Providing your customers with customer self service features online is a good way to enhance the overall customer experience and reduce customer service costs.
The types of activities and information that can be incorporated into online customer self service function, include:
- Viewing all current and previous orders within a reasonable time period.
- Viewing individual order details including order status and the corresponding, date and time.
- View and reprint a despatch note or invoice
- Viewing delivery or parcel(s) that the order is being shipped in, including delivery status with the corresponding date and time. At the very least, there should be a link through to the carrier carrier’s tracking website.
The process and policy for handling returns will depend on the business approach and policy towards returns. However, if your business offers free returns, then the following can become a customer self service activity:
- Print a returns label
- Book a return collection – if this is something that your business permits
A note on Guest checkout vs. Registered customer
For those that provide guest checkout, a guest customer that has placed an order should be able to conduct an order or delivery enquiries, as well as be able to reprint an invoice or despatch note for that order.
A fully featured customer self-service facility can be used as an extra incentive for guest customers to formally register later.
Customer account amendments and updates
With use of 1-click checkout and default details auto populating forms throughout the checkout, a customer must be able to change the default information easily during checkout, and later through their customer account. Activities include:
- Amend customer name, contact details and other customer profile information.
- Change email address
And particularly for checkouts that use default details or a single click checkout:
- Amend customer billing address
- Amend delivery address
- Amend payment details
Extra for experts: Order amendments
These elements maybe slightly harder to implement depending upon how your ecommerce systems are set-up OR due to your business processes. Customer should be able to amend an online order within a set time period, e.g. 30 minutes after order confirmation.
This is particularly helpful if they placed the order unintentionally or the order confirmation has incorrect information or they in general have second thoughts.
Types of advanced order amendments that could be done online via customer self service include:
- Cancel an order
- Cancel individual items within an order
- Change a delivery address of the order
- Change a delivery option on an order
The latter two are a necessity with the use of 1-click checkout and default delivery addresses as well as where a checkout is less than intuitive to use. This will prevent an order cancellation or even more costly, a failed delivery.
Last but not least, customer enquiries can often be more general about delivery and returns policies and process that can often be answered within the help pages of the website.
Questions are easily answered where this information is provided in a simple format, using language that your target customer’s grandma can understand, and with a corresponding set of FAQs. Site search to make it easy to answer the customer’s question (not the question you think they might ask) will help the customer and remove the need for them to contact customer services.
Information about delivery and returns should be accessible from every page in your site, including checkout and with links on the relevant service emails, (e.g. order confirmation, despatch conformation etc).