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TEST DRIVE OF ONLINE STORE SUPPORT: DO NOT REPEAT MISTAKES OF OTHERS

Alexandra Shiryaeva
Head of Customer Comfort at UseDesk
We did an experiment and send messages to 5 well-known online stores to check the quality of the support services, learn from the mistakes of others, and collect good things we noticed into our "piggy bank". We have added the comments to each answer and formulated an ideal version of each response.
Question:

Hello! I am looking for a game for two, we've searched everywhere but they are all either for kids or boring. It is the first time I am visiting your website, but I have heard many good reviews.

Response:
Пример ответа техподдержки
Comments:

The time gap between the greeting and the answer is too big by live chat standards; such pauses should be avoided. It is better to answer a half-minute later and give a full answer than to say 'hello' and then be silent for a minute. Additionally, it is better to follow the grammar rules. Any recommendations should be accompanied with links, otherwise a customer would need to do a lot of work on his own, and while he is in the process of doing this extra-work, he can get lost.
  • If a customer writes "hello", the answer should be given in the same manner.
  • Customer is visiting you for the first time. Say that you are happy, emphasize that you are glad he is visiting
  • Customer mentions the reviews - do not miss this information and pay attention to it, show your involvement in the conversation.
  • • To make it clear that the question is not a standard one but individually addressed to a customer, it is good to clarify the reason you are asking it – a customer will provide a full response rather than formal one in the manner like "well, guess it yourself."
  • Asking about the type of the game is not enough. Often, the customers do not know what they need exactly, and you need to narrow the circle by giving some tips with examples.
Hello! We are glad you are visiting our online store. The good reviews do not lie – we will find the best games for two and not just for a couple of nights but those that will be really exciting for you. Could you please tell me which genres you like so that I can give a right recommendation for you? For example, strategy, anything with humor, or intellectual challenge?
Question:

Hello! My wife has a birthday next week, and she's been dreaming about the old Sege for a year now. I've already searched everywhere, and I found it on your website, however, it is out of stock – http://madrobots.ru/p/sega-retro-genesis-modern/ – - what can we do?

Response:
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Comments:

All agents are having a rest at the middle of the working day in Moscow - this is strange. If this happens, replace the live chat with a request submission form during the hours of non-operation in order not to confuse a customer. Victor did a good job by making it clear what the situation is - but that's it. Overall, the customer is lost, and the reputation of the store is spoiled.
  • Relevant and not a clumsy compliment is the right step to endear a customer. In response, he may prefer your store just not to upset you.
  • Customer looked everywhere but found a product only in your store. It is a good reason to add to your message that the assortment in the store is really great.
  • You cannot just simply say "no", you need to take an initiative in your hands and search for a solution. Try to order a product prior to the date indicated by customer or offer a better model (be careful because the customer has a concrete reason why he needs this particular product), and if this does not work out, find out where the product can be ordered faster.
Greetings! Your wife is an expert – great choice, this one is not just rarity but history. Make sure to congratulate her on our behalf!

It's true – Madrobots offers a great selection of products, and if you cannot buy something at the moment, you can pre-order and we will deliver. This model is out of stock currently but we'll figure something out.

What is the date X by which you need a gift?
Question:

Hello! How to order delivery to Perm? I need it urgently, tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, I cannot find how to do this on the website. It is not a website - I don't even know what the hell it is.

Answer:
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Comments:

It is hard to evaluate Ivan's response because it would be better not to give an answer rather than giving this one. Typos, point follows the greeting, categorical refusal and a complete lack of interest in the customer — these all should be burned out of the customer service.
  • Do not leave team's avatar empty, it looks weird.
  • If a customer mentioned something he was not satisfied with even he did not focus on this, you still have to comment on it. Otherwise, it creates an impression that you do not care about what the customer does not like or feels uncomfortable.
  • Even if you do not agree with the customer, support him and take his side accurately. Do not apologize, just say that it is truth – there are some things that should be improved soon. Nothing specific, no promises, but be honest.
  • Explain why delivery time is not the same for every city. It is not because you do not want to provide fast delivery everywhere but because it cannot be done physically.
  • To find alternatives, you need more details. Get more information from the customer.
  • Not to sound rude or go beyond the borders, explain why you are asking the additional questions.
Good afternoon! I agree, some things are not obvious on the website - we will send a reminder to the colleagues to see how it can be improved.

Now, the express next-day delivery is available only for some regions — Moscow, St. Petersburg and the regions close to these cities. We are growing and expanding opportunities, but shipping to other cities still requires more time. I hope, it will be changed in the nearest future

Let's see what other options available. I need to clarify a few details regarding your order to understand what can be done. Do you want you order to be delivered by March, 31? Is it a gift or a special event?
Question:

Hello! Honestly, I do not quite understand what is the difference between the iRobot Roomba 616 and 681, but the price is very different. Which one to buy? I want to place an order with you, because I trust you, but the description on the website is confusing, Eldorado, of course, does a better job with this

Response:
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Comments:

There is no reaction to the details such as those regarding the chat and Eldorado. The list of characteristics for comparison is given to the customer to do the work on his own, therefore, it can be said that the question was not answered at all.
  • Customer's words about the trust cannot be ignored — they should be noted and accepted.
  • Customer has mentioned the competitor and the live chat — if you ignore this, the dialogue stops being a dialogue. You cannot write simple "we are better" but you should express your willingness to become better.
  • Often, the customers do not know what they want, so you need not only to answer the question but to figure out what the expected result is — it is quite possible that you can advise something better for customer and more profitable for the store at the same time.
  • Number questions if there are more than two of them. Thus, the customer will not miss any questions and answers all of them.
  • Explain why you are asking the additional questions not to be accused of idle chatting.
Good afternoon! Thank you for your trust, we will not let it down. We will help you to choose and explain what are the differences (we will visit Eldorado website later to see what can be done better, and I'll bring the idea of live chat feature to my manager – this is a really good idea).

To help me in making accurate recommendations, please provide some details:

  1. What area (m2) approximately will be cleaned by the vacuum?
  2. Are there any other functions needed besides cleaning? For example, auto-start, scheduled cleaning? You can describe the ideal version and I'll start from there.
  3. Do you want to choose from these two models, or can I offer you any other models, other brands?
Flowers delivery Flor2u
https://flor2u.ru/
Question:

Good afternoon I am looking for not expensive but beautiful bouquet. today is my wife's birthday, just want her to stop bothering me. Something with roses. It is not clear what is what on the website

Response (it's better to say - its absence):
Пример ответа техподдержки
Comments:

Well, what can we say. If you don't have anybody to response in chat, just remove the chat or make it clear upfront that it may take an hour to get a response not a minute.
  • Pay attention to the complaint – since it is not specific and you are not likely willing to change anything, try to change customer's impression about it.
  • Take an initiative and let the customer know that you'll do everything needed as quick as possible.
  • Do not offer products blindly, if the customer says "not expensive" — find out the price range in order to fit the product to the conditions.
Good afternoon! We try to make the website in a way that it contains all information needed but as we offer so many bouquets — one really can get confused easily.

We will find the most beautiful bouquet of roses for your wife, and schedule delivery for today.

Please let me know what is a budget on purchase in rubles?
Outcomes
The results are sad but predictable: out of five cases, we can consider purchase and confirm a good impression just for one online store. Only "Mosigra" knows what is a full and diligent response, while other companies do not care about the details, and, of course, you and we know that it is not right.

A good and timely customer service is not an unreasonable wish but a true necessity that has come to the market with the high competition. Goods and services cannot impress customers any longer, but customer care still can do this. Customer focus is a reliable way to win loyal and paying customers. However, not so many companies in Russia have learned how to build trustful relationships with the customers in a long-term perspective.

Be the first and learn from the mistakes of others — we gave you the hint.