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May 30

Africa Basics: Importance of customer service in e-commerce

By zealousys

Sawubona Africa!

In an e-business, customers rely entirely on visual aids and descriptions of the product. At this point, the online shoppers may face an added burden at every stage of the buying process. Therefore, a quality customer support should be there to ease their research work and help them make buying decisions.

customer services smiley

What is the current state of Customer Service?

Consumers today expect their experience to be exclusive, from the initial interaction to the post-purchase stage. By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. (Walker Info)

However, there are three most important aspects of customer service

  1. Checkout process
  2. Troubleshooting
  3. Post-purchase services

Important aspects of customer service

Following are some most common techniques used by online businesses:

E-mail support or Contact forms

Using an opt-in email allows you to connect with new customers. Also, it allows existing customers to signup to receive email campaigns. Likewise, an e-mail address listed exclusively for customer support helps the brand-image and improves operations as well.


Telephone Lines

This includes setting a dedicated telephone line or setting up a Voi-based plugin like Skype Click-to-Call plugin.



It’s a self-service channel on a website in the form of a web-page or a sub-domain containing a compilation of most frequently raised doubts/issues by the userbase.

FAQ screenshot

Live Chat

This includes a clickable minimized window providing a direct access to the customer service staff. The advantage lies in the flexibility of addressing doubts at a later stage. Even if the chat window is offline, users can key in their concerns, which can be addressed at a later date.



Though not used much lately, forums are a user-generated channel of customer service where informed users address the doubts and concerns of other users in a collaborative format.

discussion forums

Instant Messaging

This involves usage of IM services such as Whatsapp, Messenger, WeChat etc. to address user issues. IM services hold many advantages over the traditional modes of customer service. In addition, they are also convenient and clutter-free to use.


Also Read: Messaging Apps: A new shift in customer service

Why is customer support so important?

Many small businesses believe that customers are important for the overall health of the business. Hence, when it comes to customer service business needs to understand that “it increases your sales”.

In addition, customer service is important to an organization in a number of ways:

  1. Customer service handles company issues in stores, over the phone and even by email.
  2. Best customer service increases customers’ trust which makes a difference between brand loyalty and brand switchers.
  3. Consequently, providing a better support service will build brand awareness.
  4. Good customer services respond to customers’ queries and resolve them. For example, if a product arrives broken or damaged or is the wrong size or style, the customer service helps with a  clear direction on how to resolve the issue.
  5. Providing customers with after-sale service increases a repeated customer visit to your site.
  6. Generate positive word-of-mouth about your business.

The Takeaway

Offering support services to e-commerce customers is an integral part of product experience. Therefore, an e-commerce business must focus towards the efficient customer support and higher customer satisfaction levels.

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