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Ecommerce customer service

Ecommerce customer service is crucial for retailers who want to succeed. Learn how to improve your CX and boost customer loyalty.

A guide to providing the best ecommerce customer service

Last updated January 22, 2024

With smartphones, it’s easier than ever to make a purchase with just a click. But it’s not enough for retailers to just have a well-designed app. If your customers can’t easily reach customer support, they’ll go to the competition—which is also just a click away. In this guide, we’ll overview the benefits of ecommerce customer support, best practices for serving customers online, and the best ecommerce customer service tools for your retail business.

What is ecommerce customer service?

Ecommerce customer service is a strategy for providing support to people who purchase from online businesses. Today’s virtual shoppers want to be able to reach agents on the channels they prefer, whether that’s through a call center, live chat, or other channels. And when retailers invest in improving their ecommerce customer support, they’re rewarded with more loyal customers, better conversion rates—and a clear advantage over the competition.

Best practices for providing effective ecommerce customer service

One advantage that online retailers have is access to rich data. In order to get the best data and use it effectively, try these best practices:

  1. Offer multi-channel support

    Customers want to use different channels for different tasks. They may want to use a chatbot for support, but want to hear about sales through social media. Measure how customers use various channels and use that data to refine your communication strategy.
  2. Personalize support and marketing

    As an online business, you can track and measure customer behavior. When a customer reaches for support, an agent will have access to information like purchase history, returns, and buying patterns. With this data, the agent can personalize their conversation with the customer and treat them like a valued client.
  3. Offer self-service support

    Since many customers prefer to help themselves, online retailers benefit from offering a help center, with answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs), return policies, and more. self-service support options empowers your customers to assist themselves while giving your team extra time to help with more complex support issues.
  4. Use the right organizational tools

    There’s only so much that can be done with spreadsheets and emails. A good customer support system includes technology tools designed for a variety of different administrative tasks. Without this kind of support platform, a task as simple as retrieving an invoice could become a drawn-out affair.
  5. Offer an avenue for providing feedback

    Letting customers offer their feedback helps to identify where their frustrations are. Reviews are also great social proof that illustrate specific examples of when your customer service is delivered as promised.
  6. Prepare answers to common questions

    Many customers have the same questions for common issues. Prepare templates for emails and call scripts with a standardized response. This allows agents to provide consistent support with room for personalization.
  7. Have a comprehensive knowledge base

    retail self service
    A knowledge base is a library of information for your customers. It’s a self-serve option if customers need help using a product or service, but don’t want to talk with a representative over the phone. The content should be well-organized so that it's easy to search, and clear enough for users to follow and implement successfully.
  8. Automate where it makes sense

    Automations allows your team to be more efficient with the tasks that really matter. Many administrative tasks can be automated with the right software, saving your team valuable time.

Advantages of providing good ecommerce customer service

Great customer experience is one of the few ways to genuinely stand out in an already saturated online retail marketplace. Customers who don’t get the level of service they expect simply take their business elsewhere. Providing excellent customer service online gives your business several distinct advantages:

An increase in customer acquisition

By establishing a system of support, you increase the chances of catching customers who would have otherwise started their shopping venture over with a fresh search—and finding a new competitor.

Higher customer retention

Having a fast, efficient customer support service is critical to maintaining customer loyalty. According to the latest Zendesk CX Trends Report, 65% of consumers say they would spend more with a brand that lets them start a conversation on one channel and pick it up on another.

More positive experiences

Throughout thecustomer journey, make sure that the customer experience remains a positive one. A single negative interaction can be enough to drive a valuable customer away forever.

More personalized customer service

Automations, software management systems, and integrations save enormous amounts of time when handling customer service activities. And the hours saved by letting software tools handle repetitive tasks gives you more time to provide personalized care to your customers.

What elements constitute good ecommerce customer service?

Providing good customer service online is based on the same fundamental principles that have guided brick and mortar retailers since the nineteenth century. Anticipate what the customer wants, listen to any of the customer’s concerns, and provide the customer with a product or service that addresses their needs—quickly and easily.

The importance of speedy customer service has accelerated in the digital age. Many customers may be unhappy with the overall experience with your business if they have to wait at any point during the process. Providing self-service options, like a FAQs page, will help customers quickly resolve issues on their own.

Technical issues with an app or website also add to customer frustration. Make sure that the customer journey for your customers is as intuitive and frictionless as possible. If a customer runs into any issues while shopping on your site, support options should be easy to find and use.

If a customer’s concern can’t be resolved through self-services options, live support agents should be readily available. Agents should listen attentively, review available customer data, and provide empathetic and personalized solutions.

Online retailers who provide excellent customer service tailored for the digital age will steadily build a loyal clientele—and edge out the competition.

Join these retailers using Zendesk

How to choose the right customer service software for ecommerce?

Zendesk is a robust, reliable solution that can grow with your business. We help retailers build great relationships with their customers by improving all aspects of the customer experience, offering tools that handle everything from phone support software to customer service analytics, social media to internal operations. Zendesk is fast and flexible so retailers can easily adapt to the changing landscape of consumer expectations and deliver speedy time-to-value.

Zendesk provides:

  • Multi channel communications (messaging, live chat, social, email, phone)
  • A help center with a branded and user-friendly interface
  • AI-powered chatbot, Zendesk Answer Bot, to provide hands-free assistance on your website
  • Time-saving automations
  • 1,000+ pre-built integrations
  • Knowledge manager to foster self-sufficiency in customers
  • Insight-building analytics and reporting

Frequently asked questions


Instacart opts for Zendesk to deliver support across six teams

“The concept of a shared ticketing system is valuable for every piece of a support organization. Almost all our customer and shopper communications, HR, Payroll, and IT now go through Zendesk Support.”

Jeremy Flanagan

Customer Ops Project Lead of Tools

Read customer story

Ready to provide customer service for ecommerce?

With its customer service software, Zendesk has helped businesses in all industries deliver exceptional customer service on ecommerce platforms.

Try Zendesk’s free 14-day trial to experience the best in ecommerce support services tools.

Related retail resources

Providing ecommerce customer service can be difficult, but Zendesk is here to help. Here are some resources to help you create engaging customer experiences.

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