This blog is by Stephen Pryce, director of business development at City Park Technologies.
One of the most important changes to the customer service market in recent years is that it is now the customer that is firmly in control. The customer defines the channel they want to use for their question or enquiry.
Only a few years ago brands would offer a phone number or email and expect that to be the gateway to their customer service team, but the mobile Internet and social networking has turned this upside down. However there are still many companies with a disconnect between the channels they offer to customers and how the customers want to communicate.
Let’s consider the car insurance market as an example. 100% of the companies I looked at offer an email address. 98% of them are present on social networks too. However, only 38% of them offer a click-to-chat option. Why only a third offering a chat option?
Chat is becoming an enormously popular channel for customers now, in particular there are many younger customers who have a strong preference to use chat over a call. If you force these customers to call then will they bother? You might miss out on valuable sales or cross-selling opportunities because you are not offering an important channel that many customers find useful.
What’s even more interesting is that chat is a lower cost service option. If it is cheaper to provide a chat option and many customers are starting to use it as a first choice channel then why are more companies not offering this option?
Live chat is a great way to help customers in real-time and once companies start using chat on a click-to-chat basis it is also possible to explore options such as proactive chat. This allows your agents to pop up and offer help when the customer is engaged in particular behaviour on your web site… searching the FAQ pages for example.
Photo by Fouquier licensed under Creative Commons