Lazada: “Customer care is paramount!”

09:00 | 05/06/2018
To offer better shopping experience for customers, Lazada has introduced innovative tools to meet the needs of shoppers, especially during its sixth birthday campaign during which the company is running various promotions. VIR's Nguyen Huong spoke with Vu Ngoc Lam, Lazada’s customer care officer, about the firm’s customer experience initiatives.
lazada lam vu customer care is paramount
Vu Ngoc Lam, Lazada's customer care officer

It has been almost a year since you were appointed as customer care officer. Can you tell us about the obstacles, challenges, and improvements during this past year?

E-commerce in Vietnam is still in its early stages, with many challenges still yet to overcome. From our perspective, there are three particular elements that are driving our company strategy: a massive number of customer contacts, government policies for e-commerce sellers, and a desire to build customer experience.

Vietnam has one of the highest number of contacts per order (i.e. the number of times a customer will call us regarding their order) among the six markets that Lazada operates in. Because of this, we had to run a very large team last year, and so we realised that we had to change, otherwise we would not be able to cope with future increases in the number of orders. As such, we improved our notifications regarding customer order statuses, and we have also introduced a chatbot to answer general questions from customers.

As a marketplace platform, we want to create a fair and user-friendly platform for all sellers, from small individual sellers and “mom and pop” shops to big retailers and brands. However, many sellers are unfamiliar with e-commerce and how it works, and it takes a lot of effort to educate the sellers to process their orders on time, to manage prices and stock correctly, and so on.

It is very challenging to find the right balance for platform governance: making the platform too strict would inhibit new small sellers from joining, and to the other extreme, if the platform is too open, then customer experience would suffer from sellers’ mistakes.

Recently, the 6th birthday event of Lazada has elicited a good response from other e-commerce platforms and small businesses. What is your opinion on the campaign?

It is a good sign for the development of e-commerce in Vietnam, and consumers benefit the most. Like the OnlineRevolution 11.11-12.12, with the leading activities of Lazada, other businesses have responded, attracting not only media attention but also contributing to changing consumer behaviour from traditional shopping to e-commerce.

We are going to launch many new products and features for both sellers and consumers. We believe that Lazada will have plenty more opportunities to continue influencing and will coordinate with its affiliates to offer consumers a more enjoyable experience.

lazada lam vu customer care is paramount
Lazada’s campaign for the sixth birthday in May

However, there has been negative feedback about product quality and customer service after the campaign. What are the reasons behind this situation?

The Lazada 6th Birthday Campaign’s deals and FlashSale programme raised significant interest among shoppers. Lazada and collaborators had been preparing for months.

Unfortunately, there were orders cancelled due to stock management, and price accuracy. We sincerely apologise to our customers for causing disappointment which resulted from the insufficient demand planning and operation.

Given our experience in running promotions, this was unacceptable, and we are committed to do better.

Although the e-commerce market is considered to have a lot of potential, many businesses have lost faith in it. What strategies will Lazada use to build trust and support sellers?

The Vietnamese e-commerce market still has a long way to go to fully mature. However, I believe that customers and sellers still have faith in e-commerce, which is clearly demonstrated by the growing number of daily orders as well as sellers on Lazada.

Lazada, as a pioneer in Vietnam, is always looking to improve its e-commerce platform to offer more opportunities to sellers. To protect customers’ rights, Lazada will add a rating tool for sellers, which will delivery time, seller experience, and product rating from customers who have bought products.

We believe this will help to give customers a clearer sense of choice, while more reliable sellers will be elevated. We believe that if performance score becomes a key factor affecting buyer decision and seller revenue, sellers will invest more in customer service.

E-commerce suppliers are largely responsible for product quality and shipping time. However, Lazada officially launched its trading platform in 2015. Why were there not so many problems back than as there are since Alibaba’s investment?

With the investment of Alibaba, Lazada is able to provide more products and services, and expand our logistics services to serve customers all over the country. Ever since then, Lazada has attracted more and more customers every day, with now more than 31 million visits every month.

After the birthday campaign, we have taken the following steps to ensure we are able to provide high-quality customer service:

  • Review and revise our notification flow to provide precise updates to our customers on their order status; and
  • For future mega campaign and flash sales that run on Lazada, we will set strict requirements for the promotion to be based on actual stock, as well as set up a system to monitor the real time stock of the mega campaign and flash sales for sellers to be able to decide quickly on the ability to fulfil orders.

What does Lazada do to offer Vietnamese customers the best experiences?

Over the past few months, Lazada has introduced many new tools to provide better customer experience, such as instant messaging with sellers; more quality reviews from verified buyers; and seller ratings to provide customers with more information before making a purchase decision.

Our website and app have been completely revamped and improved to provide more convenience and joy for customer. For instance, we have added the “Top search” section which is updated with the newest trends, and a section customised for individual shoppers, “For you,” where they will find products that fit their particular needs.

To Lazada, customer experience is paramount. We serve millions of customers nationwide on a daily basis. Our daily challenge is to enable millions of people to have great experiences shopping on Lazada.

By Nguyen Huong

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