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The secret to keeping online customers happy is to be there for them at all times, says Dino Forte. Here is how outsourcers can help online retailers win more business.

30/06/2014

The secret to keeping online customers happy is to be there for them at all times, says Dino Forte. Here is how outsourcers can help online retailers win more business.


The secret to keeping online customers happy is to be there for them at all times, says Dino Forte. Here is how outsourcers can help online retailers win more business.

A recent report commissioned by O2 predicts that, by 2020, online sales will account for 21.3 per cent of the UK’s total consumer purchases. That’s a whopping £77.6bn.

This, by anybody’s measure is a huge and extremely lucrative market that will not only encourage existing high street retailers to migrate to more online options, but also attract many new ambitious startups keen to cash-in on a slice of this growing business opportunity.

However, operating a business online is not easy. To remain competitive, e-sellers are expected to be ‘open’ around the clock across multiple time-zones and continents. They have to be constantly on-trend in terms of the latest social media applications, and offer buying options and interactions via the most up to date smart device technology.

Even if they have their own in-house resources, peaks and troughs in demand and seasonal variations can make it difficult to predict even short-term overheads and staff utilisation, let alone what they may need to satisfy the requirements of their business ambitions.

All of these factors can add potential risk to their long-term business operation.

Staff shortages at critical times can also lead to abandoned shopping carts and lost up-sell and cross-sell opportunities.

In the UK, Experian reports that etailers lose over £1bn from frustrated buyers that fail to check-out; this equates to nearly three-quarters of shopping carts that are left abandoned in virtual aisles.

Of course, this is less of an issue on the high street, as an advisor is normally on hand to answer any queries but online there is often no one ‘manning’ the checkout. It’s a tough enough job to get customers to your site in the first place, so once they’re there it is critical that they stay with you and complete the sale, because once a buying pattern is established it is more likely they will return and become a loyal customer.

The third way

One way to overcome this dilemma is to use a third party to plug the gap in resources.

This can provide enormous returns by providing cover or over-spill during busy times and can reduce the number of abandoned carts by offering retailers an omni-channel approach with options such as live web chat or even SMS to engage with the customer at this critical point in their buying process.

According to the ICS (Institute of Customer Service) 63 per cent of people who have a good customer experience with a member of staff would purchase again from the same organisation, while 69 per cent of people who have had a good customer experience with a member of staff recommended that organisation to others.

It’s no secret that if you can deliver high levels of customer service and support it will pay for itself many times over.

Using a professional outsourcer, you can ensure that every step of the customer journey is covered, whether it’s using webchat or providing a speedy response via other channels such as social media or email.

Setting up a full-time contact centre to answer any enquiries may be an expensive overhead, but by employing an outsourcer, you can cover all bases but at a fraction of the cost.

Dino Forte is the founder and managing director of Ventrica, which provides multi-channel customer services for brands such as UGG Australia, Hawes & Curtis and JML.

For more information visit - realbusiness.co.uk/article/26730-outsource-customer-service-to-win-more-online-customers

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