Over and Out: Going Over and Above with eCommerce Customer Service

20th Oct 2015

One of the main problems with customer service in eCommerce is… just that. There’s no Face-to-Face contact, which can work to alleviate any anger issues during confrontation and make a customer feel more valued during the better times. However, with current technology you can largely overcome this problem with a few simple add-ons to existing, commonplace online customer service practices.

Seriously Low Free Delivery

I’ve seen this on two eCommerce sites that offer items at the more budget end – one offered free delivery on all orders over £15, the other just £10. I’m unsure of the logistics and price points involved in making such a low order value financially viable for free delivery, however as an avid online shopper I always love a bargain, and free delivery - however calculated - is most certainly a bargain. There's an interesting piece on the psychology of this - and why 60% of eCommerce stores offer free delivery of some kind - here.

Extra Attention to Detail

Ok this isn’t strictly an eCommerce customer service example but I do think it’s fabulous all the same. Who’s flown Virgin Atlantic? I think their notification system is wonderful. If a flight’s delayed, you get a text in ample time to delay your departure for the airport and prevent a frustrating wait in the lounge. One eCommerce company I’ve seen does something similar, offering an email and/or text detailing the precise hour in which their delivery is arriving. A small text can make a big difference.

Additional Free Re-Delivery

I’ve seen an eCommerce site that offers the following; when they receive a delivery return, they offer a second one-off free delivery. Mistakes do happen, and as a customer having free re-delivery at a time chosen by me as an option – whatever the monetary value of the order, proves to me the vendor cares about my custom.

Real Reviews

Make leaving a review easy! I wrote about reviews previously here so I won’t digress, but a review feature is almost imperative now given how many people are using Feefo or Trustpilot. One site I know of has a question/answer feature on each product page which saves to that specific page so future customers don’t have to re-ask the question, they can already see it onscreen.

A Dead Cert Discount

Discounts always get me going! And I’ve seen a number of first-time-buy discounts offered… though be careful not to neglect or affront your loyal regular customers with offers of this nature. The guys at Jollybrolly send discount codes out with their orders in addition to offering the above for first timers, ensuring their returning customers don’t miss out either.

Have a Heart, Have a Chit Chat

The online chat features available now for eCommerce can be controlled down to the very last detail. For example, say I visit an eCommerce site multiple times and I’ve been on a specific product page for over a minute, you can choose to then and only then send me a chat invite. Having a wanted pop up (for a change…) in the form of a live chat can really help one feel valued – even from the other end of a computer.

Automation vs. Manual

I recently ordered sportswear from a brand called Labella Mafia in the US, the emails I got were lovely and personal and when I wanted to get a real person on the other end of the phone… I could. It works and it made me feel valued. Additionally, I think it’s good to take advantage of all online channels and have a real person on the end of each helping all customers in real time – be this social media, phone, email or live chat, financials permitting of course.


A lot of the above-mentioned actions are already in place in eCommerce to some degree… there are just companies out there making them better. As Sir David Brailsford said, if you can improve every component of what you do by just 1%, you get phenomenal results… or customer service in our case!


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