On the 17th of April, 2018, the Selangor Information Technology and E-Commerce Council (SITEC) held its E-Commerce Class on customer relations management, titled EC203, at the Selangor Digital Creative Centre (SDCC). 96 participants turned up for the class, which was led by Coach Sunny Ooi, co-founder of ClickAsia MY/SG.

Ooi started off the class by sharing his own experiences with customer relations as he was growing his business, and used the consumer purchase journey as a baseline for an example. Going back to his previous classes, he pointed out that the emergence of the Zero Moment of Truth (the point in the buying cycle when the consumer researches a product) is a means of engaging with the brand and the product before even touching it, namely, through the reputation of the brand or product.

He also noted that there are two key stages to engage the consumer: before they buy, through a chat system as is usually the case for e-Commerce, and after they buy, which is where the seller seeks feedback and reviews.

“Reviews not only have the potential to bring in new customers, they also allow you to improve your business by finding out what you are doing right, and what you are doing wrong. Look at not just the positive, but also the neutral and negative, so that you can improve your business,” said Ooi.

Ooi also reminded attendees that consumers are happier when the human touch is provided, so being vigilant in responding to customer queries online helps to create a better shopping experience for the consumer. He also listed several options open to merchants, such as a live chat service on their website, or allowing a customer to continue shopping through different channels.

He then covered seven ways to provide exceptional customer service, namely: offering multichannel support (such as being able to transition between shopping through mobile and shopping through PC seamlessly), paying attention to comments and reviews on social media, tracking customer interactions to better provide a personalised experience, creating a support center for customers, providing an online chat service with properly-trained personnel, responding to customers in a timely manner, and delivering a ‘wow’ experience, which ties in to understanding the customer life cycle journey.

Among his personal best practices, Ooi noted that comments by customers were a good way for feedback, and he reminded attendees to thank them for the comments, be they good or bad.

“Remember, it is impossible for everyone to like you and be happy with your service. What is important is that you go through the neutral and negative comments, and improve from there,” said Ooi.

The Online-Offline Balance

Next, Sharon Goh, the founder of IT Comp Sales Service Sdn Bhd, shared her own experiences on the pain point of owning both an online portal as well as an offline store. A common question she gets on the online portal is this: how much if I buy this item from your offline store?

Goh shared that her solution to this is to stand firmly on pricing across both online and offline platforms. Each price includes a different value attached for different perks provided to the customer, with the cheaper price of the online store marked for convenience, and the slightly higher offline price inclusive of onsite support from staff at the store. Doing otherwise, she cautions, could lead to the brand not only losing customers, but also losing valuable staff members who will feel discontent at the situation. 

Goh also covered the differences between the traditional methods of CRM and the current methods. Older methods such as spam email marketing and cold calling are now increasingly being replaced by live chat and social media interaction instead. She also reminded attendees to never sell customer information, as the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA) will catch up to offenders in the end.

Handling ‘Nightmare’ Incidents

She also shared about ways to handle e-Commerce/social media nightmares. Having been at the centre of the “beli hard disk dapat batu” case where a customer received a stone instead of the ordered 1TB hard disk, Goh had first hand experience.

“Don’t run away from the case, and contact the customer immediately. If you think you can’t handle it on your own, contact the platform, and have the platform react to the situation together with you. If it proceeds further, look into getting a PR agency, and clear your name,” said Goh, who shared that it was a loyal customer that had brought the matter to her attention almost immediately.

As for best practices in CRM, Goh advocated gathering good reviews as a proof of reputation, and that brands should create their own icons and stay unique.

“Promise what you can deliver, and deliver what you promised. Never overpromise a customer,” said Goh.

 

Market Info Sharing

The first to share was Nadhra Fauzi of Tresgo, who spoke briefly on the importance of inventory management, noting that her product, directed at SMEs, offers storage, packing, and delivery services, allowing customers the ability to share warehouses with others.

The second was Zakki Abdul Jabbar of My Parcel Asia, who noted that his service was like the “Agoda of courier service providers”. The service will be going live soon, and has already signed up with 6 carriers.

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