May 30, 2012
-- Can customer service and e-commerce coexist? This seems like a very corny question to ask. The answer, surprising as it might sound, is a big ‘yes’. The truth is, customer service and e-commerce are inseparable twins.
One major reason for which most people tend to think that customer service is not needed in e-commerce business is that it has no salesmen working in a physical store. People think of e-commerce solutions as e-commerce websites on which one displays a product and sells it.
This is true, but only to a very small extent. Ironically, the role of customer service is more accentuated in e-commerce, because there may be no salesman, but serving the invisible, faceless customer is all the more challenging in the online space.
Actually, the e-commerce company starts customer service much before a product gets sold. It all starts with getting the e-commerce site to get noticed. At this stage, some kind of customer service starts.
And then, once the customer makes the purchase using the e-commerce shopping cart, another level of customer service starts, because the website e-commerce has to ensure that the product is delivered properly.
Since the e-commerce web site has to induce the customer to buy on it, and once that is done, take care of delivery, feedback, and return if needed. Customer service, although it does not appear so, is more pronounced in e-commerce business than in the conventional, brick and mortar model.