Australia’s international borders were finally opened and businesses across Australia are again welcoming their international visitors with open arms. If your business has international customers it’s more important than ever before to be available to them 24/7. You will get the first early sales and bookings and have a competitive edge over your rivals. This can be challenging for any business, though it is easily done. Read on to find out how…..
According to research by Forrester, a company with an excellent customer service rating will have a net income up to 33% higher than those without a high rating.
Being easily contactable 24/7, no matter what time day or night, 365 days a year is one of those factors that has a dramatic impact on your customers and provides for excellent customer service. Here are the best ways to enable your brand to be available 24/7 providing a high level of customer service, to increase revenue and stand out from your competitors.
Why 24/7 customer service matters
If you’re not contactable 24/7, you could be missing out on significant opportunities of revenue. With a 24-hour customer service channel, you will attract more enquiries, establish trust sooner to build that customer relationship and close more sales at night and weekends, when customers are more likely to contact you after their work days. You are also providing a more convenient service to your customers, knowing they can contact your business at any time they want. There is an 80% increase in revenue for businesses that focus on improving customer experience.
The first time the Chat2 Concierge team took a major hotel chain live with chat at 6pm in the evening, they obtained a lead for a 400 person wedding (pre-Covid) and a 250 business conference, all within two hours! Just by being so available and in the space your customer is present and you can engage with them, allows you to capture opportunities like this for your industry.
Providing an excellent customer service experience is important for many reasons, but most importantly, it will ensure that your customers will stay loyal to your business. If your customer has any issue with their booking, product or service and you are easily contactable and they receive excellent customer service, they will remember the experience and feel confident to return. According to Experience Matters, 87% of customers would come back to make another purchase from a brand if their previous experience(s) were recorded as very good. If your customer service is fast, convenient, consistent, friendly, and always available, customers become loyal.
The second thing to remember is that it’s important to solve the problem quickly and efficiently so that the customer has what they need and leaves happy. Of course, this is not possible all the time, like at 2am in the morning, but if there is someone available to understand their query, clarify the issue and reassure them that someone will be contacting them within a certain timeframe, then the customer is happy. By providing a service like this, you will ensure the customer will come back to your company when they are looking to book or buy the same service or product again.
Did you know that 72% of people that have a positive customer experience will share their story with six or more people, that is attracting more sales at no extra cost!.
The importance of 24/7 contact
If your business provides a service or sells to international clientele, then it is more important than ever before to be available 24/7, especially in this technological era. This is particularly true for the Australian tourism and hotel industry who are looking to recover from two years without international visitors. They are now looking to make themselves easily available 24/7 to capture those first early bookings from the international market to boost revenues moving into 2022 after the Covid19 pandemic.
The first place international customers go to is the internet, so it’s important for all tourism and hospitality businesses to have a strong presence in this noisy space to perform well. This industry along with many online retail stores operate 24/7. Providing a higher level of customer service 24/7 over your competitors can provide a strong online web presence. Forbes states that 81% of companies view customer experience as a competitive differentiator.
International online visitors who receive a warm, friendly welcome with prompt and knowledgeable answers to questions through your website with a channel like live chat, will enjoy the customer experience, be reassured and feel confident to book with you, in the moment they are online and motivated to book.
With a high level of customer service 24/7, there are many studies to show that those companies that focus on their customers’ experience, receive substantially higher revenue in comparison to their counterparts. According to Deloitte, a positive customer experience encounter can increase customer spending by up to 140%.
Brands with superior customer experience bring in 5.7 times more revenue than competitors that lag in customer experience. So it is worthwhile for companies to provide a high standard of customer service 24/7 to customers for this extra boost.
3 Ways to Become Available 24/7
Here are 3 ways to make your business contactable 24/7 alongside providing excellent customer service.
1) Have live chat on your website – this shows customers you are available at any time of the day and it provides the quickest possible answer or solution to their query. You then have the opportunity to steer the conversation towards a sale. You can also chat with multiple customers at the same time, unlike the traditional methods of phone and email. By being able to chat with multiple customers simultaneously enables you to be more available to more customers. Though this can be a challenge for businesses to staff this channel effectively 24/7, which is why services like Chat2 Concierge can help.
2) Offer 24/7 phone support – this can be done through a rotating schedule so that there is always someone available to support customers, though this is normally best suited to larger businesses. This option is a little more expensive as it requires more staff than chat, especially in these times of low unemployment.
3) Make it easy for customers to contact you – ensure your contact details are easily found on your website, on the home page and contact us page. Online visitors don’t like to fill out forms so ensure your email address is also available. Make it clear on the times and the channels of communication you offer and set expectations for response. Be prompt in replying when customers reach out, otherwise you will find your customer has moved on to your competitor who was accessible.
The eight benefits of being contactable 24/7
As consumers prefer to research their next purchase or holiday online after hours, when they have the time to sit down after their work day or on the week-ends, it makes sense for your business to be in the same space as your customers, at the same time. Here are eight benefits of having a customer service channel that is open all day, every day.
1) For those with international customers, like the Australian tourism industry or online retail, you’ll be able to provide a high level of customer service and support for guests from all around the world, no matter what time zone they are in. Your new guests will be impressed.
2) You will gain a higher level of trust from your customers. If they know that you are always available for service and support online, no matter what time of the day and night. This will move your customers more swiftly through your sales pipeline as the trust in the customer relationship forms faster.
3) If you have a team that are available throughout the graveyard hours, there will be less pressure and overwhelm when your day team starts, they won’t have an overflowing email inbox to manage and numerous phone calls to return. Customer service has been provided throughout the night, so only those more genuine and qualified leads passed through from the night shift will be focused on, likely to result in a higher level of sales.
4) By demonstrating to your customers that you are responding fast and effectively no matter what the time day or night, is likely to result in a stronger customer relationship with more returning customers who enjoy such a high quality of customer service .
5) By being contactable 24/7 gives you the edge over your competitors who are not easily reached outside office hours.
6) Customers will be less likely to leave negative reviews on your business online if they can instantly get in touch with you directly at any time to discuss issues that may arise with their order, booking or experience at your venue. It may not be resolved immediately, but they will feel better just having had the chance to vent to a real person.
7) You will be aware at the earliest moment possible if issues do arise with any customers or sales. You will then be able to put strategies in place to manage the situation and take action towards resolving the issue quickly and preventing any escalation.
8) Your brand image and promotion will become stronger when your customers see that you are available 24/7 providing a high standard of customer service, particularly as most people shop and book after normal business hours. They are more likely to recommend you to their friends, attracting more sales at no extra cost.
What does the future hold for 24/7 customer service?
Providing customer service 24/7 is a win-win for everyone. You love it, as it attracts greater opportunities, more sales and more revenue. Your customers love it as they are receiving a high standard of customer service when ordering, buying or just having a few questions about what you offer at any time of the day and night.
In this technological age it is starting to become the expectation from customers that businesses should be available to assist whenever they want to interact with your brand. You may want to consider engaging professional online services, utilising a team of engagement professionals partnered with innovative software that allows your brand to be available 24/7, providing world class customer service. Just make sure they have the experience in your industry and the capability to have the right setup in preparing the online responses required to set you up for success.
Customers are more impatient than ever, as technology has changed the way people have access to information. Customers are no longer willing to wait until regular business hours to get in touch with you, they want answers to their questions in the moment they are looking to buy and book, which is why it’s starting to become essential for businesses to be contactable 24/7.
Author: Karen Lloyd-Collins COO Chat2
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ENDS: 16th March 2022