Why 24/7 Chat and Call Answering Are Critical for Online Retailers

2023-10-30

Online retail (e-commerce) has exploded in recent years. It’s one of the fastest-growing segments of the economy, and businesses within this space range from global giants like Amazon and Walmart to digital mom-and-pop shops that specialize in niche products. 

Despite that diversity, all online retailers should have 24/7 chat and call answering services available for customer support. But why does it matter so much? We’ll explore the most important reasons in this post. 

Online retail: a snapshot of an industry on fire

Before we explore the reasons that all online retailers should have 24/7 chat and call answering support, let’s take a closer look at the astounding growth of the e-commerce segment. According to Forbes:

  • E-commerce sales are expected to reach $6.310 trillion in 2023.
  • That will explode to $8.148 trillion by 2026.
  • Almost 21% of all retail purchases will be made online in 2023.
  • E-commerce sales will grow by over 10% in 2023.
  • Amazon only accounts for 37.8% of online sales, but other sites see more traffic, including Walmart, eBay, and AliExpress.

As you can see, online retail is hot, hot, hot. However, e-commerce businesses must take steps to ensure they’re delivering the best possible customer experience, and that means being there when your customers need you.

E-commerce business owners are busy

Business owners are busier than ever. Even e-commerce business owners have multiple claims on their time throughout the day. You’re dealing with suppliers, handling website-related issues, working out deals with shipping companies, and more. That means you have limited time to answer the phone. Even if you have a team of employees, they have other responsibilities that require their attention, so many calls will still go to voicemail.

Instead of giving those callers the cold shoulder, opt for 24/7 chat and call answering with a trusted partner like Smith.ai. Our experienced virtual receptionists ensure that every call and chat message is replied to promptly so you can take advantage of every opportunity to build a stronger customer relationship but can still focus on mission-critical tasks.

Local support matters a lot

Did you know that 57% of online shoppers buy internationally? They do this for many different reasons, including lower prices, lower taxes, wider product availability, and more. However, if you’re only offering call and chat support to your customers based on your local times, you could be missing major sales opportunities. 

If an international customer attempts to contact an e-commerce business and doesn’t get a response, they’ll find somewhere else to buy what they want. That’s part of the reason e-commerce is so popular – consumers aren’t bound to just one retailer. They can find most products from multiple sources.

The solution? 24/7 chat and call answering. With a trusted call answering service, you can ensure that customer calls and communications are answered every time, no matter when they come through. Why lose sleep when you can hand that responsibility over to a specialist?

Differentiate yourself from competitors

Have you ever tried to contact Amazon’s customer support? What about eBay? Most online retailers are notoriously hard to contact, and that represents an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself and build a positive reputation with your customers. 

By being reachable 24/7 on the phone or via chat, you show your customers that you truly care about their needs, challenges, and overall experience. Those customers are then more likely to buy from you again, as well as recommend your products or services to people they know.

Deliver a premium experience to match a premium product or service

Are you offering a premium product or service? 24/7 chat and call answering allows you to offer the support customers making a premium purchase expect and deserve, whether you’re in the B2B or B2C space.

This also gives you access to another stream of revenue, at least eventually. It builds a stronger connection with your customers and makes it that much more likely they will buy from you in the future.

Your customers expect it

We live in a digital-first world, and your customers likely expect they can contact you any time of the day or night. What’s more, consumers have this expectation regardless of the price tag. For instance, they expect 24/7 accessibility from streaming services they might pay $20 per month for, just like they do from their home mortgage company.

By partnering with Smith.ai, you ensure that your team of virtual receptionists is always available to your customers no matter what products you might sell online.

As an extension of your self-service efforts

Most customers are happy to do at least some legwork when trying to answer questions or solve challenges. Chances are good you’ve compiled some of the frequently asked questions your team receives, as well as how-to information regarding orders, product usage, and more. 

24/7 chat and call answering capabilities act as an extension of that. When customers can’t find the answer or information they need, instead of getting frustrated and angry, they can contact your company. Professional virtual receptionists can be trained to answer questions, provide guidance, and deliver a better overall customer experience.

Become an e-commerce superstar with 24/7 chat and call answering

The e-commerce industry is hot, to say the least. Its projected growth is nothing short of astounding. However, online retailers have several hurdles to overcome to differentiate themselves from the growing throng and deliver an optimum customer experience. 24/7 chat and call answering can help.

At Smith.ai, we offer a team of experienced virtual receptionists to field calls, answer chat messages, and provide your customers with the professional responses they deserve, no matter what time of the day or night they reach out. We can also offer call intelligence and metadata so you can build a better business, handle email communications, and offer warm phone transfers and customer intake services to help you grow a thriving online business.

To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai.

Tags:
Business Education
E-Commerce and Retail
Written by Samir Sampat
Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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