man at hotel reception providing customer service that can help upsell

If your customers aren’t satisfied with their experience, you won’t be able to convert new customers. Here’s a deep dive into how to turn ecommerce expectations into guaranteed sales.

We all know that keeping your customers happy is the key to building loyalty and earning repeat business. If your customers aren’t satisfied with their buying experience, it won’t matter how good your marketing is, how many leads you receive or how well your sales funnel converts new customers — they won’t come back.

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And you need them to come back. In ecommerce, between 20% and 50% of your transactions are generated by returning customers, and for most merchants, those transactions account for the lion’s share of the revenue. In fact, the Pareto Principle predicts that just 20% of a given brand’s customers will account for around 80% of its revenue; in other words, your most loyal segment of customers produces the vast majority of your profits. Plus, returning customers cost nothing to acquire and take shorter journeys to conversion, meaning the margin on their purchases is higher. That’s why so many retailers invest in loyalty incentives and VIP perks designed to grow returning sales.

In ecommerce, there are lots of great tools to help merchants delight customers and win returning business. Loyalty programs, referral incentives, 3D and augmented-reality product views, free shipping and even carbon-neutral ordering all play a role in nurturing conversions and enhancing brand perception. But one of the most effective, underused methods of fostering loyalty online is to offer excellent customer service.

According to HubSpot, 93% of customers are likely to make a repeat purchase with companies that offer excellent customer service. That’s a lot! And modern helpdesk apps like Gorgias and Zendesk offer many more sales-focused features to merchants than you’d probably expect.

In fact, while you might imagine that customer service is primarily a tool for facilitating returns and exchanges, today’s platforms excel at closing conversions, raising AOV and collecting valuable customer data.

Here are five critical ways that a smart customer-service program can help you boost profits and loyalty online. 

1. Orient customers at critical stages in the buying journey

According to Shopify, every time a new customer returns to your site to make a purchase, the likelihood that he or she will make a subsequent purchase increases. A first-time returning customer has a 45% chance of making a third purchase, a twice-returned customer has a 56% chance of making a fourth purchase and so on.

Merchants have an incredible incentive to maximize the number of customers that make it through the sales funnel beyond just the prospect of the immediate sale. One effective way to do this is to figure out where a significant proportion of site users are getting stuck and offer a hand.

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