Anyone running an online store knows the pains of providing customer service. No matter how eloquent the “Terms and conditions” or “FAQ” document provided on the site, customers will ask questions and also do things in ways you never anticipated.

Some poorly informed entrepreneurs think that doing away with Outsourcing Services is the answer. But think about this; why is amazon so successful?

Anyone who has been buying at Amazon will tell you that Amazon’s automated and human supported customer service is perhaps the best in the World.

Customer service is about being pro-buyer; not pro-seller like most other sites especially the Chinese ones. If you’ve bought anything from Chinese sites and ended up with a bum product (or no product), you know what we mean.

Awesome customer service drives in more customers because trust is everything. When buyer complaints are instantly attended to in a manner that favours the buyers, you build trust. You may have to except product returns and incur loss on the to and fro shipping, but, the next time the customer needs something that is available on your site, he or she is more likely to revisit your site because the previous failed transaction built a bond of trust that the customer will not be cheated.

So, here then are 3 effective practices for maximizing your ecommerce customer service:

Online chat: While viewing a product, a question or two might arise in the mind of the customer. Online chat is the fastest way to provide answers and help customers decide. Having a dedicated person to attend to customer queries also helps build trust that your online business is not a mickey mouse operation.

Knowledge base: A knowledge base is similar to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page except, a knowledge base is more detailed with lots of explanations and examples. For e.g. if might contain a section that explains how to select a stereo or a L.E.D bulb and explains several technical terms associated with the product. Helping a customer buy the right product also results in a happier customer with lesser product returns.

Phone support: Don’t make the mistake of assuming that because you have online chat, customer support via phone is not required – it is. Amongst your customers, will be a small but financially significant number of seniors who were born decades before the age of internet and Cloud Data. For them, “a chat” means talking over the phone. Having dedicated staff to help them make a selection or helping them with returns will go a long way in keeping this customer segment happy.

Easy to understand policies: Go to a lawyer by all means, but once you’ve understood the document yourself, rewrite it in simple language that even a semi-literate customer will understand. Fewer clauses with smaller sentences are best.

By now you are probably wondering about the costs of hiring dedicated staff for customer service. Fact is, for every dedicated customer service staff you hire in the West, you can hire 4 of them from the East. Don’t believe us? Try There are no bonuses to pay, no sick leave, no entitlements – just a Vanilla plain per hour rate which is far below the minimum rate in say, the U.S.A.