This article was written by Marcel Vrieling.
Customers want to be able to ask their questions and receive immediate answers. This hasn’t changed with the ongoing pandemic as we move into each time more connected and informationally dominated society.
Have you noticed, for instance, chat windows popping up more frequently when you visit online stores or e-commerce platforms? Chat and messaging have been growing in popularity for a few years now. Although voice generally remains the most popular, in a recent research from CX Lab we’ve found that chat and messaging are growing very quickly in popularity as a first choice channel.
The crisis caused by the COVID-19 Coronavirus is going to accelerate the adoption of chat and messaging, creating some opportunities for brands planning a post-crisis customer experience (CX) strategy.
As you know, many countries have been using lockdowns to control the virus. Only essential stores and services are open so many retailers have had to get creative and offer delivery services using WhatsApp as a channel. We are seeing a rapid increase in the number of customers that are getting comfortable with chat and messaging as a channel and it will be important to plan for these interactions to continue as we exit the crisis period.
There are several advantages for companies that really focus on improving their chat and messaging strategy:
- Digital channels, such as chat and messaging, cost less than managing voice calls. An agent can only handle a single call at a time, but a single agent can manage several chats simultaneously because there is usually a delay between each response.
- Digital channels are easy to implement with work-at-home-agents (WAHA) so you require less infrastructure and implementation cost.
- Chat and messaging can be human or automated. In smart deployments you can use an AI-powered chat bot that automatically hands off to a human if the bot cannot handle the customer questions. Many simple questions will be handled by the automated system.
- Analytics. A lot of information can be gathered by analyzing the chat conversations. It is possible to feedback these observations in real-time so the process is constantly improving.
This article in Forbes last year lists some other attractive benefits of a more comprehensive focus on using chat and messaging:
- Faster response: instead of asking the customer to call a number and then wait on hold for service a chat window can offer a response immediately.
- Sales and Conversions: proactive chat can intervene when a customer is about to make a decision, such as when they have a basket of items on screen but they have still not clicked on ‘purchase’ - a chat window can be used to offer help and therefore to get the customer over the line.
- Personalization: if the customer is logged in then the chat window can greet them by name and also predict their needs based on past purchases.
- 24/7 Service: your chat option can be available 24/7, even if the late night service is automated.
I would also add the following to that Forbes list of benefits:
- Messaging increases business agility, allowing for a faster response when you need to ramp the team size up or down.
- Messaging allows you to be more adaptive to the reality of customer communication today
- Messaging implementations are very rapid - both for design and rollout
- Messaging allows you to position your brand as more digital and modern
The silver lining of this very unfortunate crisis is that we see companies from around the world rethinking the way they do business and looking for solutions like conversational commerce to solve their problems. In this context, we are helping clients who are already asking “What Comes Next?”. For companies looking to reap the benefits of chat and messaging, they need to source the right partner to leverage their expertise, investment power in new technologies and rapidness to implement change.
Have a look at some of the chat management options offered by Teleperformance and its ecommerce customer services.
About the author: Marcel is the Chief Business Development Officer for Continental Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) at Teleperformance. He is passionate about business growth & disruption, digital innovation, transformation, (out)sourcing & partnerships and globalization topics. If you have any questions or comments on this article then please leave a comment or get in touch with Marcel via LinkedIn.