Categories
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/
Categories
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.

Categories
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!

Categories
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.

Categories
Chat Blog Software Updates

Chat2 – Global Dash – This is why we are so fast!

We are faster than ever before!
How fast do you respond to your customers online? Within the hour, 1 day or 48 hours?  I still receive email acknowledgements from well known companies advising they will get back to me in 3 days! Seriously – why would any of us want to do business with a company that will make their customer wait 3 days for a simple first response?   In today’s online world – it’s very simple to find a competitor who is faster.

The Chat2 concierge team respond to online visitors for our clients within an average initial response time of 19 seconds! In the last 12 months our tech team have created a new Global Dashboard so our team can respond faster than ever before for our clients. I will explain how we do this later in the post.  But firstly let’s understand why responding fast to your customers is so essential in today’s technological world for businesses.

1. As customers can access services, products and information in a matter of seconds, they no longer expect a fast response from companies, they are demanding it!

Fast Response = Meet Customer Expectations = Happy Returning Customers.

The CMO Council found that a fast response time was the most important attribute of good customer service.

2. A fast response makes your customer feel as if they are important to you and that your business cares about them. By responding quickly you are developing trust and rapport with your prospects which is essential for any business relationship.

3. If you don’t respond fast in one channel, the customer (if they haven’t given up) will try another channel to contact you, creating more work for you and your team.

4. Finally, responding quickly to your customers will grow your business. Customers will tend to go back to a business with who they received outstanding customer service. Isn’t that something we all want to do – GROW– especially with the challenge of noisy online space?

The Northridge Group’s “Customer Service Experience Report” found that 40% of our millenial generation wait 60 minutes before contacting you in another channel.

I actually think that is quite generous of that generation, Baby Boomers tend to be far more demanding – sorry Baby Boomers – I am sure its not all of you!

“What if you take too long to respond?”

Let me ask – what happens when a company takes too long to respond? What do you do?

More than likely you will seek out a competitor who will respond faster or if you are already a customer you are likely to stop doing business with that company.

According to smallbiztrends.com 89% of people surveyed in their Customer Experience Impact Report claimed they had started doing business with a competitor after poor customer service.

Poor response time certainly reflects poorly on how a Company delivers. It makes you wonder if this is how the company is going to attend to your requests – SLOWLY! We can no longer afford to be slow in responding to our customers, unless we prefer no customers.

“It’s Challenging for Businesses to Respond Fast” 

Quick and Effective Responses to online customers is challenging for businesses.  They may not have the staff, time or capacity to respond effectively to constant repetitive questions.  Staff become overwhelmed and bored with the same repetitive task in having to respond quickly to the same questions, leading to poor customer service and high staff retention costs.

I was speaking to a Manufacturing company recently who employ first year Engineers to answer chats.  Day in, day out, after a four year degree, these professionals are having to answer repetitive, basic technical questions fast to customers to provide a technical support service.  What was being observed was a high staff turnover, high training costs, low job satisfaction and slow, poor customer service. This problem was easily rectified by the implementation of a live chat service with a solid knowledge base.  The basic technical issues were able to be answered fast, effectively and at a much lower cost with a significant improvement in customer service and corporate image. Higher level technical issues were transferred to the first year Engineers who now had more complex problems to solve.

Responding fast to customers is a huge challenge for companies and at Chat2 we have solutions to solve the challenge!

“Solutions” 

Over the last 12 months, our Chat2 techie team have developed a multi-instance Global Dashboard for our operators.  What this means is that we can link hundreds and hundreds of websites to one Dashboard. So our operators don’t need a Dashboard for each client, they are operating on one Dashboard where they are alerted to a new chat from any of the hundreds of businesses linked to the Global Dashboard.As shown in the image at the top of this post.

We have specialised teams of Chat operators for each industry who answer chats.  After we set up the knowledge base for the client, the artificial intelligence (ai) built within the software can draw upon this knowledge base to answer chats (even technical chats) fast and knowledgeably.

The Global Dashboard has made our team faster than ever before! No longer do we require multiple screens and multiple windows open, we only need one screen and one browser window – with the Global Dashboard open. On this one screen multiple client websites are linked to the ONE Dashboard. So we are alerted in the same space of an incoming chat from a hotel client or real estate client or one of our retail clients, we don’t have to flick between several screens.  This technology has made our Chat2 Concierge team faster, more effective and more efficient than ever before! It has also allowed us to take on many more clients without having to increase staffing numbers.

We also offer a wide range of other services from our hybrid chatbot/concierge service, personalisation, chatbots, CRM/ticket system integrations, real time feedback, digital user experience analytics, social media monitoring and engagement, predictive analysis, customer service/front office automation, self service automation, omni channel engagement, customer journey mapping and data analytics and management.

Keen to test the expertise of our Chat2 Concierge team?  Ready to impress your customers with immediate, knowledgeable and friendly responses? Ready to attract more customers online? Ready to grow your business?

Trial the Chat2 Concierge team – you will love our service!

For a short time only we are offering a package deal of 30 days free software trial and 50 hours concierge for 1/2 price. Check out our Offer

Categories
Chat Blog Real Estate

Real Estate & Live Chat – The Perfect Combination!

 

 

A frantic message was received by the Chat2 team on the morning of 12th October, 2018:

“We have just been evacuated so we can not answer the phones. If needed, please advise online visitors that the office has shut down due to an electrical fault and please assist them as best you can…”

Our clients rely on us to ease their worry when the unforeseen happens.  At Chat2 – this is a normal part of our everyday business; there is always some drama at the front end of business for our property clients, though we are there online to answer any question that may come our way from prospects or current customers.

The Real Estate industry has changed significantly over the last decade in the way a connection is made with homebuyers.  Previously you met many of your prospects at a Sunday home open with a warm handshake or at the agency where you could engage your buyer with expertise and warm charm. Though nowadays, the start of the home buying journey is different – it is online and it is essential real estates are there online to greet their potential buyer.

Have you considered live chat or a combination of live chat and chatbots?  There are many property agents utilising this channel including realestate.com.au, so it’s time to evaluate and seriously consider an online chat channel as a new way to connect with clients. With live chat you are likely to pick up more online enquiries and relieve the pressure on your reception team.

Homebuyers have access to property listings, photos, historical sale prices, schools in the area and can even take a Google virtual walk down the street they are considering, at the click of a mouse.  Previously this information was inaccessible to a homebuyer unless they met with you as an agent, but now it is delivered immediately to the homebuyer online.  So if you are there, in the moment, when homebuyers are online (often after hours), you are more likely to engage and assist these prospects while they are in the research and investigation stage.  This is a game changer for your property business and can put you ahead in the industry. You are providing prospects with instant responses to questions, which is what is expected in today’s age of technology.

“Online customers no longer expect fast responses, they are demanding them!”  COO – Karen Lloyd-Collins – Chat2

The Real Estate Trainer (a popular online resource for real estate agents) advises agents to respond within 5 minutes to an online client, after this time your chance of securing a new client drops significantly.  At Chat2, we believe you have to be faster and respond within 2 minutes for online enquiries, our average response time across our real estate clients is currently 18 seconds.

“We no longer measure response time in days or hours, we measure in seconds.” COO – Karen Lloyd-Collins – Chat2

The Real Estate Trainer advises that nearly 78% of prospective homebuyers stick with the agent who answers them first.
At Chat2 we have seen great success using live chat for property managers, it is making daily operations so much easier as you chat with multiple lessee’s at the same time and answer the same questions quickly assisted with ai (artificial intelligence).

Last month we received this chat on a Saturday afternoon after the business was closed.

“Help there is a large ferocious dog in my backyard – my phone is locked in the car – I have secured all the doors and I feel like a prisoner in my own home!”

Yes. A real situation our team easily managed.  The Chat2 team were able to assess the situation, reassure the tenant and calm them down, our client was alerted directly and sought assistance for the tenant, all the while, the chat2 team were online chatting with the tenant.  Yes, we do go above and beyond for our clientele!  Sure these are odd situations, but they happen.

Generally many of the questions received in chat are “How do I apply for a property?” “When is the next open home for …?” “What 2 bedroom properties do you have for sale or rent?” “I have a leak – can I have a maintenance form?”

To see a sample of FAQ’s and responses we provide daily for our real estate clients, visit www.chat2.com/2/real-estate.

The main benefits of live chat for the real estate industry is:

• Providing immediate and fast responses which is expected from clients researching property online.

• Answering questions from multiple clients/lessees at the same time, so no longer just one to one with email and phone.

• Saves time in not having to reply to an inundation of “contact requests” via email or phone.

• Answering the constant barrage of frequent questions with knowledgeable and consistent responses “on brand” and “on message” with the ai built into chat software.

• Providing a friendly online welcome with guidance and information for prospective homebuyers, landlords and current customers.

• Generating more qualified leads and enquiries by being available in real time online.

At Chat2 we have worked with many Australian real estate and property management teams for the last 2 years, providing the tools, insight and techniques to use the live chat channel. We assist real estates to engage and convert online customers. We offer a professional real estate chat team to answer enquiries for real estates 24/7 with real people or accompanied by chatbots.

If you are interested in a free trial of Chat2 Software and Chat2 Concierge Service, go to www.chat2.com and mention this blog in a live chat with one of our team. Of course, if you prefer email we are available at support@chat2.com.

Categories
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

How to generate more online sales in 2017!

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Start 2017 with a bang and induce your website visitors to buy from your website  this year! Avert them from clicking to that next website. How? Engage with your consumers online through your own website. Talk to them while they are on your website, say hello, engage and have a conversation in their time – in real time. Is this possible? Yes!

All Australian online consumers have used the internet to do some form of purchasing activity and around one in four purchase items online weekly (18th Nielsen Annual Australian Connected Consumers Report 2016). This trend is being seen globally with the Total Retail 2016 survey recording 54% of 23,000 shoppers in 25 countries purchasing online (www.pwc.com). With so much purchasing activity it is becoming essential for businesses to engage with their customers in the online space.  Installing Chat2 on your website will give you the opportunity to chat with your customers while perusing your website.

Australian online consumers are demanding more information when it comes to purchasing online according to the Nielsen report, what better way for them to obtain this information if you are there to greet them online and answer questions quickly and efficiently. Chat2 will convert your browsing visitors to paying customers by providing the information consumers are demanding.

Significant growth in online purchases is being seen in the areas of clothing/shoes, cosmetics/skincare, concerts/event tickets and food/grocery items as shown in the diagram below. If you are operating in these industries it is essential for to take advantage of these trends. Be innovative and do something different to engage your customers online.

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It is important to know your customer base so you can identify the essential times for you to be on chat.  Our team at Chat2 have observed that the busiest chat times for many of our clients are just after the close of business, so around 6pm – 11pm, during the lunch break from 11am – 2pm and at the start of the business day from 8am – 10am.

However, the age group of your target client base is also an important factor in identifying the peak times for Chat. According to the latest Nielsen Australian Connected Consumers Report 2016 (see graph below), it was found consumers 60+ are more likely to purchase in the morning hours and around midday.  The peak time for consumers aged 16 – 59 tends to be between 6pm and 10pm.  The Chat2 concierge team concur with these findings, though observe that midday is another peak time for consumers in the age group 16 – 59.

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Are you keen to engage your customers online in 2017 though too busy to answer chats? Our experienced Chat2 concierge team can do that for you for only $1/hour.  We greet your customers, engage, build their trust, clarify their query, assist where we can or obtain details for you to contact them and answer their question personally.  Our Chat2 team are obtaining great results and converting leads from 70 – 80% of the chats for clients.

Lead the way in your industry and install Chat2 to engage with your growing consumer base purchasing online.  The beginning of 2017 is a great time for many industries to install Chat2, particularly if it tends to be the quieter time for your industry.  Being in the online space to greet your customers will boost your sales and give you a great start to 2017.

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For a demonstration of Chat2 and its features go to www.chat2.com/learn. Or just install Chat2 entering your website address at www.chat2.com for a free trial.  Come and chat with us at chat2.com or email to sales@chat2.com.

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Chat Blog Uncategorized

Do you ignore your online customers?

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Is Chatting with customers new? Of course not! Conversational ecommerce has existed in some form or other since the earliest days of online shopping. You called up the shop owner (whose website you were looking at) when you had a query or wanted to order something.

A few years later, as email was popular, you emailed the shop owner when you had a question before a sale. Or if you were hunting for a discount. Then, emails became contact forms. Easier.

Then, contact forms became live-chat plugins. Live chat is one of the easiest, quickest interfaces for a visitor to communicate with a site owner. It is a fast growing communication channel as more businesses become aware of the technology and it has a great return on investment after a significant price war occurred in the early months of 2016.

Price War within the Chat Industry

Early in 2016, some of the big U.S. companies in the Chat industry drastically reduced prices of their live chat products and this led to a domino effect within the industry.  Most chat providers dropped or reduced their prices as more and more competitors entered the industry.

Chat2 software is now only $USD10/month ($15 AUD) for an operator with all the perks a chat software program can offer.  If you obtained 10 leads from your website over a month that is only $1 per lead, you can’t get a cheaper lead generation tool than that!

Growth of Chat usage

According to the latest Customer Service Benchmark results from eDigitalResearch, of 2000 companies surveyed, 31% are currently using live chat and 73% of these companies rated their satisfaction with the chat channel as high.

Chat2 allows you to chat to a representative of the company in real time, without the long delays and having to listen to tiresome hold music. One third (37%) of those surveyed now expect to be able to contact a company through live chat – this is up from 30% in 2014. Given how easy it is for site visitors to reach out to contact a company representative quickly and for free, it is not surprising that more customers are expecting a chat service to be available.

Derek Eccleston, Global Commercial Officer at eDigitalResearch states “The latest Customer Service Benchmark results suggest that the easier a company makes it for a customer to contact them, the more satisfied they are likely to be. Brands who are managing their live chat well are making live chat easy to find on their website, clearly signalling to users when their customer service team are available and how long they may have to wait, as well as allowing them to talk openly and honestly about their issues, queries or complaints”.

Conversation and Conversions

Conversation helps increase conversions. It’s like going back to traditional shopping where you talk to the seller and have a feel of how good or bad he/she is and how helpful they may be in an ongoing retail relationship.

If you engage a website visitor into a friendly conversation, you will  quickly obtain trust and create a “feel good” sensation about your company and your products.  The visitor may keep researching online, but undoubtedly they are more likely to come back to your business where they can get their answers quickly, efficiently and at no cost.

Chat2 your customers

Today, most of us spend about half of our waking hours chatting and responding to messages. Social media and forthcoming online sellers who chat with their customers (and leads) over chat apps have blurred the lines between a market relationship and a social one. Today, the place you go to connect with friends as well as brands and businesses is same: online.

Customers won’t feel odd when businesses reach them via a chat app instead of email. In fact, they are expecting it because you don’t have to jump between various channels of communication.

The sooner you take to conversational ecommerce, the better your chances of growth through improvements in customer service.  Cost is no longer an issue with chat, it appears to mainly be the hesitation in adopting something new.  Be innovative and don’t be left behind. Contact us at sales@chat2.com or chat at www.chat2.com.

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Chat Blog Uncategorized Want to grow your business online? Here's how!

Want to grow your Business online? Here’s how!

What is Good Customer service?  Think about the last time you were served by a business – what did you like? What didn’t you like?

When I receive fabulous customer service I feel elated after the experience, it’s a great boost in my day.  Receiving great customer service is an experience in itself.  If you receive great customer service you are likely to become a customer, be an advertisement for that business, be a return customer and generally feel good when you deal with that business.

Recently, I experienced a poor example of customer service which I wrote about in my earlier post here.  I was quite shocked this type of service still exists from a large dominant organisation in our economy.

So what is good customer service?  I believe it has the following 3 main elements:

  1. Welcoming and friendly – not pushy.
  2. Prompt and efficient
  3. great knowledge of the product

Chat2 software can assist your business in escalating customer service and encouraging returning loyal customers to grow your business.  Here on some tips on how to provide great customer service online.

Mel on NQ site

Welcoming and Friendly

If you are greeted with a smile, no words just a smile, upon entering a physical business – how do you feel? Normally good and you drop your guard a little. A new customer would like to get their bearings first and become familiar with the surroundings, before being approached by a salesperson.  They are more likely to approach the smiling salesperson to seek service.

From a salesperson perspective they are keen to make a sale, if they are a clever they would be reading the customer’s body language to assess the need for immediate sales assistance.  If the client had eyes averted, looking around, walking away from the salesperson, then they would read this customer is not ready for client service.

Online web service is quite different when using live chat software.  Firstly, you know the customer wants service, you don’t have to read body language signals. So that first hurdle disappears.  Though to be welcoming and friendly in the first instance you can’t smile through the website, so you need to use friendly, welcoming words without sounding robotic.

Short, simple welcoming messages are best. For example:

“Hi- hope you are having a great day”

“Hi, hope your feeling great today”

“Thanks for the chat – how are you?”

These could be set up as your initial automatic responses to give you time to be aware and answer the chat.  Asking a question like this can set the tone for a positive chat. The chat then starts on an even keel.

When a visitor has sought to use chat as a complaint line, your chat person needs to diffuse this tension to start the chat positively. It is always best to empathise with the visitor first, try and diffuse any anger by saying things like:

“I am sorry to hear that”

“Sorry to hear you are having that experience”

“I am sure we can fix that for you”

“ Let me try and help you”

“I am sure we can find a solution for you”

Remember you always need to keep your tone warm and friendly, so empathy will assist in the client warming to you and gaining some trust.  It can be challenging keeping the tone of your conversation friendly in the text form.  So always read the message to yourself as if it was coming from someone else or have a canned message set up to assist with prompt warm replys.

Prompt and Efficient

Upon entering a business in the physical world, you want your question, query or assistance to purchase attended to as quickly as possible.

This is more so in the online chat channel.  If a customer starts a chat they are looking for assistance. The business needs to respond quickly or they have lost that potential customer. For small to medium size businesses who don’t have the luxury of a room of chat agents, they need to have automatic responders set up within the Chat2 software. These responders are warm and friendly, not robotic, to quickly engage the customer in the chat.

Keep your replies short and concise as your website visitor does not want to read paragraphs on chat, they are seeking quick and efficient answers. Encourage your website visitor to answer questions to engage them in the chat.

If you a chatting with an online visitor be careful of leaving your chat visitor waiting too long in between replies.  If you are having to check prices, stock, technical information, let the chat visitor know.

“Just a sec – I need to check stock”

“Sorry – can you wait I need to ensure I have the correct price?”

“Just a moment – I need to clarify information with our technical team.”

They will then be prepared to wait for your next reply.  If it is taking longer than expected, let them know ie. “sorry, still checking”.

You need to treat the chat visitor as if they are in front of you – though keeping in mind they can not see what you are doing visually, so you need to keep them up to date. In the instance you are away from chat for longer than you expected, you can set up Chat2 to provide a reply in that time frame, for example:

“Sorry to keep you waiting”; or

“I have been delayed – please leave your name, number and email and I will contact you asap.”

You don’t want to lose your chat visitor so you need to obtain a way of being able to contact them, if you have not already obtained contact details.

It can be challenging for your chat person to answer two live communication channels at the same time.  Ideally, a chat person would be someone in the back office who has other duties and are not the first person to answer the phone or attend to customers who visit the business. These chat personnel could be support administration personnel, in areas like sales, accounts, marketing, human resources, operations etc.

 

Knowledge of Business Service/Product

Chat personnel in your business need to be well versed in the product/service offered by the business.  The visitor on chat is expecting the person who answers the chat to be able to assist their queries.  After using Chat2 software, you will get to know what your website visitors are looking for and be able to train your chat personnel in the best replies to the questions.

Chat2 will also assist you in deciding what information to provide or not provide on your website, or whether your website is friendly in obtaining information.  You will be able to provide links from your website to common information being sought.

Many of us have such busy daily lives, website visitors sometimes don’t want to read pages and pages of website information, they want the information handed to them on a platter.  For great customer service, it is ideal if your chat person can provide this information quickly and efficiently, then and there, while the visitor is on the business website.

If you are using chat personnel where their role is not directly involved in the detail of the product or service, you need to ensure these people are well trained on answering queries or have access to the standard business replies from the common questions. This is easily set up in Chat2 with canned messages.

Or if this type of chat person is not able to assist they can always reply:

“Sorry the person I need to check with is not available at the moment, can I take your name and phone/email and I will get them to get back to you?”

This is an opportunity to gain another customer that may not have contacted your business without having access to live chat software.

Implementing these 3 elements of customer service in live chat software will encourage customers to return to your website.  If a visitor lands on your website with live chat software, they are more likely to purchase from you, over a competitor who does not have live chat. 79% of these customers who purchase said they purchased as their questions were answered quickly using chat.

Enhance your customer service online with these tips on being welcoming, providing prompt and efficient service, with good product knowledge. Chat2 will engage your online website visitors with great customer service providing the opportunity for business growth.

 

Karen Lloyd-Collins

CEO

Chat2

 

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Chat Blog The power of social media

The power of social media

Adele shared in the news this week “that she didn’t realise the power of social media”.

We all know in this space how true that is. It is the way people are connecting and getting their news, what’s on, what’s happening, what’s new, whose who…………….. We all want to be in the know and technology is handing information to us in a blink of an eye.

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Social media is an essential and significant tool and communicating through online mediums has to be embraced.

Adele commented on 60 minutes that

“you can’t be old school in a world where social media is in charge of pretty much the world.”

 Even this week we installed Chat2 for a large travel industry client through exposure on social media. It’s about sharing information online, connecting and having a regular every day conversation online with your customers.

Websites are one way but by adding Chat2 software you open your website to a two way portal just like social media. So not only can website visitors view your business on the website, you can talk to your website visitors while they visit. I will explore this further in my next blog.

 Join the team – tryout Chat2 software at www.chat2.com

Like our facebook page

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and we will like your face page too!

 

Communicate online with your customers today – don’t be left behind……………….