Have you ever opened a web page only to be sent to a blank loaded page?
Or faced with a lengthy checkout process that, in the end, stopped you from buying the product you initially intended to buy?
If so, you have experienced customer friction – the hurdle that prevented you from buying.
And why does an eCommerce store care about customer friction? Easy, because of your customers.
Customers are the heart of every business. Without people purchasing your products, there will not be a business. That is why making the customer journey as customer-frictionless as possible is crucial.
Read on to find out what exactly customer friction is, why it’s important to avoid it and how a help desk can help you (and what a help desk is). You will also find out if your business needs a help desk and our top favorite help desk software.
What is customer friction, and why should your store care about it?
Customer friction is any step that impedes the customer from buying your product.
Customer friction can be the extra couple of clicks to do something that should take one click. It can be “call our sales team for pricing .”
It can also be a slow-loading website, confusing interface, ill-prepared customer rep, or check out that asks customers to create an account to complete their purchase.
Think of customer friction as any hurdle that might get into your customer’s way. Whatever the reason, customer friction leads to abandonments, excites, and bounces.
A customer who experienced customer friction would tell you: I wanted to buy your products, but it was a hassle, so I purchased my product elsewhere.
Today, your customers care as much about having a smooth customer experience as they do about your price and product.
If your eCommerce store provides a great customer experience, you will get rewarded with increased revenues and customer loyalty.
Is customer friction the same as bad customer service?
We live in a world where customers are highly demanding. They do not want to wait and need your help now, or else, you can lose them as a customer. While poor customer service and customer friction can result in poor customer experience, their root causes are different.
While poor customer service is a flaw in the execution process, customer friction is a flaw in the design, purchase, or delivery process.
Sometimes customer friction catches up as we are not proactively paying attention to our customer’s expectations.
The world changes- whether we are paying attention to it or not. So, the products and services that will persist and flourish are the ones that remove the hurdle from their customers.
To put it simply: Less friction equals a more remarkable customer experience, which increases your sales. It is a win-win for you (your store) and your customer.
Customer is King
Think about Amazon, Walmart, and Starbucks. What do they all have in common? Exceptional customer service. Gone are the days you could ignore your customers.
Your existing customers act as your brand advocate, and their referrals can bring more business and repeat sales to your business. Remember, a new customer’s success sale rate is 5-10%, while a success sales rate to existing customers is 60-70%.
“According to Temkin Group, companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn an additional $700 million within three years of investing in customer experience. Even if you are not a $1 billion company, you can still expect to see a marked increase in your earnings by investing more heavily into the customer experience.”
As you see, exceptional customer service is the foundation of every successful customer business, and it is even more important to eCommerce.
What is a help desk, and how can it help your store?
A help desk is a customer-contact platform/software, allowing you to manage online customer support across the different channels you receive inquiries from your customer.
For instance, you can receive customers’ queries through different channels like;
- Phone logs
- Live chats
- Messages from marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, etc.
- Or any other place.
Instead of being on all of those, you can simplify the process and easily answer your customers in one browser. What’s more, all support inquiries end up in the same inbox(yeah, just like magic).
A help desk can also easily track message history or manage all of your customer’s information and respond to customers’ requests quickly and efficiently.
Some help desk software can also offer you more robust features like live chat and real-time SLA (service level agreement) management.
As you see, the help desk is a really powerful tool that can completely transform and help your store.
How can a help desk help you reduce customer friction?
eCommerce, like any other customer-facing industry, has a high volume of customer queries.
“According to xSellco data, online businesses receive an average of one customer query for every eight sales. As you grow your business, your query volumes can quickly grow beyond an amount you can manage.”
As your business grows, so do your inquiries. If you are not able to keep up with managing your customer’s tickets, you are in trouble.
If your business grows and takes you longer to respond or completely misses some of your customers’ inquiries, you might lose sales and affect your reputation negatively.
That’s where the help desk can help – it’s a partner that supports the growth of your business and exists to ensure as flawless a customer journey as possible.
A help desk software enables you to respond to more customers without sacrificing the quality of the response. Using help desk software allows you to answer much more inquiries in the same (or less) amount of time.
Most help desk software comes with handy tools that could make your customer support easier. For instance, you can build a library of saved replies. This way, if you are receiving repeated requests, you can pull up your response from the library instead of retyping it every time.
What’s more, by using a help desk, you can enjoy the flexibility of offering multiple communication channels while you answer their requests in one shared inbox. In your helpdesk software, you can quickly see your customer’s information so that you/your customer support team can respond faster.
If you provide a fast and quality response to your customers, this will increase your customer’s satisfaction and loyalty and would dramatically reduce friction.
Having an exceptional customer support setup can make all of the difference between scaling fast your eCommerce business and not scaling at all – because a great customer support setup is essential in getting repeat business and increasing your customer’s loyalty.
Do you need a help desk?
Now that you know that help desk software can significantly help your store, you might wonder if your business needs it.
Although a help desk is crucial for growing your business, not every eCommerce is at the stage where help desk software is needed.
Having help desk software requires time and effort to learn the new system. Also, you might need all of the tools that a helpdesk offers (or at least not need them right now).
Before investing your time and money into a help desk software, you might want to answer these three questions:
1. How many channels do you use?
You might be using email, live chat, Amazon or other marketplace messaging, or any other channels. Suppose you provide multi-channel support (which almost every eCommerce store does). In that case, this means that you should access different interfaces, type different passwords, and answer your customer in a different inbox every time you receive a request.
And what about if you have to search for something? Do you remember which channel it was and where you should log in? If you are running a small eCommerce business where you are not facing many inquiries, this might not be an issue.
But as you grow, you might want to consider investing in help desk software. It will help you eliminate all the hassle related to inconsistent replies in different communication channels.
A helpdesk helps you put everything in one place. What’s more, you can collect and analyze data with ease and reduce the time employees dramatically should be trained in different systems.
If you need these features, then it’s time to consider a help desk solution.
2. Would a help desk save you time to reply?
According to a study performed in 2021, “the average response time to handle a customer service request is 12 hours and 10 minutes.”
So, how fast is your business in responding to customers’ inquiries? Take a look at the tools you are using. Do you meet response time expectations? If not, maybe help desk software is what your eCommerce business needs.
Most help desk software comes with robust features like:
- Canned responses (a library of saved responses)
- Assign a customer to an agent
- Set up auto-responses and reminders
- Automate repetitive tasks
All of these features can save your business a great amount of time, significantly improve your response time and provide a frictionless customer experience.
3. Is the lack of data affecting your decisions?
Help desk software comes with a reporting tool that gathers and shows you the numbers fast. Some can show information like first response time, customer satisfaction statistics, and much more.
Having smart data powers smart decisions. You can tell if there is room for improvement, where your new strategy is working, and how your business can improve. If you are tired of collecting data through the traditional spreadsheet, you might consider investing in help desk software.
The above questions will help you decide if you need help desk software. And if you do, there are plenty of choices out there. However, our most recommended help desk software tool that all of our customers love is Gorgias.
Why do we love Gorgias?
Gorgias is a solution built for eCommerce merchants looking to leverage machine learning and automation without sacrificing personalization and exceptional customer service.
You can also pull your customers’ details straight from your shopping platform (Magento, Shopify, etc.) and automate the responses. Still, your customer would never tell that a human is not responding to them.
You can check all of the great features that Gorgias has to offer here.
The bottom line
We live in a digital age, and now more than ever, frictionless customer experience is crucial for your business. To improve your customer’s journey, you might consider using a help desk solution.
However, a help desk can be both a life savior and a headache – the value will differ depending on your business needs. You need to evaluate your unique circumstance carefully before deciding to invest in help desk software. Whatever you decide, remember, your customer is the king, and you should always seek ways to improve their experience. If you have any questions, contact us – we are here to help you.