4 Ways Online Marketplaces Are Revolutionizing Customer Service

Angeline Rast
18 March 2019

Online marketplaces are revolutionizing customer service and turning it to be the main stand especially when it comes to developing your brand. The highly competitive nature of online platforms ensures that they leverage on that which the average webshop keeps hitting blanks – that is, prompt and friendly responses, competitive prices, and improved customer experiences.

Stellar customer service is proving to be the game changer, and this is highlighted by a study conducted by Walker. B2B buyers have learned from B2C online platforms to expect the essentials of a good online marketplace, such as supply monitoring, convenience, and transparent procurement.

Still, a significant number of businesses are reluctant to embrace online marketplaces especially when it means depersonalizing their customer engagement process. By directing customers to an online portal instead of the “tried and tested- come on in, our doors are always open to serve you” approach, a sizable chunk of B2B sellers fear losing touch with the customer, thus fearing that taking the online marketplace route could hurt their business prospects.

Here is a look at how online marketplaces are ensuring that depersonalization of customer service is not a problem, and how they are revolutionizing customer service.

Instant messaging

Most online platforms are integrating the live chat option to bring in the much-needed human aspect to e-commerce. Most businesses often need the assurance that transactions are going through as expected in real-time. While this has involved face-to-face dealings in the past, IM, in the form of Live Chats, are instant and can help in the same regard.

An online platform has a greater chance of success if it can convince B2B sellers that they won’t suffer a loss of customers after migrating to the online platform. Instant Messaging can help strengthen customer relationships by ensuring instant correspondence and follow-ups.

Customer reviews

Customers not only want to read previous buyer’s reviews, but they are also more interested in the authenticity of the feedback. To be sure that sellers didn’t curate the feedback system to show only positive reviews (which is easy to do with a webshop), they’ll prefer an independent online marketplace – where reviews cannot be tailored.

This is all part of the B2B buyers’ supplier vetting process. It helps to ascertain a couple of things about the B2B seller.

  • To ensure the other party is compliant with regulatory norms
  • Ensure the supplier has a reputation for honoring commitments

When using an online platform, the vetting process is conducted through the platform, and this has an added advantage.

For instance, checking up the seller’s customer reviews from previous buyers can help establish trust, and help speed up the procurement process.

Servicing the omni-channel buyer

This refers to integrating different mediums of correspondence that are used by both potential and existing clients. When a customer feels they are not getting help through one medium, they are likely to switch channels. And when they do, they expect that they won’t have to start explaining their predicament right from the start – all over again. Marketplaces have mastered the art of servicing the omnichannel buyer, meeting the buyer whichever way he/she prefers.

Right up this alley, is online platforms’ continuous and prompt optimization of their customer service channels to meet the needs of their B2B customers.  

Integrate prudent email support

Email remains an important business communication tool, especially for B2B parties. Business sellers can choose an online platform with an elaborate email support system to ensure that customers have smooth experiences.

In this regard, one important way to cultivate strong customer service for online marketplaces is by securing correspondence. B2B buyers are normally concerned about data security, and the sellers that are able to guard their buyers’ sensitive transaction details will always have the B2B buyer’ confidence and trust.

Bottom line

Customers are learning to expect quality customer service, and B2B sellers should respond—by looking to embrace online B2B platforms. While some sellers fear that depersonalization of customer service that comes with online marketplaces may lead to customer loss; using customer engagement tools such as Instant Messaging, Customer reviews, and email support can help maintain, and even increase customers. By streamlining customer service, B2B sellers can expect scalability and improved ROI as a result.

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