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White Paper

Best Practice Customer Service Online


  1. Introduction
  2. Content, content, content
  3. Incentivise customers to sign up for your newsletters
  4. Loyalty points / discounts / rewards
  5. Personal recommendations
  6. Online chat
  7. Make the most of your thank you page
  8. Customise the order confirmation email
  9. Tailor your shipping confirmation emails
  10. Packaging, packaging, packaging
  11. The follow up email
  12. The customer survey
  13. Social channels
  14. Conclusion

Or read the White Paper below ...


In today’s eCommerce world, the well worn strategy of casting your net wide in order to capture as much customer demand as possible, and then putting all your focus on converting that demand immediately, is no longer a viable path to long term success.

Instead, top online retailers are setting themselves apart by engaging customers, retaining them and encouraging repeat purchases almost immediately. Everyone is competing for your customers’ money so it is crucial that you spend at least as much time and energy looking after them as you did acquiring them in the first place.

So, how do you go about doing this? In this White Paper, we will show you how you can use the tools available to you to encourage those first time buyers to become your best customers

Content, content, content

It’s all well and good making your website easy to buy from but it is just as important to give your customers reasons to come back and buy again.

Retailers who focus on providing their clients with user guides, recipes, fashion tips and lifestyle ideas are encouraging their customers to return to their sites even if they have no immediate need to buy.

If your customers liked the product and/or service enough in the first place to buy it, then there is a good chance they will welcome more content from you. Make sure that you become the font of all knowledge when it comes to the products and services you offer or one of your competitors will.

Incentivise customers to sign up for your newsletters

Many websites have their newsletter sign up box in the footer of their website where nobody sees it unless they happen to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page. They often also contain boring wording like “sign up”, “stay in touch” or “join”. These all sound a bit like invitations to join the armed forces.

Best practice online retailers understand the value of getting a potential customer to part with their details and incentivise them to do so with attractive wording and images in an easy to see, obvious place. Please find below screen shots of some of my favourites.

Many retailers worry that these ‘pop ups’ are invasive and will annoy their customers but if they are implemented properly, they will only appear for people who have not yet signed up.

But remember, once you have their email address, don’t abuse it, use it wisely. Ask them about their email preferences and only send them emails which are of interest to them.

Loyalty points / discounts / rewards

Loyalty points are a great way of telling potential customers that you value their business and are prepared to reward them for it.

With platforms like Sweet Tooth and LoyaltyLion you can implement and manage these types of programmes really easily. Make sure that they are aware that you have this scheme by displaying the correct information at all stages of their journey through the website.

Personal recommendations

In a world where your customers are getting emails from the retailers they have signed up for and also probably from those they haven’t, personal recommendations are the way forward.

Customers value the fact that you know and understand their preferences. Not only are you saving them time when you do this but you are also adding a personal touch to your communications with them. Technologies like Nosto and Emarsys can help you to achieve this.

Online chat

Who hasn’t been in that position where they have one question that they absolutely need answered before they can commit?

Buying a product that you have never seen or touched can be nerve wracking, not to mention the fact that you might not have any prior experience of dealing with a particular merchant.

Offering online chat shows customers that your door is open and that you are there to answer their questions if they have any, all without having to pick up the phone.

See https://www.livechatinc.com/livechat-resources/onlinecustomer-service-best-practices/ for further information.

Make the most of your thank you page

Does your Thank you page look like this?

If not, then you need to consider the following tactics:-

  • Change the wording to make it more customer friendly and reflect your brand and value proposition
  • Provide easy ways for the customer to get in touch via this page in case they have any urgent post sale queries about delivery, etc.
  • Recommend other related products and services on this page
  • Include links to instructional videos, manuals, etc
  • Invite them to provide feedback on their purchase experience

With a best practice eCommerce platform like Magento 2 or Shopify Plus, most of the above (and more) can be achieved using the native tools available to merchants.

Customise the order confirmation email

Do your Order Confirmation emails look like this?

Tailor your shipping confirmation emails I think we can all agree that “Your order has shipped!” emails are the best.

You want to keep your new customers excited about their first purchase and engaged with your brand so if it doesn’t you might want to consider the following:-

  • Have a beautifully designed email with nice copy and images
  • Possibly add a promotion for their next purchase
  • Include upsells again
  • Promote social media accounts
  • Encourage customers to share their purchase on social media

If you can’t do any of the above, then use the order confirmation email to engage your customers by introducing them to your brand’s sense of humour and qualities. This can go a long way to getting people in the habit of opening your next email messages.

The important thing about order confirmation emails, is that you are training your new customers to open or ignore future emails.

Tailor your shipping confirmation emails

I think we can all agree that “Your order has shipped!” emails are the best.

Good shipping confirmation emails should always contain the following:-

  • Lead with the good stuff (Your order’s been shipped!)
  • Make it easy for your customer to track their order by linking to the tracking site
  • Include expected delivery date
  • Offer a coupon, flash sale, or some other call to action like refer a friend
  • Alleviate anxiety by reminding them of customer service & return policies

Give your customers a reason to continue to be excited about their purchase and looking forward to receiving it in the mail.

Packaging, packaging, packaging

When you buy something from your favourite shop on the high street, do they throw it in a plastic bag or a padded envelope?

Of course not, they fold it up nicely, wrap it, put it in a branded beautifully designed paper bag, possibly with a bow on it, etc. This is nice for you but also good for them because it’s an opportunity for them to make you feel special and advertise how brilliant they are at the same time.

  • Consider the following articles by Richard Lazazzera from Shopify Plus:-
  • Creating a Memorable and Shareable Unboxing Experience
  • 5 Ways To Use Packaging Inserts to Increase Customer Loyalty and Revenue

The follow up email

Once the order has shipped, why not check in with your customer to see if they are happy with their purchase?

This is a nice personal touch and shows that you still care even if you already have their money.

The customer survey

You might think you know what your customers want but can you be absolutely sure?

Adding a small survey to your website will give your customers the chance to provide you with feedback and tell you what they think.

Tools like Survey Monkey are really easy and cost effective to implement.

Social channels

Don’t neglect the value of monitoring social channels for customer feedback and customer service as many customers use twitter, facebook, etc to say what they think about you and want from you instead of using the traditional methods.

Keep on top of these channels and make sure that you respond and deal with any customer service issues which arise as promptly as you would if the customer had contacted you direct.


Don’t underestimate the little details

Buying from a merchant for the first time can be a nerve racking process for the customer. By following the above recommendations you will set yourself up to exceed expectations and remove any doubts/worries they
might have.

Rewarding customers for taking a chance with you will encourage them to promote your products and services to other people as well. What’s not to like about that?

Contact us

Screen Pages has extensive experience in this field. We employ certified developers and solution experts.

Our designers understand usability and e-commerce best practice in many verticals ranging from fashion, homewares and gifting to charities and B2B online retailers.

For further information on how we can help you, please call 01932 359160 or email info@screenpages.com

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