If you run your own online business, you may have heard the terms “customer service integration” and “multichannel integration.” These refer to the same basic idea: putting all conversations with your customers in one place. Amazon and eBay sellers can use this strategy to provide customer support more quickly and easily.
“Customer service integration” refers to combining different support systems. You’ll hear this term thrown around by companies performing mergers and acquisitions, as they need to make two companies’ customer service systems work as one.
“Multichannel integration” refers to combining different ways of communicating with customers. For example, let’s say you reply to customer requests through both eBay and a Twitter account. If you started using an app to manage both from one place, you would have just performed multichannel integration.
If you sell only on eBay or Amazon, then you probably don’t need to worry about this stuff. You only need to go to one place to answer your customers’ requests already.
Things get a little trickier when you start selling on eBay and Amazon at the same time. You have to log in to eBay to handle some support requests, then switch over to Amazon to answer the rest. This doesn’t matter much if you only have one or two support requests per day. However, if you’re getting 10, 20, or 100 messages from customers daily, it can change from a minor annoyance to a serious drag on your business.
If you also decide to create an online store—which is a great way to boost your margins by escaping eBay and Amazon fees—then your customer communications can dissolve into chaos. You now have to manage your replies from three different windows. To make matters worse, each one uses a different interface.
Answering customers now takes forever. Training new support employees is time-consuming and expensive, as they have to learn three different systems. And that’s all before dealing with things like the uniquely frustrating eBay multiple users problem.
At this point, you need to integrate your customer service systems so your business can continue to grow.
If you sell on eBay, Amazon, and your own ecommerce site, you already have three customer service channels to deal with. That’s a pain in and of itself.
Social media also probably plays a major role in how you interact with your customers. That can be a great way to boost your sales, of course. But one day, a customer sends in a support request via Twitter, and suddenly you have four channels. Then somebody contacts you on Facebook. Now you have five.
When your business reaches this point, you can easily spend so much time bouncing between channels that you don’t have any time to sell new products. Marketing and sales take a backseat as you focus entirely on keeping your customers happy. Profits flatline and your business stagnates.
You can achieve a basic level of eBay and Amazon integration with email forwarding. However, this sends messy, incomplete emails, as we discovered during our search for an eBay and Amazon messaging service. You constantly have to log back in to eBay and Amazon to help your customers. This method also fails to bring in other channels like social media.
Multichannel integration can be accomplished using customer service software like Zendesk or Desk.com. For example, Zendesk can accept emails, Facebook messages, and Tweets, as can Desk.com. There is just one downside: you’re normally stuck with the sloppy emails forwarded by Amazon and eBay.
So, how does one achieve multichannel customer service integration for Amazon, eBay, and an online store?
We couldn’t find a solution online. So we decided to create our own: ChannelReply.
ChannelReply lets you see all of your eBay and Amazon messages in Zendesk. It replaces the nearly-useless jumbles created by traditional email forwarding with neatly organized Zendesk tickets.
With Zendesk and ChannelReply, you can combine all of your customer service systems and channels. No more running from screen to screen or dealing with the unique challenges of each platform. You can finally get all of your customers’ questions in one place and go back to growing your business.
We use ChannelReply and Zendesk for our own online business. We sincerely believe it’s the best way to integrate eBay, Amazon, and all your other customer service channels, and we’re sure that once you test it, you'll think so too. So give it a try while it’s still free!