Effective customer service solutions can mean the difference between profit and loss!
Shopping cart abandonment is a direct result of customer experience and can be minimized by employing effective customer service solutions and knowledge based systems. nanoRep is leading the way with intelligent self-service Q&A.

e-Commerce websites have multiple issues to contend with when it comes to optimizing their online performance. Customer experience is perhaps the single most significant aspect to affect sales, return on investment and site ranking. Even Google has changed the way in which sites are evaluated by focusing more on the on-site experience of customers, as opposed to what happens before customers arrive at a website. In other words, it’s all about conversion, optimization and the user experience. Having said that, e-Commerce sites are faced with many decisions regarding the overall customer experience. Shopping cart abandonment is of a central importance and a direct indication of what kind of experience customers are having on a website. Reports from across the board clearly indicate that customers who do not receive effective communication, information and interaction with the site that they are shopping at, are far more likely to simply navigate elsewhere and cancel the sale. This has a detrimental effect on the ROI of businesses, and has been blamed for being the single-biggest thorn in the side of growth.

Ways to Minimize Shopping Cart Abandonment
Effective communication channels are an integral component in the overall customer engagement strategy. The customer service experience can be enhanced by way of intelligent knowledge-based systems that offer customer service at the point of conversion. As a case in point, consider a customer who has questions about the products that he/she wishes to purchase. In the absence of an effective and instant customer service option, that customer is more likely to simply check out with nothing in hand. Customer service at the point of conversion ensures that viable alternatives are made available, and information is provided to complete the sale – thus resulting in a satisfied customer.

There are multiple options available to reduce shopping cart abandonment. These include offers to cross-sell, perhaps even to upsell to customers. If certain products are temporarily out of stock, intelligent services can provide complementary items, additional items, or alternative items to the customer. Naturally, it is important that customers are not limited by the way in which they can contact customer support. Multiple channels of communication are a must-have on any e- Commerce website and the product pages in particular. One of the most effective ways of providing this type of assistance is offering customers to get instant help though the self-service channel – in the form of Q&As for example.

Traditional Q&A systems which rely on static questions/answers are not good enough for e-Commerce anymore as the customer demands instant answers that are relevant to their specific needs. Thus, an intelligent self-service question and answer solution which is not only dynamic, but can also identify and learn the context of questions and products is required. This is to say they are capable of expanding their database, by learning. Every time a new question is posed, so the database grows to accommodate these questions. The old-school systems are not so much defunct as they are now being upgraded to meet the exigencies of a highly competitive global marketplace.

Customers Demand Instant Gratification
Customers too have adopted a different attitude towards shopping since the advent of online shopping. The nowism culture is increasingly evident in the online shopping arena, and nobody wants to be inconvenienced by waiting for an answer or resolution. In this vein, self-service Q&A, FAQ, live chat software, e-mail, telephone, and other communication channels need to be kept open and available to customers. We live in a world where instant gratification is the norm – and that is unlikely to change anytime soon. In fact Darwin’s Theory of Evolution may well be applicable to e-Commerce websites today. Businesses unable to adapt to the burgeoning demand for instant gratification and instant feedback are likely to fall by the wayside.

Shopping cart abandonment is the net result of multiple factors that are less likely to be observed by the untrained eye. These include, but are not limited to, items that are not marked as ‘out of stock’, and conversely items that are not marked as ‘in stock.’ Failure to clearly display the current status of available products can lead to growing frustrations among customers. In ‘out of stock’ situations, further information on what it means in terms of ordering is essential to reducing customer confusion and dissatisfaction. Customers should be made aware of any time delays that may be required for any unavailable pre-orders, or out of stock items. For items that are in stock, shipping is a concern that needs to be addressed ASAP. Customers want to know how quickly they can get their items and order delays are a surefire way to diminished ROI and substantial customer dissatisfaction. 2-day shipping is appreciated and will boost sales dramatically. This option should always be made available to customers wherever possible. e-Commerce websites should clearly take the time and effort to process and pack orders on the same day. This should be relayed to the customer prior to the purchase being made. Another great option that can be implemented is super-fast shipping. Of course this service should be provided at an additional cost.

Other Factors to Consider
Customers are fickle, especially when it comes time to part with their hard-earned cash. They want to be assured at every step of the process that they’re making the right decisions with their money. If during the process of selecting an item for purchase, adding it to the shopping cart and attempting to check out, the customer becomes uncertain of something, this can be detrimental to the sale. Even at this late stage in the process, customer service software must be available to calm the customer. The worst thing that can happen at this late stage in the game is for no assistance to be available, and the customer simply abandons the items in his/her shopping cart. One web self-service solution – nanoRep – proves efficacious in all of the aforementioned areas. Customers will be able to enjoy targeted responses to their queries – both general and specific – regarding payments, products/items, deliveries, purchases returns, guarantees and so forth. This tailored solution does not provide generic responses to customers; it provides targeted answers at every point in the process. This allays customer fears, and allows them to complete their purchases with total peace of mind.

Roy GofferRoy Goffer – is nanoRep’s Director of Marketing. He has over 10 years of experience in B2B marketing and a passion for online marketing and website optimization. nanoRep is an online customer service solution that improves customer experience through intelligent engagement increasing conversion rates, satisfaction and loyalty.

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