The build-up to a website launch almost always involves a somewhat frantic collective push toward the go-live hour that has the team spinning in nervous hope that all goes according to plan. All the hours of tireless planning and execution culminate into one flip of the switch and boom – your site is live for all to see.
Unfortunately, some teams put most of their effort behind reaching the launch hour of their platform but don’t think far beyond this: a failure to have a proper post-launch plan in place is critical to iron out any creases you will undoubtedly find when you get your first visitors. And we all know that in the digital realm, especially e-commerce, the first few days after launch is make or break time: any issues left unresolved will drive users away for good at a time when you are trying to attract them. This is why e-commerce post-launch support is so crucial.
What is post-launch support?
Post-launch support is a form of post-deployment customer-care support that begins directly after you launch and runs for weeks to a couple of months after launch. It is designed to help new and existing users on how to use your new platform, product, feature, or software. Ideally, the primary objective of the post-launch period involves close monitoring and evaluation of all features and functionalities of your platform, such as technical support, on-site training, handling of customer service queries, and data integrity. The goal is to establish a smooth functioning system that your users know how to navigate and enjoy doing so. After the post-launch period is complete, the usual support activities continue.
Things you should consider
Your development team should provide you with e-commerce post-launch support included in the solution or e-shop build package, simply because developing an e-commerce platform is only half the job. Going live isn’t the end of your journey, it’s the beginning of a new one. When tech agencies employed to build your website do not have a post-launch support plan it shows that they are only there for you until you go-live, and thereon out you are on your own.
Obviously, this is not a desirable situation for e-commerce businesses that will need continuous support during the critical stabilisation phase post-launch. Of course, not all tech teams offer this service, and not all e-commerce post-launch support strategies are the same.
So you need to ask yourself these pertinent questions:
- Does your tech team provide a support plan after launch?
- If yes, what does it include and when did they present it to you?
- What role should you and/or your tech team play in your post-launch plan?
How to provide the best post-launch support for your customers
Whether you are outsourcing or insourcing your e-commerce post-launch support solutions, you need to develop a strategic plan to execute the support before you launch so you are not playing catch-up at a critical time. The priority here is to provide a soft-landing for your users when it comes to the overall functionality of your e-commerce website so they can get right to what they need to be doing rather than trying to figure out how your site works. Here’s are a few tips on how to do this:
- Ensure that your customers have direct access to support
Let’s be honest: most customers do not possess the patience nor inclination to spend much time on learning how to use your platform. They want quick and easy access to any helpful information or support to make their e-commerce experience with your business an enjoyable and seamless one. Ideally, you don’t want your customers to have to require support in the first place, but when you have launched a new site or software that requires some getting used to, it is important to make the access to this support as seamless as possible. Ensure that you have direct chat functionality where your customers can talk to a tech support person in real-time to assist with any issues immediately.
- Ensure that customers have a self-service option
Today’s digitally-savvy customers are aware that they can find solutions to common issues on your FAQs page or knowledge base page, so it is essential to flesh out this information as much as possible to cover all areas where issues may arise. You want to make sure that using your platform is easy, so offering detailed explanations and solutions to a wide range of possible scenarios and potential problems will enable your customers to problem solve themselves (which people enjoy doing) and carry on using your platform the way you intended them to in the first place.
- Create simple tutorials
If customers do not wish to interact with your tech support team directly and can’t be bothered to browse your detailed knowledge base, a good option is to create simple and engaging tutorial videos to assist with overcoming any potential post-launch issues. Customers are far more likely to watch a short, entertaining, and useful tutorial video than read a lengthy paragraph. Video tutorials are great content showcases that provide loads of value for your customers (especially if the process is complicated) and show that you care about helping them along their journey to a soft-landing.
- Contact them directly
The best way to show your customers that you care about them is by contacting them directly from day one of use and check that everything is going smoothly. In this case, it might be better to take an active role in preempting certain issues and catch them before they become large issues. The best way to do this is to find out what your customers are experiencing directly from the horse’s mouth. Of course, this goes a long way in establishing meaningful interactions with your customers and lets them know that they are not alone.
- Set up a centralised support base
It is crucial to establish a centralised base where your entire post-launch support team is able to work to ensure everyone is on the same page and working to the same objectives. Having everyone centralised ensures speed and efficiency when solving problems and allows issues to be resolved before spiralling out of control brought on by ineffective communication and crossed wires.
Launching a new e-commerce platform or e-store can be a stressful operation as so many processes need to go right yet so many can potentially go wrong. It is therefore vital to establish a post-launch support team to offer technical assistance to your customers who are using your platform for the first time. So many issues can (and likely will) arise post-launch and during this critical time, so you want to be able to meet the demands of each issue and resolve them immediately in order to prevent customer churn.