live chat

How NatWest provides multichannel customer experiences

Providing a great customer experience (CX) is impossible if you’re not implementing excellent and measurable customer service across every channel on which your customers can be found.

It used to be that a consumer would only come into contact with a single customer service representative in person or on the phone. The overall CX would succeed or fail based on that single interaction, which is a lot of pressure, not just for the agent, but for the entire company.

Four trends revealed by The Times membership pages

Not long ago I interviewed Beverley McIntyre, director of member services and support at News UK.

The extent to which a paywall has changed life at The Sun is quite remarkable. Last weekend, fingering Twitter, I saw that The Times and Sunday Times is offering a free iPad Mini to anyone taking out a premium subscription.

This intrigued me and I looked further at The Times member page, a more advanced product than The Sun when it comes to paywalls at News UK, having been in place for a while longer.

I saw a lot of features that I take to be trends in publishing strategy, customer support and web design.

Here they are…

How Moosejaw’s tone of voice creates hilarious multichannel experiences

Last month in my round-up of how seven ecommerce brands use highly persuasive copywriting I covered one of my all time favourite examples.

Moosejaw is a US-based retailer and ecommerce store specialising in outdoor recreation apparel and equipment.

What separates Moosejaw from its competitors is its consistently hilarious and quirky tone of voice that runs through all of its website copy, advertising and customer service channels.

I talked to Moosejaw’s CEO Eoin Comerford and customer service director Chad Caudhill about the importance of brand tone of voice, how it effects the company culture, its perception in the wider ecommerce world and the benefits of being an engaging, off-the-wall brand with bucket load of acerbic charm.

Twitter is the ‘least effective’ customer service channel for UK brands

Despite the fact that 76% of UK organisations run a Twitter account, only 39% of them are able to answer customer service questions asked directly through the channel.

It seems that although the move to social has generally seen brands able to communicate in a more personalised and timely manner with followers, they are still struggling to provide adequate customer service through Twitter.

These findings come from the recently released Eptica Multichannel Customer Experience Study which evaluated 100 UK companies on their ability to provide answers to 10 routine questions via the web, as well as their speed and accuracy when responding to email, Twitter and via the website.

The results are patchy at best…

Why it’s not enough to just have live chat

At the beginning of February, I read a great piece in Econsultancy called “Why do online retailers need live chat?” Live chat, combining the ease of e-mails with the immediacy of the phone, is an excellent way of communicating with customers, explained the article.

This is undoubtable. According to BoldChat, 31% of customers in the UK and US say they would be more likely to purchase after a live chat.

Also, a customer service benchmark conducted at eDigital, rated live chat as the best customer service channel at 73% (e-mail was rated at 61% while phone was at the bottom with 44%).

However, I think that just having a constant link to a live chat tool is actually not enough. You need to take it one step further. Optimization, in this, is key.

Why do online retailers need live chat?

Just 14% of UK online retailers offer live chat as a customer service channel.

In a recent survey by idealo, only a small number of UK retailers offered live chat as a customer service channel, and in the rest of Europe, an average of 18% of retailers offered access to live chat.

Live chat is the online support service that provides instant help for consumers who are seeking immediate help from a customer service assistant in real time. It normally appears on ecommerce sites or service providers in the form of a little text box that says “how can I help you?”

As you would expect, the most popular method of contact from the survey is by writing, with an average of 91% of all online shops offering contact via email or contact form. Although I’m surprised this figure isn’t even higher.

Perhaps this is down to many European retailers preferring customers to pick up the phone. Italy for example goes heavily against the email trend, with 98% of their online retailers offering phone contact, but only 56% offering email contact.

This leaves live chat somewhat in the doldrums.

Consumers prefer live chat for customer service: stats

Live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel, with 73%, compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone. 

I can see why as live chat combines the best of phone and email, and avoids the pain of hanging on the line listening to muzak. 

The stats come from eDigital’s Customer Service Benchmark which surveyed 2,000 consumers on their experiences of various customer service channels. 

Here, I’ve taken a closer look at the stats, and the value of providing live chat for customers…

How ASOS, Sky and Schuh use live chat to personalise online shopping

Live chat is still a relatively new customer service channel, though it’s proving to be an increasingly popular method of communicating with brands.

Stats from BoldChat show that more than 65% of US online shoppers have used live chat, up from 50.4% in 2009.

The figure is slightly lower in the UK but still growing at 53%, up from 41% in 2011.

The same research shows that 31% of respondents would be more likely to purchase after a live chat, however this stat should be treated with a decent amount of scepticism, as it’s difficult for people to accurately predict their future purchase behaviour.