Request a Demo

4 Ways an eCommerce Support Desk Could Boost Your Bottom Line

What comes to mind when you think of the traditional helpdesk?

While the “helpdesk” in the conventional sense brings to mind the counter set apart in a store where staff wait to assist customers with returns, exchanges, and the like, today’s “helpdesk services” encompass a much broader set of functions.

In brick-and-mortar locations, you’ll still find the traditional helpdesk staff, but instead of being tied to a physical space—the helpdesk counter—they’re more likely found roaming the store while helping customers on the fly. At the same time, they’re also likely assisting frontline staff to locate items, troubleshoot problems and offer guidance on products and services.

Meanwhile, the advent of a slew of different software as a service (SaaS) helpdesk platforms over the past five to ten years has allowed more retailers—of every shape, size, and type—to take advantage of cloud-based software solutions. This has helped unify customer and employee support across various channels, including toll-free numbers, website forms, instant messaging, email, and even feedback and concerns posted on social media platforms.

By adding helpdesk services to your omni-channel grocery offering, you can effectively close some of the gaps between your retail services and the ideal customer experience (CX) that shoppers crave, benefitting your customers and employees alike.

Here are four of the top benefits of introducing helpdesk services into your grocery retail business.

1. Limit costly delays (and shopper attrition)

The retailer’s job is to provide a seamless shopping experience that gets customers through the buyer journey as quickly and painlessly as possible. Yet, how many times have you seen a shopper walk in the front door of your store, assess the busyness of the cashier stations, only to walk right back out again? And, the eCommerce situation is no better: a significant number of site visits get abandoned if pages take too long to load. (What’s too long? Try three seconds, according to some statistics.)

Though consumers often show greater willingness to wait in line in certain circumstances, the longer your customers are kept waiting, the greater the likelihood of shopper attrition—both online via cart abandonment, or offline via consumers walking out of stores empty-handed. This can lead to frustration on the part of consumers as well as frontline retail staff, and ultimately, to the erosion of your bottom line over time.

How helpdesk services can help: Whether on- or offline, consumers have access to a resource who can answer their questions, find specific products more quickly and easily, and in general, offer the feeling of personalized, “in the flesh” engagement that shoppers may not typically get from making purchases on an eCommerce site alone. Meanwhile, retail staff feel better supported and also have a source for streamlined information and intel on the availability of a product or service. This can speed up the purchase process, which means that staff member can move on to helping the next customer, which is a better use of their time than searching for that hard-to-find product in a warehouse across the city or state. 

2. Increase employee efficiency and job satisfaction

We’ve all been there, and we all know how frustrating this type of experience can be: You’ve been asked to pitch in on a project that you have absolutely no expertise in.

Now, imagine you’re working the cash desk at your brick-and-mortar store, and every second customer who hits the checkout line asks you to fix your eCommerce site, which has been down for the past five hours. This is the fast-track to employee disengagement, which can lead to poor productivity and worse, all-out staff attrition, faster than you can say “call IT.”  

How helpdesk services can help: Though helpdesk services cover a wide range of different functions and specialties, one of the main ways they can support retail activities is by doing the heavy lifting when technical issues come up, including troubleshooting customer account issues and fixing an ailing eCommerce site.

The result: You won’t have to enlist non-IT people (such as cashiers, salespeople, shipping personnel and others) to deal with tech-driven issues; they’ll be more effective at their specific responsibilities and will be doing more of what they like to and are paid to do, while your IT-oriented team members can maintain control over their own deliverables.

3. Nip customer dissatisfaction in the bud

You probably remember the statistic shared by American Express: “While 46% of American consumers say they always tell others about good service experiences, an even greater number say they talk about poor service experiences. In fact, 60% said they always share the bad ones, and they tell nearly three times as many people (an average of 21 people vs. 8 people).”

It’s sad but true: Consumers are more willing to punish bad customer service than reward good customer service. With the explosion of user-generated content and reliance on social sharing in the last five years, customer reviews have only gotten even more influential—and more damaging to a retailer’s bottom line. From increased price sensitivity, to fewer return customers, to all-out war on a brand’s reputation, no retailer can afford to ignore customer feedback, especially if it’s related to bad CX.

How helpdesk services can help: Most SaaS-based platforms offer a unified inbox for help requests submitted by email, web forms, phone calls and SMS. And some of the more sophisticated solutions integrate social listening services, which proactively monitor social media channels for customer feedback—both positive and negative—and can manage responses that encourage better engagement with customers over time. Such timely, personal responses to customer feedback can avert negative brand impressions before they gain steam.

4. Retain existing customers

More than ever before, today’s empowered consumers have the opportunity to vote with their dollars—to demand better shopping experiences that meet their unique wants and needs. And while we instinctively know that it’s cheaper to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one, retailers are still not doing as much as they should to build deeper engagement and brand loyalty over time. The result: 60–80 percent of customers who describe themselves as satisfied do not go back to do more business with the company that initially satisfied them.

How helpdesk services can help: Consumers are willing to provide more personal information with which to fine-tune their buyer journey—especially if they receive higher value in return. Combine this with additional data touchpoints that can be captured in cloud-based CRM systems (such as purchasing history), and you’ve got a goldmine of customer data at your fingertips to facilitate an even more targeted and relevant shopping experience, both on- and offline. Helpdesk staff can quickly access and provide useful information held within customer accounts that can empower in-store staff to develop the kinds of truly personalized and engaging customer-brand relationships that build a rock-solid consumer base over time.


Articles and resources by the Mercatus team to help guide you on your eCommerce journey.

Speak with the Grocery eCommerce Experts