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Chat Blog

How to be more ‘OPEN’​ for business this Holiday Season

With the Festive season upon us and staff winding down for the school holidays with plans for local vacations and staycations, our team are ramping up the for holidays!

2020 has been such a challenging year for many businesses and we are lending a helping hand to those who are struggling to remain open this Christmas. So if you are keen to remain open especially in the online space where the amount of visitor traffic has increased substantially over these last few months – then read on…. as we can help!

With the significant increase in online traffic, some businesses are struggling to keep apace to respond in a timely manner to the number of enquiries they are now receiving. We are helping many businesses to respond to their customers in the moment they arrive online, on their website or Facebook page, with a team of real people, professionally trained in your industry. We have been working in the online space for the last 6 years and we know the commonly asked questions and how to gain the trust of the online visitor to either encourage them to book directly in the moment they are motivated to buy or at least to get their contact details for your team to follow up and convert.

How do we know what to say? As a part of our Chat2 Concierge service, we create a knowledge base specific for your business. Apart from having the responses to questions that we see all the time, we also review your website to add those that are also likely to get asked. Your staff can review and add to this knowledge base before they go on holidays!

Once the knowledge base is approved, it is uploaded into our software where our team utilising the AI interface can draw upon the knowledge base to answer questions fast (on average 19 seconds), we personalise and edit the responses to ensure they are relevant for the questions being asked, we hold a genuine warm friendly conversation online with your customers (yes, don’t expect every chat to be done and dusted in 2 minutes, that doesn’t work on this channel), we obtain trust to either get the customer to buy in the moment or we obtain the contact details for you to follow up as well as adding to your own database.

We can answer general enquiries, or even some specifics depending on the quality of the knowledge base, we can take bookings, make bookings online, we can even respond to clients on emails as an additional service during the holiday season to encourage more sales and ease the burden of your own staff upon returning to work. Our aim is to promote and encourage purchases in the moment the customer is online. Or we obtain quality and genuine leads to push through to your skeleton staff to easily finalise the sale as we have done most of the qualification work.

Just by being there in the moment, consistent and responding fast, you are more likely to attract more enquiries than ever before. To keep your business growing and sales coming through during the festive season while most of your team are taking a well-earned break.

We are already saving our clients so much cost in ongoing labour costs just by being there and able to easily manage and answer online enquiries around those constant and repetitive questions knowledgeably. This infographic shows these savings for five of our clients.

As we are answering conversations for others in your industry and our operators can be managing up to 8 -9 conversations simultaneously we are able to take advantage of economies of scale and offer this service at an exceptional cost.

You can use our service just for the festive season (there is no contract) or you can choose to use us just for outside of business hours or of course every month 24/7, it’s your choice! Only until the end of November – you can accept an offer to start in December for only $30 for the first month. The knowledge base creation is normally $199 to create, though we will also include this and our Google Analytics integration for 12 months (normally a monthly fee) though this special ends Sunday midnight.

This offer will be available at this link for the next 3 days for Black Friday sales – just go to https://chat2.com/cash_in_online_this_christmas/
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Chat Blog Industry Trends

Was This Customer Right? You Be the Judge

The (shortened) news article below has created some debate online (what?!? that never happens!) and illustrates the growing chasm between customer expectations and behaviour, and the challenges businesses are faced with trying to meet them. 


People are online researching and shopping when it is convenient for them, which is often not during what is historically considered normal business hours.

We compared an Australia Post 2020 Consumer Survey, which analysed what time over 12,000 respondents shopped online, with data from the same period from our own Australian clients.

Although Chat2 Concierge clients’ customers displayed a similar pattern to the Australia Post data, there was an even larger number of people online from 10pm to 9am.

However, both show that approximately half of total customers were shopping online between 5pm to 9am. 

 

Which makes sense doesn’t it? Most people are working (either paid or unpaid) during normal business hours. The only time they have to research and shop online is often once the rest of their household is at rest.

We all know that attracting, serving and keeping customers happy are key to the survival of any business.  But are customers placing unrealistic expectations on businesses?

Or despite these expectations are businesses seriously impacting their profitability and longevity by effectively ignoring customers outside of their business hours?

While it appears (at the time of publishing) from a poll run by the news publication, there is a fairly even split of for and against, some of the comments below from Australian business owners and managers are interesting…






 

All of these commenters accept that receiving enquiries 24/7 is a fact of doing business in 2020, but there is a disparity in whether they think it is fair, or understandable due to different timezones and working lives, and how to manage it.

Some say they expect and welcome enquiries 24/7 because they understand that their customers have lifestyles different to their own and shouldn’t be forced to shop to their hours. Through to the other end of the spectrum where they say that customers wanting service outside of 9-5 (in the business’s timezone) are ‘selfish’ and ‘entitled’.

It would be interesting to see how these commentators’ businesses fare a few years from now…

Whether you agree or disagree, this type of customer service chasm will not be going away. 

However, there is a very simple, cost-effective way of keeping both parties happy, and therefore growing the tradesperson’s business.

By having Chat2 Concierge on the tradesperson’s website our team would have received the enquiry and responded to the potential customer’s enquiry in under 20 seconds – 24 hours a day.

By:

  • acknowledging the customer’s enquiry
  • engaging them to obtain as many details as possible
  • setting an expectation of when the business would be able to respond to them with a quote
  • then securing and passing on the qualified lead’s details

The tradesman would have slept through the night, rest-assured knowing that the business was still engaging potential customers and preventing them from bouncing to a competitor.

Instead, he responded angrily in the heat of the moment, causing the matter to be publicised on social media (200,000 engagements and counting) and leaving both parties dissatisfied.

We can guarantee that this businessperson certainly did lose that customer and who knows how many else?

Start your Chat2 Concierge trial now.

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Chat Blog Industry Trends

Tips for Maximising Online Revenue and Engagement at Christmas

Technology changes and the COVID pandemic have driven dramatic increases in online traffic.

Even if you don’t sell products or services online, we know that your customers will certainly be researching you online – and your competitors.

In June 2020 Deloitte surveyed US online adults and found:

In Australia, according to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index, online retail sales as at June 2020 accounted for 10.7% of total retail, up from 9% at the same time last year. This is reflected in the 53% average increase in Australia Post domestic parcel quantities for the months April to August 2020.

There has also been a 233% increase in Live Chats in the Consumer Products & Services industry compared to pre-COVID.

via GIPHY

While this may seem like a very welcome silver-lining to the COVID pandemic this sudden surge in online activity can actually be detrimental to your business if you aren’t prepared – particularly in the area of customer service.

In a survey of 10,000 consumers who had a bad customer service experience with a retailer…

But if you get customer service right the Harvard Business Review found that customers who had the best past experiences spend 140% more compared to those who had the poorest past experience.

So in summary…

We know that Live Chat is the preferred method of communication for Millennials and has the highest satisfaction rate of all communication channels.

But that 53% of customers are likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question.

Therefore it is critical that you prepare now and prepare well for the flood of online traffic that comes with the Christmas period.

Here are some tips that we provide to our Chat2 clients to drive better customer engagement and increased sales – 365 days of the year:

  • Update your Knowledge Base with common questions about special hours or closures, shipping timeframes, and returns – use this to update your website FAQs for SEO benefits.
  • Make sure your returns and shipping policies are clear and not too onerous.
  • Use an auto-responder to re-direct people who communicate with you by email and phone to Chat2 us on your website or Facebook Messenger (we do both!) for instantaneous service. Make sure the contact page of your website also invites visitors to chat.
  • Consider creating promotions, then tell us so we can share them with your online visitors and convert their visit into a sale.

Shopify asked over 50 online businesses to rank the effectiveness of 15 different holiday offers, deals, and discounts. The results were pretty clear cut as shown below.

To learn more about Maximising Online Revenue this Christmas, join Karen Lloyd-Collins, Chat2 COO, for a special 30-minute information session.

We use real, current data and examples from a range of industries to show you how Chat2 can drive your online sales and expand your sales funnel by generating more enquiries. Register here.

Or get started now with our amazing trial offer of 700 hours for just $30!

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Chat Blog How Fast is Fast Enough? Industry Trends

Customers Want Your Business Now!

How people engage online has dramatically changed due to technology, and further magnified by the events of 2020.

Do you remember Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory?

via GIPHY

One of the most dramatic shifts has been the immediacy of service demanded by customers.

According to a report by Hubspot 90% of customers rate an immediate response as important or very important when they have a customer service question. 60% of customers define immediate as 10 minutes or less!

With Chat2 Concierge you have the benefit of our service specialists assisting your online customers 24/7.

In fact our average response time is 15 seconds or less! 

Our clients are now redirecting traffic from their other channels such as email, telephone and contact forms back to their website to be assisted by our team.

Not only will your customers be happier and more loyal, but the amount of enquiries you and your staff have to respond to is also significantly reduced.

Chat2 Us now about we can maximise your online revenue and engagement.

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Chat Settings How To How To

Google Analytics Integration

Collect valuable data about your website visitors’ browsing behaviour with our Google Analytics (GA) integration based on GA Events.

When a visitor engages with Chat2 that interaction is pushed to your GA account as an Event and can be viewed under the Behaviour tab along with a Category, Action and Label attribute – each corresponding to different information including:

  • Chat start and whether the customer initiated the chat or Chat2 did.
  • Chat end and whether the customer ended the chat.

Your Chat Events can then be incorporated as part of a Conversion Goal for your business in GA meaning you can more closely track the effect that Chat2 is having on your business’s KPI’s, whether it be online sales or generating leads.  Learn more about GA Goals here.

Chat2 integration for Google Analytics is available by request for a monthly fee.


 

Once your integration is activated all that is required are a few simple steps as outlined below.

Chat2 Dashboard

  • You can change the name of the Event Category, Action, and Label for various interactions under the Installation tab in your Chat2 dashboard.

Google Analytics Dashboard

  • Ensure you have Google Analytics tracking installed on your website.
  • Login to your GA account.
  • In Behaviour select Events.  Here you will see your Chat Events.

You can learn more about Google Events here.

Troubleshooting tip: Ensure there is only one Google Analytics account associated with your website as the chat events will only show on one account.

Your Chat2 Dashboard also contains similar data as well as:

  • Visitors contact details if available
  • What digital source they came from
  • What web page they engaged in a chat from
  • Location, date, and time of chat
  • Chat content

You can learn more about Chat2 Concierge reports here.

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Chat Blog Uncategorized

Media Release – COVID19 crisis we can help

 

An online Australian business is offering a lifeline to businesses during this crisis of the Covid19, particularly those who are transitioning to an online platform.  Chat2 is offering any business – 3 Months Online Engagement Service at no cost.

Chief Operating Officer Karen Lloyd-Collins states:

“The conversations that we are currently having online are heartbreaking, particularly within the Tourism, Hospitality, Sporting Club industries, that we seriously want to help businesses get through this by supporting them online.  Even through this time of crisis, businesses still need to retain connection with customers. We are offering an easy solution to do this.” 

Chat2Concierge is assisting all businesses, small or big through this time of crisis.  We have innovative software and a professional highly trained team who is online 24/7 reassuring online visitors, answering online enquiries and most importantly encouraging future online bookings, sales and preventing cancellations wherever possible.

Marketing Manager, Di Wilcocks, Brothers Leagues Club in Cairns summed it up perfectly stating:

Chat2 is providing our club with consistency of message (particularly during these difficult times with the Covid 19 virus).  With a number of different staff running our reception the customer experience can vary. Concierge provides a consistent level of customer service and ‘tone of voice’.

More and more businesses are now going online in these difficult times, with businesses having to close, staff having to self isolate and towns going into lockdown. It’s important to have a system where you can easily connect and communicate with your customers.

“We are currently talking to many businesses, who are feeling over-whelmed and struggling to keep up in this fluctuating environment with the daily changes in government policy, directly affecting them.  We are fortunate enough to have a business model where we are operating “business as usual”. We want to seriously help businesses struggling through these tough times, so we are offering 3 months of our online engagement service for free.  This means having professional staff online 24/7 responding to your customer enquiries, reassuring your visitors and assisting with sales and future bookings”. Karen Lloyd-Collins (COO Chat2) 

If you would like to know more about this offer, email Chat2 at support@chat2.com or to register go to http://bit.ly/march2020chat2offer.

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Chat Blog Uncategorized

A technological solution for the economic crisis facing the tourism industry

A Far North Queensland tourism company is standing strong in the face of adversity utilising technology as a solution to the current economic crisis. The Covid 19 virus and the mixed messages that “Australia was on fire” early in 2020 has made this a challenging year for the Australian Tourism industry.  

At the recent Cairns Post Future Tourism event in February 2020 attended by Kate Jones, Minister for Innovation and Tourism Development and Mark Olsen, CEO Tourism Tropical North Queensland, it was clear that the tourism and hospitality sector are facing some dark times without doing something different to retain and grow the tourism market.  

A local tourism company in Cairns has just seen one of their strongest December and January months in their online enquiries.  This was all due to a clever decision in 2017 to do something different, be innovative and align their customer communications with the changing demands of their online clients. 

Passions of Paradise has been utilising the services of a Cairns based technology company Chat2Concierge for the last 3 years.  The company offers a unique, innovative, online engagement service 24/7. Through innovation and doing something different, Passions is gaining growth and momentum with its online presence.

Passions engaged the technological service, Chat2Concierge, to attract more online bookings, more leads, more conversions through their website and social media.  Chat2Concierge’s highly trained online engagement team of real people respond fast (on average 19 seconds) to Passions online visitors with accurate answers. The team highly supported by some smart artificial intelligence (ai),  engage the visitor in the moment they are looking to book. There are also some unique features that track the online visitor to attract them back to the website, without the customer actually being on the Passions website. In December 2019, Passions experienced over 100% growth in online enquiries compared to 2017 and 2018 and even through the dire January 2020, were still recording growth figures of 30% compared to both 2018 and 2019.

During the Cairns Post Future Tourism event there was a strong message to do something different to maintain and grow the tourism industry in Far North Queensland and Chat2Concierge technology is certainly proving to be a great alternative solution for Tourism and Hospitality, not only locally but worldwide.

Karen LLoyd-Collins (Chat2Concierge Chief Operating Officer) was asked how is it Chat2Concierge can make such a difference to a business like Passions who is facing such challenging times within a threatened industry?  

“We have been working with Passions for the last three years, so with our service and unique tools,  we have been able to grow their online customer base, encourage people to book in the moment and as people spend longer on the website utilising our service, Passions have  improved their online presence which has resulted in this significant growth. Online visitors for Passions now know if they reach out to the online service, they are going to get fast, relevant and accurate responses that answer their questions, rather than having to wait on the phone or for  an email response. So our team engage them in the moment and more often than not convert them to a booking.” 

So why is this channel seeing such growth?  Karen advises that, “Online visitors are a little different, they are impatient, can tend to be a little abrupt and want answers NOW. Technology has disrupted the behaviour of our online customer.  They are use to getting information fast, so demand from businesses, fast instant and relevant answers. This is a real challenge for modern business, so we are a solution to this growing issue. We are also attracting customers back to our client’s websites through our service.” 

So why did Passions consider adopting a unique technological service like Chat2Concierge?  Scotty Garden, Passions CEO advised they were looking for a solution to improve their online presence, to gain more bookings and more online conversions.  But one of the biggest benefits of the service stated Scotty, is that it has saved their own staff so much time on the phones and on emails. The service answers the constant repetitive questions that use to take up alot of time on the phones and responding to emails, questions like “what do I bring for the trip?” or “Where do I check in?”.  Chat2 has alleviated alot of this pressure on our own team, as we work closely with the Chat2 team to ensure the online responses are always up to date and accurate. We have found if the questions are answered online, in the moment people are looking, then it is so much easier to get the booking, in that moment. Chat2 is converting over 90% of our online conversations so we are seeing that growth in our online activity.  This service is also reaching more of our international clientele, which is attracting more online bookings internationally. 

In these times of crisis, this unique local service to Cairns, has been assisting tourism businesses worldwide, particularly in the face of the Covid 19 virus.  Karen advised “In the early days of the Convid 19 virus, we started to get questions like “What is your hotel doing to protect guests?”. It quickly became apparent that there was a potential threat of panic which could lead to people cancelling bookings and trips worldwide.  We instantly prepared responses that we shared with our clients for approval and uploaded them into our software to be ready to manage this threat. We are well prepared to assist our clients to save future bookings if this threat evolves.”  

Though according to Karen, these situations arise frequently for their local clients, for example whenever there is an impending cyclone, it is easy to reassure online guests how the region is affected and what trips have been cancelled or not cancelled, many times saving loads of bookings. Karen states that “With our knowledge base and decentralised customer service, we are able to ensure the right and consistent message gets out quickly to customers when faced with unstable situations.”

In this dire dynamic economic environment facing the hospitality and tourism industry, there was a clear message from the Cairns Post Future Tourism event, that tourism businesses need to be doing something different for tourism in the Far North to survive and to grow.  Technology should be considered as an alternative solution to the current challenge facing this industry. Passions has experienced this first hand, seeing incredible online growth while being faced with adversity. 

If you are interested in a trial or free consultation – just go to www.chat2concierge.com – chat with the team and request a consult with Karen. If you mention this article, you will be eligible for a one month free trial of our 24/7 service so you can see the results first hand.

Clipping published by News Corp in the Cairns Post 29th February 2020 pg 32/33

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Chat Blog Uncategorized

Tourism – Strength to Strength

Despite all the doom and gloom surrounding the Tourism industry, we would love to share a fabulous win for one of our tourism clients!

We are in the process of reviewing annual data to see where all our customers start 2020. We are excited to see considerable growth in the live conversation channel we offer to our clients, though a special mention for our Tourism clients who are managing some significant challenges to begin 2020. With travel restrictions worldwide and the impact of the Australian bushfires locally, we are grateful to be a part of their journey, assisting them to move forward and grow.

As shown by the graph above, this particular tour company is picking up more leads and bookings every year since 2017. It is going from strength to strength with records being broken year to year through engaging with online visitors in the moment they are online and ready to book!

Get a free demo here.

#chat2concierge #supporting #engagementspecialists #tourismaustralia #travel #tourismindustry #bookdirect #leads #onlineconversion #targetedremarketing

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Chat Blog Uncategorized

No more direct bookings for Trivago?

Look who was caught red-handed! 
After working with the hospitality industry for a few years assisting hotels to combat the lies and deception promoted online by the large international Online Travel Agencies (OTA’s), it comes as no surprise that their treachery has now been discovered!

According to the Australian Federal Court, Trivago, the Netherlands-incorporated giant has been caught in its deception of promoting hotels that provided the most revenue to them through advertising.  Trivago has been promoting itself on TV screens every night during the Australian tennis season, as being impartial, objective and a transparent hotel price comparison website. Instead it was announced to the world last night by all the major Australian news feeds and papers, that Trivago is actually a conniving, hypocritical,  insincere trickster of the general public. The Guardian What a surprise!

For years hotels ha ve struggled to compete against these massive OTA’s, who have been extorting 15 -20% of their earnings.  It is difficult to compete with these giants who have bottomless pockets of marketing dollars. Hence our Chat2Concierge service has evolved to assist hotels and tourism to meet this challenge.  When a visitor arrives on a client website, our team of professional engagement specialists are there to engage, promote the business by sharing specials, answering questions (pre-approved responses) and placing the buying and booking link directly in front of the visitor to click and buy in the moment they are looking to buy!

Dick Smith alerted everyone to the treachery carried out by the OTA’s 18 months ago when he explained in a video of how millions of dollars were being extorted from businesses into the pockets of huge international conglomerations.   You can view this video at Dick Smith reveals OTA extortion

Trivago has been holding hotels for ransom, as Trivago’s contractual terms work under a “cost per click” (CPC) agreement, where hotels have to pay Trivago a fee, if a consumer clicks on the booking site’s offer through Trivago. The CPC was payable by the hotel whether the consumer made a booking or not! Trivago fined as ACCC wins case in federal court over misleading conduct

The company was also found guilty of providing false and misleading price comparisons as they compared a standard room rate with a luxury room at the same hotel, saying they were providing a cheaper price when they were just offering the normal priced standard room in comparison to a luxury suite. 

Working with our hotel clients and conversing with their online visitors, we regularly receive questions regarding price comparison with OTA’s.  Questions come in the form of: 

“I was just on agoda.com or booking.com etc etc  and they are offering $150 for the deluxe room, but on your website it is more expensive.  So why should I book direct?”

We educate these visitors on the importance and benefits of booking direct on the hotel website. Benefits like no booking fees, no cancellation fees, easy to add to and amend booking, supporting the local economy and many hotels offer incentives for booking directly like upgrades, cheaper breakfast, vouchers to use in the hotel or a discount on the displayed price through free memberships.

Even yesterday, a visitor from the Agoda website arrived on our client’s hotel website and asked:

“Hey, Agoda are offering $30 breakfast – what is included?”

We reply along the lines:

“I am so sorry, we don’t know what Agoda offers, though we offer a $19 full buffet breakfast when you book direct with us!”

In this instance, the visitor replied with: “Great, I will book direct in that case.”

By encouraging direct bookings with hotels, our clients get to pay less commission to the OTA’s and keep more revenue in-house for spending in the local economy either through employment, refurbishing using local trades or even sponsoring the local footy club!

Now the deception of the OTA’s has been revealed publicly through the Australian courts, it is likely more and more visitors will now be visiting hotel websites directly to ask the question.  It’s important for you to be there when this influx of visitor traffic arrives through this current news story and your vistior is looking to book! So be there in that moment your online guests can be guided around your website, have their questions answered, promotions shared and most importantly quick access to the direct hotel booking link.

We have 2 upcoming free live sessions online to share with you the results our hotels are seeing online with an increase in direct bookings.  If you are interested in attending any of these four sessions just click on a link below and we look forward to meeting you online. We have a special offer in these sessions for January only and if you are in any of the fire affected areas in NSW, QLD or  S.A. currently we are offering our services at no cost for 2 months.

Click to book Tuesday, January 28th 10.30am – Hospitality/Tourism live session

Click to book Thursday, January 28th 6.30pm – Hospitality/Tourism live session

With Trivago, the court is still out on the fine to be paid but it looks potentially in the realms of only $1  million, despite this extortion has been going on for years! Thoughts?