the customer goes a long way in making an impression.

The customer expects that their issue is resolved quickly, and hopefully within a single interaction. They also expect that they would be able to interact with the same ‘person’ in case they need to follow up on something. Friendliness and respect go a long way in this kind of an interaction. We all know that corporate missteps when it comes to social media interactions can have drastic effects.

Reducing your response time is the most important thing you can do to improve your customer loyalty. It shows that you are always accessible and ready to help your customers out in their time of need. To know more, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading ecommerce experts, and we are always happy to help!

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