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Chat Blog How Fast is Fast Enough? Industry Trends Live Chat - Tips and Tricks

How Fast is Fast Enough?

 

Did you know many businesses are not responding fast enough for their customers? Many businesses don’t realise their response rates are not meeting their customer expectations. Client expectations to get a response from a business are becoming demanding and placing significant pressure on business resources.   So what is the response time customers expect from a business by phone, email, social media and chat? What can businesses do to improve response times?

The three main channels for communicating with clients are email, phone and social media, though the use of chat software has seen significant growth of 8.3% internationally in 2017 (smallbiztrends.com).  Chat as a channel is providing instant feedback to businesses if they are not performing to meet customer expectations.  

How – you may ask?

In those first couple of weeks of using chat software, a business may be bombarded with questions like:

“I emailed you yesterday and I have not heard back from you?”

“Did you receive my order – I placed it 2 hours ago?”

“I left a message on Facebook and no one has responded – it has been 3 hours?”

“I tried to phone you and was on hold for 5 minutes and no one answered my call?”

Does this sound familiar?  Sometimes you are not even aware of this tension that exists within your customer group. Many of our business clients who experience this are surprised to see these initial comments coming through chat, highlighting an issue they were not aware of. It is easy to rectify this situation quickly.

So why are customers demanding more instant responses?  It is a trend being seen worldwide. Customers are demanding more immediacy for a response. Information is so easily accessible over the internet, customers are now expecting demanding that businesses should reply to enquiries just as quickly – this is putting significant pressure on business resources.

So Why is Speed so Important in Customer Service?

When you receive a fast response – doesn’t it make you feel like the business cares about your needs and they make you feel important?

Many businesses can respond faster than ever before with the new technology available, so speed is becoming an issue of competitiveness between businesses. For example, a customer exploring the purchase of a new car online may ask two suppliers about the delivery of the car.  The first car yard responds in 30 minutes, engages the customer, organises a test drive and while a price is being negotiated, the second car yard responds 24 hours later. From our experience, the supplier who responds in a friendly, prompt and professional manner is more likely to make the sale, than the company that replies in 24 hours to a few days  – which is still very commonplace.

In a study conducted by the CMO Council in 2017 – it was found that 47% of U.S. and European consumers surveyed said they will abandon a brand if it repeatedly provides “poor, impersonal or frustrating” customer experiences. Companies need to be prioritising excellence in customer service.  If companies provide easy access and fast responses to questions, then this will result in happy satisfied customers upon which will nurture business growth.

More than 52% of consumers stated that an exceptional customer experience included a fast response time to problems and suggestions, with 47% stating a great customer experience includes instant access to knowledgeable sales staff 24/7 (CMO Council Study).

The CMO study revealed that even though loyal consumers will leave a brand if they’re not treated well, it also highlighlighted that consumers are seeking connection, not perfection and maybe forgiving as long as they feel heard and valued. So as long as they are responded to quickly and effectively – customers will easily be retained and will continue doing business with you.

Many businesses don’t realise customers are quickly abandoning them for the next business that acts quickly and responds with immediacy to client questions.  Is this happening to you? Is your response rate meeting your customer expectations?

“The customer is smarter than ever when it comes to customer service. They don’t just compare you to your competitor, but to any company that delivers an excellent customer service experience. The bar has been raised, and companies must work harder to meet and exceed their customer’s expectations.”

Shep Hyken

Customer Service Expert & New York Times Bestselling Author

Attracting, serving and keeping customers happy are the key to survival for any business.  If customers are not happy it is unlikely the business will survive. But are customers placing unrealistic expectations on businesses?  How can businesses survive in this demanding customer-driven environment? What are the response times customers are demanding?

Let’s consider what current studies are showing us.  What are the benchmarks for response times in the four main communication channels – email, phone, social media and chat.

Email Response Time

When do customers expect a response from a business after they have sent an email?

In a survey of 1200 consumers undertaken in April 2018, it was recommended that businesses should aim to respond to customers within 1 hour or if wanting to achieve a world class standard, within 15 minutes.

“That is crazy” or “That is unrealistic”- you may be thinking!

Yes – it is a huge ask of businesses, though it is achievable.  

The results from the survey showed that 43% expected businesses to reply in a 1 day to an email.

So if your business responded to customer emails within 1 hour, it would stand out from the crowd and exceed the expectations of 89% of consumers! Of course, if you responded in 15 minutes – well that is world class, as you would meet or exceed consumer expectations with 100%.

In another 2018 survey, Superoffice.com surveyed 1000 companies by email asking two questions:

  • Where is the pricing information on the website?
  • What was their phone number?

An incredible 62% of companies did not even respond and only 20% answered the questions in the first reply.  

The gap between the response time consumers expect and what businesses do –  is seriously damaging. You have the opportunity to stand out from 62% of companies by just responding to the email in the first instance!  This is easily done through implementing email autoresponders backed up by a solid CRM. Even by acknowledging that you have received the customers’ question / issue / complaint goes a long way towards keeping your customers happy.

So is there any difference for social media response times?

Social Media Response Time

So what about social media? Are expectations higher? Do customers expect faster response times in this channel and if so, how much faster?

The Social Habit research company explored this issue with its audience and discovered 32% expected a response within 30 minutes and 42% expected a response within 60 minutes. So if you responded to social media enquiries within 30 minutes you will be meeting or exceeding 74% of your customer expectations!  Sounds easy right! But can your company respond to enquiries in under 30 minutes? Responding to an email in under 1 hour is tough, though responding to a social media enquiry within 30 minutes is pushing the capability for many businesses.

But…… there are many companies meeting this expectation easily with the available technology.  Responding to customers in under 30 minutes is a big ask for many businesses, though serious consideration is needed by businesses to connect with customers in social media.  New practices/tools need to be adopted to meet customer expectations, otherwise you will have disillusioned customers looking to other businesses for service that meets their expectations.

We are now working in a global environment where consumers can access products and services from anywhere, at anytime.  It is technology that is giving consumers the power to demand more immediate responses. So is the expectation growing that no matter what time of the day, night or weekend it is – consumers are expecting an answer?

It appears they are!

The findings from the Social Habit Research Company found that 57% of survey participants expected the same response time at night or on weekends as during normal business hours. It’s getting crazy!

So is it any different for phone response times?

Phone Response Time

Phoning a business should result in a fairly quick response, though many businesses still think its ok to have their prospects/customers on hold for a few minutes listening to recorded messages or music before they are answered.  No one likes being placed on hold on the phone, though previously, customers felt they had no choice. Businesses will lose customers rapidly if they don’t adapt to consumer demand for rapid replies, it is fast becoming unacceptable to keep a customer waiting on the phone.  So how long is a customer willing to wait on a phone?

A 2017 survey of 1500 Consumers in the U.S. found that nearly two-thirds were only willing to wait 2 minutes or less before hanging up and 13% stated that no hold time was acceptable.  This is a stark contrast to a similar survey in 2014 where customers were willing to hold for 13 minutes! Consumer expectations are changing and businesses are slow in adapting to this change.

So how big is this gap in the speed of response by companies to what the customer expects, in the three big communication channels?  It is a huge, yawning chasm and to remain competitive businesses need to act now!

So What About Live Chat Software?

 

Chat software is a relatively new technology available to businesses and a different way to connect with customers. Some businesses are hesitant to try chat as they see it as a high-pressure channel, where consumers expect answers immediately and rarely wait around for an answer. Though this technology gives the business the ability to respond quickly to enquiries and that is what customers are demanding. Chat is worthy of serious consideration as it gives the power to businesses to alleviate the pressure on all communication channels and at the same time exceeding customer expectations for a response time. Let me explain how.

Offering chat on a website can reduce phone calls and emails for a business, even boosting sales by attracting clients that would not normally reach out.  So in the first instance, it will alleviate the pressure on the two big incoming channels, phone and email for customer enquiries. More and more consumers are gravitating towards instant messaging channels like chat, so they are becoming more likely to choose chat for a faster response and generally it is the platform they are already on reviewing the business – so the choice for reaching out is easy.

So how fast is the response time in chat?

The 2018 Live Chat Benchmark Report prepared by Comm100 reviewed 40 million chats from companies all over the world representing 13 industries and found that the average response time using chat software is 37 seconds!  This is 8 seconds faster than their finding of 45 seconds in 2016.

With the shift for communication moving away from phone and email, towards instant response platforms like chat, business can respond to enquiries much faster than the current response times in phone and email.  As chat integrates with social media it also provides the ability to respond to social media enquiries, well within the customer expectation of 30 minutes.

“So we’re no longer measuring response time in days and hours but seconds.”

Karen Lloyd-Collins – CEO Chat2

With effective implementation of chat, a company can meet or even exceed the response rate in all channels, as 37 seconds is well above customer expectations for phone and email.  This is world-class customer service

How to Implement Chat Effectively

What is meant by effective implementation of Chat?

Effective implementation of live chat is the key to attain this exceptional level of response time and requires adequate resourcing, streamlining chat into everyday work processes, training of staff and a commitment by management to chat.  If a customer’s experience of chat is that it is fast, with quick relevant responses, then this will become the channel of choice to connect with a business. The business is likely to see more returning customers due to this world-class service experience.

One of the challenges to implementing chat is having knowledgeable, trained staff on hand to instantly answer chats, particularly in the peak demand periods.  When Chat2 was launched in 2015, we saw first-hand businesses struggling with integrating chat into their daily work processes. Their staff were already busy, so transitioning into providing a chat service was challenging.

Chat2 launched its Concierge Service in 2016 to overcome this challenge and to assist businesses transitioning into offering chat as a service. The Chat2 Concierge Service offers businesses a team of experienced, professional, highly trained chat agents that answer chats 24/7.  Each industry is allocated a specialised team so the members of the team are knowledgeable on the issues and questions received by customers in that industry. With the assistance of artificial intelligence (AI) built into the Chat2 software, agents can easily and quickly respond to client requests for businesses.

Once consumer behaviour changes and consumers embrace chat over other communication channels, businesses discover there is less pressure on the other channels of phone, email and social media. In some instances, they embrace the channel and train their own staff in chat to answer transferred chats from the concierge team or answer chats directly from clients.

One of the first questions we are asked when a business enquires about the Chat2 Concierge Service is:

“How will your chat agents know what to say to my clients – you don’t know my business?”

So true – which is why we request new clients to complete a simple online form, so the team can find out more about the business and what the business would like to achieve using the concierge service.  We create answers to likely questions we are expecting from customers in that industry, as we are already familiar with the questions that are being asked. These questions and answers are entered into the chat software for the business or concierge team, so we are all saying the same thing to clients.  A great knowledge base is created, that can also be utilised when you need to train new staff. As a part of the Chat2 Concierge Service, this knowledge base is updated continuously. If there is a question the team can’t answer, we seek the answer from the business, to upload answer for next time.

The Chat2 Concierge team employ highly successful techniques to engage new visitors to your business and welcome returning visitors.  Our chat agents provide prompt, polite and personalised customer service which is paramount to representing your brand. We monitor and report on our performance by the second, which means our chat agents are some of the most responsive in the business. The concierge team have an average response rate of 18 seconds, with generally most chats answered in under 30 seconds.

“Chat is providing a huge opportunity for businesses to provide world-class service. At Chat2, we are answering chats for businesses within 30 seconds, with an average response time of 18 seconds”

Karen Lloyd-Collins – CEO Chat2

Our clients are attaining world-class response rates and alleviating the pressure on other communication channels.  They are standing out from their competition as they are now exceeding the response times customers are demanding. Chat2 Concierge can provide the resources for those periods of peak demands with an incredible return on investment. Many of our clients who have trialled the concierge service are still using the service since our launch, as the conversion rates on chat are improving all the time as the team works in partnership with our business clients.

We invite you to view a short 2 minute video on the Chat2 concierge service and how the team are converting 80 – 90% of chats for business internationally!

We welcome any questions through chat about our services, including chat integration, customisation, staff training, chatbots, FAQ creation and more.  Our Chat2 Concierge Service is also offered to businesses committed to other chat software. Visit us at www.chat2.com

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Chat Blog Uncategorized

Chat wins more customers online……here’s how

You have thousands of customers on your website each month.  Have you ever said “hi” to them? Asked how they were?  Asked them – What are you looking for? Can I help you? No….

With Chat on your website – you now can! Chat will put you in the same space as your prospects and you can reach out and say

“Hi……can I help you?”

You have never been able to do this before.  You had to wait for your website visitor to make the first contact.  They had to click the contact us form, pick up the phone or send an email.  With Chat they can reach you – you have created a welcoming stress-free space for them to ask you questions about your product/service.  They won’t be concerned about getting the hard sell or having to commit to buying something they are not sure they want.  So they are more likely to engage, chat and buy. That’s what you want – right!

Chat gives you the opportunity to widen your sales funnel at the beginning of the sales funnel. You have never had the opportunity to reach and connect with customers in the first stage of their purchasing.  These customers are in the Attract stage  of the “Sales Funnel” as shown in the infographic below.  These customers would not normally contact you during this stage as they prefer to do their own research and investigation on the product/service they are interested in.

design

With Chat there is now the opportunity for you to reach out and ask these prospects if you can assist them in the Attract stage or they can reach out to you and ask questions in a safer, stress free environment.  Creating this opportunity for clients is naturally going to widen the top of your sales funnel, where you will now capture more possible sales, leads, customers then you have before. You now have the opportunity to start a conversation, engage and build trust with a potential new client in the very initial stages of purchasing.  This widening of the sales funnel will have a positive effect all the way through the funnel, resulting in more sales online.

Chat visitors are quite different to your clients who reach out to you via phone or email.  When a client reaches out to you via these communication channels they have already moved further through the sales funnel and believe that you are a possible option for their purchase.  Offering chat on your website will give these clients another option to contact you where they can get quick, relevant answers to their questions.  They no longer have to listen to hold music on the phone and won’t have to wait for hours or days in getting an email response.  Chat is giving these customers an opportunity to assess your offer faster and if they are engaged with your business, they are more likely to purchase from you. According to Virgin Atlantic Airways, customers who chat convert at nearly 3.5 times the rate of those who don’t.

Chat provides you with more opportunity to do what you do best and sell your product/service to a prospect. And chat also gives your customers a more effective, quicker way to obtain the information they are looking for faster. It’s win/win!

Once you have won the client with a purchase, you can survey your customers through Chat2 and obtain relevant valid data directly from your online customers to ensure you will have them returning again and again.

Give chat a Go and type your website address into www.chat2.com for a free trial today…..Don’t wait any longer…….its easy to install and you will be chatting with your online customers in no time.

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Chat Blog Uncategorized

Amazon in Oz! Do you need to compete? Here’s how……..

Online chat is finally starting to evolve in the Australian market. The Australian (May 15, 2017) recently reported that more retailers are starting to embrace the chat technology on their websites, particularly with the launch of Amazon in Australia imminent.

“To maintain growth, retailers continue to adjust their strategies to adapt to changing market conditions such as the pending arrival of Amazon,” Commonwealth Bank national retail industry manager Jerry Macey said. (The Australian)Amazon has confirmed that it will be rolling out its services in Australia over the next few years. Amazon has not confirmed a launch date, but speculation suggests it will be in September 2017 (Choice.com.au) In light of this news – Chat2 is offering free chat concierge hours where we answer the chats for you.

Jeff Bezos founder of Amazon advised the strategy will be to offer “low prices, vast selection, and fast delivery” to earn the business of Australian shoppers. In light of this news, more and more retailers are trialling new online retail strategies to ensure they can improve competitiveness when Amazon hits Australian shores.

Chat on websites is one strategy that is being employed to improve online competitiveness and customer service. For online chat to be effective, chats need to be answered within 60 seconds, otherwise customers tends to move on.

woman-work-computer-happy

Chat2 launched the Chat2 Concierge service in 2016, as many chat clients, particularly in Australia, were struggling to answer chats within the 60 second industry standard. This can be explained as chat is still a relatively new technology in the Australian market and despite being able to chat with 5 to 6 customers at one time, this is quite a change of work habit from only attending to one client at a time through phone or email.

The Chat2 concierge team are achieving incredible results answering chats for customers, obtaining 70 – 80% conversion rates and 90 – 100% satisfaction rates for response, friendliness and knowledge. As the Chat2 team work with the clients over longer periods, the satisfaction and conversion rates increase. The Chat2 concierge service is providing a great return on investment for many businesses at a cost of only $1/hour and chats can be answered 24/7.

AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology has been built into the Chat 2 software, so operators are presented with a list of relevant responses to a clients question to enable quick, relevant and effective replies. The Chat2 concierge team set up and maintain relevant canned messages to complement this AI feature as a part of the concierge service. The Chat2 software also includes a voice to text function to allow for faster responses particularly in a multiple chat environment.

The secret to implementing chat effectively to boost sales, conversions and customer service online is a fast response time in answering chats. This has been one of the biggest indicators to online success with Chat. The average response time for the Chat2 concierge team is currently 26.8 seconds!

Would you like to try our concierge service but already committed to another chat provider? We can still help, we have various clients in this situation for whom we answer chats for – still with amazing results!

Interested to try the Chat2 software or concierge service…………………

Would you like to see for yourself the effectiveness of Chat on your website…..

We would like to make a very generous offer to you, that goes over and above what we currently offer on the Chat2 website…………………..

Chat paves the way for new sales, leads and conversions. Customers tend to buy more after chatting. Your customers will love the new style of customer service and we will love watching your business grow and thrive online. Are you ready to embrace chat to connect with your customers online in real time – just do it! It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the staff to man it – because we do and we are achieving 70 – 80% conversions – we are professional chatters!!

We make this offer to encourage businesses who are still a little unsure, not quite understanding the technology, not quite sure how it is going to work, let me make the decision easy and hassle free, let us do it for you………

Register at www.chat2.com.au and then contact us at sales@chat2.com to obtain a 3 month free trial of the Chat2 software and 100 hours of Chat2 concierge. You need to advise in your email that you would like to accept the offer made in this article.

Don’t wait any longer………………

Get a head start on your competitors as chat technology is evolving and most businesses with a presence online will soon have chat. Act now and accept our generous offer – you only have everything to gain.

Email us at sales@chat2.com and receive 100 hours of Chat2 concierge complimentary.

We love seeing our clients businesses grow online with Chat2!

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Chat Blog Why does your business need Chat?

Increase sales online with live chat

 

Do you want more Customers? Do you know there are thousands of your customers hovering around the outskirts of your business online and you are not letting them in?  They are banging on the door but no one is answering. They have been bouncing in and out of your business and you probably did not even know they were there and willing to buy? They were unreachable until now! Watch this video to show you how you can grow your business online, reach out and engage with new customers and sell to more customers. Watch your business grow with Chat2!

If you say – I don’t have time to answer chats – well we can do that for you too.  For only $1/hour we can greet your customers, engage in a chat, help with common questions and nurture your customer towards buying from you. Its as easy as that – we set up all those frequently asked questions and answers and provide your customers with the information and knowledge they are seeking.  If the Chat2 team are unable to answer the more detailed questions, we offer for you to contact them at a convenient time, so you can do what you are best at and make the sale.

Chat2 can offer the software with AI technology, customisation, training and the Chat2 concierge service.  On average 5% of visitor traffic engage in chat, though some high performing businesses manage to attract 12% of their traffic into chat – so for a small business with 3000 visitors a month they could potentially be attracting 150 – 360 more enquiries a month.  That is potential business you would never have attracted without live chat for your website.

Watch the short video, our CEO Karen explains how Chat works! We offer three versions of the software from free chat software to our Business and Professional versions depending on the number of operators required.

Go to www.chat2.com and sign up for a free 30 day trial. Learn about Chat2 at www.chat2.com/learn or drop by for a chat – we would love to hear from you.