How to make sure your online business has the human touch

Australians, like consumers the world over, have enthusiastically embraced online shopping for the convenience and abundance of choice on offer. But that also means online businesses continue to proliferate at a rapid rate, which can make standing out from the crowd increasingly difficult.

While eCommerce will likely be taken in all sorts of exciting new directions by increasingly sophisticated technology, one thing that will never go out of fashion is good customer service. And it’s not just making the shopping experience quick and easy. To really make an impression and to attract and maintain customers, you need to bring the human touch to your site. So how do you do that when you never come face to face with them?

Have a customer friendly website

The first step is to make your site as customer friendly as possible, and not simply a click and buy platform. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to make it feel like a personal shopping experience.

  • Make sure they can interact with you on your site, rather than being sent to another platform – provide a direct link to customer service if possible.
  • Add a pop-up that asks if they need help (we’ll discuss the chat function in more detail below).
  • Include copy in your product description that encourages your customer to ask questions if they want to learn more.
  • Consider having social sharing buttons to category and product pages so customers can share the experience with friends, and also make links to social media platforms you have a presence on prominent, just in case that’s the way your customers would prefer to communicate with you.

Implement an effective chat function

Probably the most important thing you can do to add the human element to your site is to offer your visitors the chance to interact with an actual human through a live chat function. By building a relationship with visitors you’re more likely to convert them to a customer. A good chat agent will discover your customer’s needs and direct them to the right product or solution.

There are a couple of key areas where chat support can make a real difference to conversion. The first is if there is some kind of technical error, especially as many customers may not be that tech savvy and need talking through a solution. The second is when a visitor isn’t quite sure if a product is right for them. By offering them personal assistance and understanding their specific need you are much more likely to steer them towards a purchase.

Don’t forget about effective after-care

The human touch doesn’t need to end when you have the customer’s credit card details though. Consider adding personal touches to the after-sale experience, such as an email thanking the customer for their purchase and recommending other products they might like based on what you know about them. For a really personal touch, include a hand written note with their purchase (if that’s a little too labour intensive to do in-house, there are even companies now that provide this service), or include a value add like batteries or a cleaning product.

When it comes down to it, most people appreciate there is a real person at the other end of their online order who wants their business. If you can make them feel that, you’re much more likely to attract, and then keep them, as your customer.

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