On April 13, 2020, Amazon announced to recruit an additional 75,000 employees after hiring 100,000 new employees since March, to keep up with a coronavirus-related spike in demand. The public relations department at Amazon revealed that it will offer permanent and full-time positions to these temporary positions to stay on post-pandemic. E-commerce has continued to develop globally and will become the new norm.
E-commerce marketplaces and own E-commerce websites are facing fierce competition. With serious competition regarding the homogeneity of commodities and considerable customer price sensitivity, high-quality and innovative products are the foundation for the success of e-commerce. Quality customer experience has also become an essential element for e-commerce sellers to compete in the market. Customer service plays an important role in affecting customers’ online shopping experience, as it is the entrance toward customer relationship development, providing them with shopping guidelines, Q&A, information inquiry, product usage guidance, and troubleshooting personnel.
Shopping through e-commerce marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay, Shopee and Aliexpress, or own E-commerce websites, built with Shopify and WooCommerce, will often lead to a sense of distance and suspicion, especially knowing the products are shipped across borders from another country.
Outstanding customer service experience is particularly relevant in balancing the interests of buyers and sellers via the following actions.
1. Improve customer shopping experience and strengthen brand reputation;
2. Increase sales conversion rate;
3. Increase repurchase rate;
4. Reduce negative reviews and increase positive feedback.
An omnichannel communication platform for customer service is vital for e-commerce sellers, who are aiming to establish deeper brand awareness. Apart from arranging native-speaking customer service representatives, it includes establishing toll-free numbers, email, social media, and live web chat, and real-time messaging stations, etc. Outsourcing customer service to a professional team can make a huge improvement in formalizing and professionalizing the overall customer experience, even arranging with only one customer representative, leading to successful word-of-mouth advertising.
Five key soft skills e-commerce customer service team should master. The professional global outsourced call center provides regular professional soft skills assessments and training to ensure quality customer service experiences.
Callnovo E-Commerce Customer Service Team New Agent Soft Skill Test Sample：
1. Positive verbal expression
Similar to brick and mortar businesses, customer service representatives, who are employed by e-commerce sellers, must understand and recognize that emotional factors have a great influence on the success of sales and services. A positive verbal expression can intensify a more positive emotional atmosphere, ultimately lead to extraordinary sales success. Therefore, it is crucial to keep an eye on whether the customer service representatives possess this soft skill when selecting an e-commerce customer service team.
The following are examples of positive verbal communication:
· “Absolutely! We will definitely get this sorted out for you.“
· “That sounds wonderful; I will do everything I can to make it happen.”
· “Oh, that certainly does sound like something I can help you with.”
· “Would you be encouraged if I told you I will get to the bottom of this?”
· “Thanks! I hope you have a beautiful day. Please reach out again if I can assist you with the next steps of your transaction.”
The following are examples of negative verbal communication:
· “Oh no! I’ll see if I can fix your problem.”
· “That sounds awful; I wish there were more I could do.”
· “Ah, I might be able to get you through the issue you’re having.”
· “Don’t be upset; this is why I’m here.”
· “There you go. If you have more difficulties, I am working for the next few hours, so feel free to reach back out.”
Do you recognize the above differences?
How do the customers feel? To be able to empathize with the buyers is the second soft skill that e-commerce customer service representatives should possess while also being able to express it in a meaningful way.
Case example 1:
A customer said, “When my order arrived, it was five days late and broken. This was supposed to be a birthday gift for my son, and now I’m not going to have this in time to give it to her on that day. I’m angry and I demand a refund.”
An empathetic customer service representative replied, “Wow. I can see how that would make you angry. I apologize for what happened. Let me find out what I can do for you.”
Case example 2:
A customer said, “You’re the only store that sells this product and I’ve been trying to order it, but every time I come to your site, it’s out of stock. I’m super sad. I really want it. Can you help me?”
An empathetic customer service representative replied, “I totally get the disappointment. Let’s see if we can put you on a waiting list to get notified as soon as the product is back in stock. And, I will certainly see if I have access to find out when we might be getting more. ”
The customer service representatives should express empathy by assuring the buyers that they are listening and understand the buyers’ concerns and feelings. When buyers are explicitly expressing their emotions, the representatives must approach and reply to them with empathy earnestly.
3. Ability to listen:
When handling certain details in replying to emails or live chat, inexperienced customer service representatives might unintentionally deliver real-time solutions improperly without a touch of affective emotions and warmth. Such problems are especially prominent in email and live chat templates. If the customer service representatives can digest customer inquires comprehensively, and carefully not to confine themselves to an over-rigid email and live chat templates, they then can impress buyers by delivering services with a touch of warmth and enthusiasm.
Active listening is important as it allows representatives to focus on the conversation while also allowing them to get to the heart of the matter. The standard approach of serving European and American buyers is, to acknowledge that their concerns are clearly understood by the representatives, rephrase it, then provide the solution.
Case (A buyer has not received the package after waited for days, neither did he check the email containing logistics information):
“Hey, I ordered the product many days ago and still haven’t received my package. I haven’t gotten an email with tracking updates. Can you tell me whether or not my order was shipped?”
“Thank you for contacting us. Did you receive a confirmation email with your order number?”
A response that demonstrates active listening:
“Hi there. I apologize that you haven’t received a tracking email. And, I’m here to help. I would like to make sure your order is en-route. Do you happen to have your order confirmation number? If not, we can try looking it up with your phone number.”
The latter does not only explicitly show representatives’ understanding of the buyers’ anxiety, but also actively expresses that the problem is now taken care of and the buyers should not be worried further.
4. Time management:
Response time is quickly becoming one of the most powerful determiners of the brand image of online marketplaces. The longer the sellers take to contact a buyer after they request information, the lower the buyers’ satisfaction, which eventually leads to low conversion rates. Therefore, time management is one of the key soft skills that customer service representatives are required to possess.
With better time management, the representatives can handle problems more efficiently and logically. With higher customer satisfaction, it reduces the risk of expanding the problem, and eventually facilitates appropriate staffing as well as reduces material and financial resources.
Under intense conflict and pressure, it is not difficult to imagine how the atmosphere of communication feels like. In fact, customers who reach out to support are often confused and frustrated. Therefore, being listened to and handled with patience goes a long way in helping customers, as dealing with pressure is a norm for customer service representatives. Their patience is instructed, trained, and professionally evaluated by professional outsourced call centers.
Conclusion: Soft skills can elevate the global customer service experience of e-commerce sellers to an entirely new level. Therefore, it is a gentle reminder to all e-commerce sellers to ensure that your customer service representatives possess the above five key soft skills that will enhance customer satisfaction and further increase revenue globally.