Guide to two-way customer support in eCommerce

Two-way customer support is key to providing a personalized eCommerce experience. In this post, we’ll explain what it means and outline some practical examples.

Camille Hogg
B2B SaaS Writer

Guide to two-way customer support in eCommerce

These days, we’re all about hyper-personalization. We want the brands we shop with to know what we want before we do, anticipate when we’re ready for a new order, and make us feel appreciated after we’ve reached for our wallets.

In short, we want a great experience — and with customer acquisition costs rising in an increasingly competitive online marketplace, it’s up to brands to provide one, or risk a serious dent in their revenue.

Part of ensuring a great experience comes down to how you interact with your customers and nurture long-lasting relationships that go beyond surface-level discount codes and blast sales. 

To do that, you need to create a two-way communication channel with your customers. In this post, we’re going to define the meaning of two-way support, explain the benefits, and walk you through a few examples of it in action.

What is “two-way” customer support?

Up until recently, brands typically used one-way communication with their customers much like a megaphone. They’d use SMS to send out mass text messages to advertise deals, discounts, drop new products, and more.

But while this approach is great for helping brands reach a large audience at speed, it’s always created a pretty one-sided relationship.

This is why creating a richer experience for your customers hinges on making sure you’re not always the one doing all the talking. Two-way communication engages your customers by offering support, tailored content, and a more personalized brand experience via SMS.

As hyper-personalization increasingly becomes the yardstick for standout customer experiences, two-way customer support means you can build longer-lasting relationships based on more intimate, relevant interactions.

How to provide two-way customer support using SMS messaging

Boasting high open rates, speedy response times, and increased conversion rates, SMS messaging is one of the most powerful channels to deliver great two-way support that truly responds to your customers’ needs.

Here are a few key ways to implement it in your eCommerce setup:

Out-of-hours responses

Customer support isn’t just about the real-time conversations you have with your customers — it’s also about making your customers feel heard and valued when you’re not there. 

Setting up an automated flow to help customers who contact you out-of-hours is a great way to ensure you’re still giving two-way support while communicating when customers can expect to hear from you.

Pre-purchase support in one click using Smartlinks

Smartlinks invite your customers to start a conversation with you on their own terms — but they remove the friction of doing so with a one-click functionality.

When a customer clicks on your contact smartlink, it pre-populates a smart keyword or phrase on their mobile device. All they have to do is hit send, and they can chat with your support team without any extra steps, leading to faster response times and outcome resolution.

Post-purchase customer feedback

Customer feedback is everything when it comes to improving your product, experience, or service provision — but getting hold of it isn’t always easy.

Two-way customer support is a great option here, because you can use an automated post-purchase flow to open up a dialogue between you and your customer. This can help you check that the order has arrived safely or that they’re enjoying the product — but you can also identify any points of friction in your buyer journey and use it to improve your services.

Boost conversion rates with pre-filled checkout links

When a customer is ready to part with some money, two-way support can be a great way of boosting your conversion rates by easing some of the friction around heading to the checkout.

For example, if you’ve got an automated SMS reminder set to trigger when customers are due for a refill, this provides an effective opening to open up replies and guide your customer through any support issues, recommend new products or signpost their way to the checkout. Then, once they’ve selected their product, you can send them a bespoke link that pre-populates their details for them, meaning all they have to do is hit ‘pay’.

This not only improves your conversion rate, but also provides a seamless in-channel experience for your customer.

Benefits of two-way customer support

Having a two-way support strategy via SMS not only helps you foster more authentic customer relationships with your most loyal fans, but it also helps you navigate some of the more challenging aspects — like when a customer hasn’t had a positive experience.

Provide personalized support — instantly

With a recent benchmark report putting the average response time for email support at around 12 hours, it’s clear that being able to provide faster support will differentiate you from your competition.

With two-way conversation via SMS, your customers have a hassle-free way of reaching out to you. Whether they’ve got a product query or received a faulty order, you can quickly resolve any issues before they turn into churn.

Blueprint’s analytics tools let you personalize this process, giving you insight-driven context on your customers’ spending habits and support history in the conversation pane, meaning you can deliver targeted support and build better relationships that lead to loyal customers.

Proactively anticipate and address issues

Addressing customer queries as they occur is part and parcel of customer support, but having the ability to proactively surface and address them is where two-way communication can deliver real value.

We can see a great example of how this works in the conversation below. In this case, once the customer has made a purchase, it triggers an automated flow recapping their order details, as well as inviting them to order something else or ask a question. This opens up an opportunity for a two-way dialogue between the brand and the customer, proactively providing support before they need it.

Nudge repeat customer behavior

Conversational communication can also be an effective way to help you re-engage customers between purchases and lay the groundwork for repeat custom.

If you’ve got an automated repurchase reminder in place, providing two-way support can help you edit orders, handle repurchasing objections, or point the customer to a product they might like better. You can also use it to help customers better manage their own repeat subscriptions according to their needs.

Examples of two-way customer support

Two-way SMS support can be applied to help you navigate and solve many scenarios across your business, including cart abandonment, pre-purchase support, or post-purchase assistance when a product or service isn’t quite working out.

In an abandoned cart scenario, two-way support can help you quickly identify the reasons why your customer didn’t hit the pay button. For example, they might have questions about your shipping costs, payment options, or a discount code isn’t working. Two-way conversation in this instance can help diagnose and resolve the problem while providing a personalized and timely level of support.

Meanwhile with pre-purchase support, a customer might simply have questions about the product, like its ingredients or stock levels — all of which you can proactively address using one-to-one chat.

In post-purchase scenarios, you can use an automated text to check that everything’s fine with a customer’s order. If it’s not, you can quickly and seamlessly provide support via SMS, leaving your customers feeling heard and valued, and providing you with actionable insight on your customer needs.

Get started with two-way SMS customer support today

Two-way customer support is fast becoming a critical tool that enables eCommerce businesses to personalize their service, boost customer conversion rates, and provide a standout customer experience that ultimately leads to long-term loyalty.

Blueprint’s two-way conversational features enable you to offer quick, seamless support and leverage personalized insights that supercharge your customer experience. Book a demo today to find out more.

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Start building sticky customers today with:

Customer feedback

Flexible subscription management

Intelligent replenishments & cross-sells

"The results have been staggering. Blueprint has massively increased our LTV."
Donald Mendenhall
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