Dear ECommerce, There are concerns beyond expansion

So while things are looking up and great for Indian ecommerce, what with Ratan Tata investing in Snapdeal, Amazon ready to invest $2million, flipkart taking over Myntra and Jabong launching international fashion brands while also collaborating with Lakme Fashion Week, and so on and so forth...there is but one thing which seems to be getting neglected. Customer Service. And nobody but customers seem to be at the receiving end.
 

Issues that customers face with ecommerce service on a regular basis:

  1. Late deliveries
  2. Damaged goods
  3. No return/exchange
  4. Fake goods
  5. Delayed addressing of complaints

 

Here are a few suggestions to improve customer service which will not only help ecommerce portals get new customers but also help retain existing ones.

  • Good Exchange/Replacement Policies There is always a grey area when buying from ecommerce portals because customers cant touch or feel the product. Seeing things in personal and seeing them on a website are two very different things. Customers can only judge when buying online and yet if they purchase something, it only means they have placed their trust in that portal. The least that the ecommerce portals can do is offer a good exchange/replacement policy if not a return policy. In absence of a policy like this, the customer will mostly likely not spend as much as he/she can, fearing that if the product is not upto the mark, there is no where to go to. One way of doing this is by offering credit notes that are valid for a decent enough time and not for a week or a few days, which happens often.

 

  • Cosmetics Specifications It almost sounds like common sense but is hardly followed. A lot of cosmetics including perfumes are quite expensive, not to mention they are perishable too. The ecommerce portals should ideally mention manufacturing and expiry dates on these cosmetics to ensure that the customer does not feel she is being handed something from old stock. You dont want your customers to go through bad-cosmetics-experience which can be quite scary and will do a lot of damage to that portal's reputation and eventually to fashion ecommerce.

 

  • Garments Specifications If fashion ecommerce portals can mention a detailed size chart including specifications about the fabric, a lot of confusion and back and forth can be avoided for good. This will surely avoid one of the most common customer complaints about the garment not fitting them inspite of getting the right size and poor quality fabrics which they had never expected, considering the money they coughed up. Different brands have different sizes due to lack of standardization which makes it even more important for fashion ecommerce portals to have a well-defined and detailed size chart.

 

  • Training Programmes I strongly believe, that most of the times, its a communication issue which gets blown out of porportion due to lack of training on part of the customer support. Its essential that ecommere portals train their customer support to handle all kinds of complaints, and handle them smartly and promptly. Promptness in addressing complaints can very well prevent the customers from going to online complaint forums, which happens often because of which eventually the ecommerce portal's reputation takes a beating.

 

In my point of view, retaining existing customers is as important for any business as its expansion. Its important for ecommerce businesses to understand that putting in money will only expand their business but nurturing their relationship with existing customers is what will eventually help take their business to a whole new level. Buying online is based completely on trust. Improving ecommerce customer service will help build that trust and loyalty  as well as help in getting new customers.