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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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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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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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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?

 

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How to drive more direct sales to local business!

The hospitality and tourism industry are being extorted by two large American companies – in this video DickSmith explains how – he likens it to the 1950’s when the small family business had to pay protection money to crime gangs to prevent their business from being burnt down – but its legalised!

We love the passion Dick Smith tells this story and it’s still true – we still have that annoying woman on our TV every night in Australia telling everyone to book online and hand over millions of dollars to these 2 large millionaires in the United States. Chat2Concierge is assisting our hotels and tourism businesses to stand up against these 2 large online conglomerates.

Our team of online engagement specialists promote the business directly through the website to the visitor. We are introducing remarketing technology that will promote the business in the web browser after a website visit without the visitor being on the website. We are taking the fight to the OTA’s on behalf of our customers.

If more dollars are being kept within the business, the more likely they are to spend it within the local community, either through offering employment, undertaking activities requiring local tradespeople or even being more likely to donate to the local sporting clubs!

This is not only a challenge for Australian business as I have spoken to customers in New Zealand, Fiji , UK and the States who all share this struggle. As Dick Smith says “This is extreme greed capitalism at its best!” Always book direct and save our tourism industry.

If you would like to know more we have several free live 10 minute live sessions coming up on Thursday 23rd Jan at 10am or Thursday 23rd Jan at 6pm (AEST) and Tuesday 28th Jan at 10.30am and 6.30pm – just click the times to register or reach out on chat and the team will share the links for you.

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Chat Blog Live Chat - Tips and Tricks

10 Top Tips to Introduce Live Chat – So It Works!

 

We chat with businesses around the world everyday to start a relationship, to provide insight to the world of live chat, sharing our experiences with Chat2 and how it is changing the way businesses are communicating with their customers online.  So many businesses are still hesitant to try live chat and even when they do – it doesn’t work well! Why?

For several reasons which will be explored here.  It may be they haven’t created the knowledge base for a successful start in chat or they haven’t correctly set up the chat or they just haven’t been able to get online to answer chats or are too slow to answer chats. That’s why when we introduce a client to Chat2 – we are holding their hand all the way – it doesn’t take long to get going if you know what to do and what not to do!

Even this week we had a new client start with us in the Tourism industry trialing our Chat2 concierge service. We created over 100 Frequently asked questions to get them started and we were off and running with 32 chats in the first day with a 82% conversion rate by the Chat2 support team. A great result for the first day of a trial.

So why are so many businesses failing when they try the live chat channel?   It is certainly a channel that has to be taken seriously by businesses – check out our blogs Does Live Chat really work? and How Fast is Fast Enough?

When implementing live chat – it needs to be done right or yes it can be an epic failure with receiving little to no chats, wasting staff time taking too much time in a chat or worse not replying or missing chats when visitors come online.  Challenges like these are easily overcome and this post will set up you with some tips to success in implementing live chat.  Or of course we can do it all for you with our Chat2Concierge service.

We see incredible results with our clients everyday. Results like more online enquiries, an increase in conversion rates and sales, providing world class customer support with fast and effective responses which in turn  enhances customer loyalty and reduces the bounce rate to the website. All this is achieved through the effective implementation of live chat. Here are 10 tips on how to set up and implement live chat for success.

Tip 1 – Chat Window needs to be anonymous

One of the first tips on how to increase sales and conversions is to get the visitor to enter a chat. This depends largely on how you present your Chat invite and it is this area where many companies fall over before they have even started.

Firstly we need to get the customer into a chat.  Many businesses feel that the way to do this is to present a chat window asking for the customer name and contact details. So can I ask you if you rocked up at a shop and even before you are greeted by the sales person you are asked for your name and phone number.  Hmmm – I know I would be turning tail in the other direction! A business has to earn your trust and respect before you feel comfortable with handing over personal details. So don’t set up your chat window where a visitor has to hand over their personal details before chatting – it turns many online visitors away and tends to not engage them into a chat.

Make your Chat window non-threatening.

Allow a visitor to start asking questions straight away without having to divulge who they are. You will need to obtain their trust and then you can ask for their contact details. Techniques like building trust, how to engage in a chat and how to ask for contact details are covered later in this blog.

Chat needs to appear non-threatening and welcoming to the online visitor so they feel they want to ask a question. The point is to obtain engagement and get the visitor to enter chat.  You are providing a communication channel that is non threatening and the opportunity to ask questions anonymously.

This technique works particularly well for businesses in the areas of cosmetic enhancements, law or even selling cars.  Customers feel comfortable about asking those first initial questions about how to obtain a lip enhancement, or start divorce proceedings or do you have a mercedes available? Questions that can be asked without any threat of commitment. Some of the biggest sales we have seen have been made by starting a chat in this manner. So ensure you provide the opportunity for your visitors to ask questions anonymously and confidentially.

Tip 2 – Warm and Friendly Chat Invitations

When a visitor arrives on your website your goal is to get them to interact with you through your website, you want them to ask you questions.  The majority of visitors will generally not initiate a chat which is why it is important that you invite them into a chat or just let them know that you are there if they need any help.  “Warm and friendly” is the key and you should test what chat invitations work better than others for your customer base and tailor them specifically to your business.

So you could keep it simple – remember warm and friendly and not too robotic – so something like:

“Hi – we are online to help – we love questions – just ask!”

Or

“We are here to make your visit fast and easy – ask us anything!”

Or you could even have a bit of fun, so if you sell fishing tackle, then you could say:

“Hey, I am giving up a day of fishing to be here – so please ask a question!”

You are the one who knows your clientele best so what would they respond to?

One of our hotel clients recently made some changes to their website which prevented their chat invitation to pop up.  This client uses our Chat2 concierge service so we noticed that their chat activity had dropped by 80% in the month. This was highly unusual.  So we contacted the client and discovered they had made some changes to their website which had reduced their chat activity, the following month chat activity was back to normal.  Can you tell from the graph below what month they made those changes?

This is how significant chat invitations are – so they need to be set up correctly and regularly monitored. Chat invitations greatly increase the engagement rate as shown by this experience and also prevents your visitor bouncing to the next website.  

Now you may ask – how long should I wait before I invite them into chat?  I will share the best timing in a later tip.

Tip 3 – Present an Inviting Chat Window

How many times have you seen a chat window with no image of the operator, no name, a cartoon character or sometimes the grey ghostly looking outline of a head and shoulders?  Well it is certainly not an inviting window and does not encourage people to enter chat. You need to ensure the first name and an image of your operator is in the window. A friendly and smiling face is important to engage with your online visitor. This image will increase the probability of a visitor entering into a chat if they can see who they are going to be chatting with.

When I have advised companies to do this – some say “ oh no – I don’t take a good photo or I am too shy or no I am concerned about my privacy”.  We are all our own worst critic. If you really don’t want your own photo presented then you need to find a photo of a person to use, friendly and smiling. Don’t use a cartoon avatar – they can appear a little creepy!

If you are serious about trying out live chat – your chat window needs to be presented warm and inviting, non threatening – so your first name and image will go a long way to increase engagement.

Tip 4 – Log in Everyday

In the first couple of weeks we like to check in with our new clients to ensure they have everything set up correctly.  We undertake a chat audit and provide advice on setup, engagement, getting online, canned messages and chat techniques. For clients using our concierge service, setup is complimentary and we implement the best techniques to obtain results for our clients on chat.

With clients who are managing the chat themselves, more often than not we hear,  “I keep forgetting to log in.” You need to login every day or chat will not work for your business. If you are inconsistent with logging into your chat dashboard,  then your online visitors are likely to go elsewhere as you are not providing consistent online service they seek. So they don’t know when you will be there or not.  There are peak periods for chat activity throughout the week, so if you are online during those periods and advertise those periods on your website, you are more likely to pick up the majority of the online enquiries, providing your customers with the immediacy of service that is now being demanded online.

Another technique to ensure your chat is online everyday is to nominate key personnel within your business on a roster. It’s best this staff are always in front of a computer or answering a phone. Yes you can talk on the phone and chat at the same time! It’s so much easier talking to multiple customers on chat then it is on the phone.

Also set up your homepage on your website browser (we find Chrome the most stable) to be the Chat dashboard and select your browser to appear upon startup of your computer each day.  This will remind you to login to your dashboard.

If you would like to answer chats while you are on the run, then download the mobile app so you can answer chats on your mobile device as they come through.

Now if you find it just too exhausting to remember to login every day – you always have the very affordable Chat2 concierge service that can answer chats for you at any hour of the day or week-end.

Tip 5 – First Chat Message

Ok – so your chat window is now warm and inviting – the next thing is ensuring your chat operators are warm and inviting too.  Chatting is certainly a technique to be mastered. With online chat, you can not rely on body language, tone of voice or any other behavioural indicator to provide signs on how best to communicate with the chat visitor. It is the art of text messaging but in a professional friendly capacity.  Your choice of words and punctuation are of paramount importance.

Firstly, your operator needs to introduce themselves, they need to provide a first name to your chat visitor and welcome them into the chat.  It doesn’t matter if the operator’s name is showing in the screen, they should greet their visitor with their name in their first message. Something like:

“Hi – this is Dan – how are you today?”

Or

“Hi this is Lucy – thanks for that question, let me find that answer for you.”

The biggest DO NOT – is to immediately provide the answer to what your chat visitor is asking in the first message to the visitor.  If you do this, what tends to happen is the visitor controls the conversation and if they are stressed or upset about something it is very easy for the conversation to go wayward. It also tends to be quite an abrupt direct conversation, lacking any warm customer service, as we are missing all those conversational aspects I mentioned earlier. So we need to create this warmth with our language at the start of the chat and steering the path of the conversation. Starting with a natural, friendly courteous greeting can go a long way to set the direction for the chat. Try it, you will be surprised on how much better engagement you will get into a chat.

Tip 6 – How to Build Trust and Engage

Once your chat visitor has been greeted – the second stage of any chat is to build trust and engagement with your chat visitor – you want to engage them into conversation while also answering their questions.  There are several techniques to do this……..

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