BoldChat: An “amazing tool for eCommerce”

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Digital marketing expert Brian Hughes began a recent piece that appeared on the Huffington Post with a rather astounding figure: for the average eCommerce site, “80 percent of customers only make a purchase once.” That might make sense if you’re selling houses, yachts, or some other once-in-a-lifetime item. But for the average online retailer, that statistic has to be disheartening, especially given what we all know about how much more expensive it is to find a new customer than retain an old one.

Brian doesn’t think that businesses should take their eCommerce problems lying down. He has a roundup of solutions that he characterizes as “five of the best tools” for addressing what is a real eCommerce challenge – and BoldChat was selected as one of those five best tools. He lays out five problems related to eCommerce challenges and suggests a solution for each of them. Here’s what he had to say about us BoldChat as a solution for slow customer service:

When customers have a question, they need an immediate answer. Don’t force them to dig through your FAQ list, wait 24 hours for a response to an email question, or worst of all, sit on hold with a customer service rep. BoldChat’s live chat software provides an immediate helpful human presence, which dramatically increases customer satisfaction and boosts sales. According to BoldChat, customers are 7.5X more likely to convert when they use live chat. These same customers also increase their shopping cart size by 55 percent. Plus, since most questions can be answered in just a few minutes, live chat can also help offset traditional call center volume by up to 80 percent. End customer service headaches by offering better, faster, more efficient service.

Thanks for the shout-out, Brian. If you’d like to see his full post, you can find it here. And if you’d like to learn more about BoldChat, check out this short video.

         

Customers Turn to 3+ Support Channels – Will You Be There for Them?

Service Bell

Delivering fast, painless and reliable service is critical not only for Customer Service executives, but also for Sales and Marketing leaders tasked with increasing conversions, growing revenue, and maximizing customer lifetime value.

No one communication channel (or channels) stands apart in the consumer’s mind, so organizations need to support a variety of channels. But not every channel is ideal given the customer, the situation, or the device they’re using – and it’s no surprise that 64% use three or more channels when contacting a company for support.1

Customers looking for quick access to return policy information may be satisfied with a self-service option to answer this commonly asked question. A more consultative sales, beauty, or personal finance interaction may warrant a virtual face-to-face interaction.

In today’s world, customers want options for fast resolution, and you better deliver. In fact, Forrester found that 53% are likely to abandon a purchase if they can’t find quick answers to their questions.

Today, BoldChat makes it easier than ever to meet consumers’ expectations of service. And we provide the flexibility and control you need to tailor the experience to your business.

  • Our integrated, out-of-the-box Video Chat solution enables businesses to connect with their customers and prospects in a more engaging, personalized and unique manner, driving higher conversions and customer satisfaction.
  • Our Auto Answer capabilities help website visitors find resolutions for frequently asked questions quickly on their own before being escalated to a chat session for more advanced, personalized support, helping to offset volume and deflect minor inquiries, freeing up resources for more complicated issues.

Contact us to learn more or schedule a demo today!

1Where Contact Centers are Missing the Mark with Customer Care, Ovum, March 2015

         

The Evidence Is Mounting: Your Customers Are Turning to Live Chat

In early 2015, Software Advice published a report on live chat for customer support, and we wrote about their findings – the growing reliance on live chat, the millennials’ preference for it – in a previous post. They’ve now published a follow-up infographic which provides a quick summary of additional research findings on live chat. What they’re reporting is very interesting and underscores the growing importance of including live chat as a support channel.

  • 49% of online customers prefer to ask their questions via chat
  • For the 18-34 age demographic, 60% always prefer chat over phone
  • Not wanting to wait on hold is the reason 33% of consumers prefer live chat

One of the most important findings was from Gartner: by 2016, 89% of all companies will be competing on the basis of customer experience (CX). And live chat is increasingly essential to delivering excellent CX.

All of this confirms what those of us here at BoldChat find when we talk with our customers:  customer experience matters, and for more and more consumers, live chat is a critical component of CX.

You can read more about Software Advice’s new infographic here.

Software Advice_Live Chat: The CX Silver Bullet_Infographic

         

BoldChat’s Holiday Heroes

As we ramped up for the 2015 holiday season – and the chaos that was bound to ensue – we invited people to tell us how their customer service teams prepare – what challenges they face, what their priorities are, and best practices to share. Meet our five Holiday Heroes below!


Angela Doty

Angela is a Contact Center Team Manager at Blackbaud, and here’s how her team prepares for their peak season:

Our busy season is actually in January when non profits are ready to get out last years giving statements. We use the month of December to train and develop additional analysts to move to our chat platform. Our goal is 80% chat adoption by our clients. We are working on providing the best support when they click on that button. Our goal is to continue to reach a 93% Customer Satisfaction Score! Culture at Blackbaud is an important focus. Our chat team really is like family. We provide focused training on our busy season contact drivers and focus on internal promotions to lead roles for continued advancement and development.


Linda Cook

Linda is a Senior Customer Support Manager at Classic Accessories. Here’s what she had to say about how her team gets ready for the holiday season:

-plan for remote work capability due to possible weather conditions
-black out on vacations more than 2 days during season – overtime is not restricted
-pre-planning meetings to discuss and remove obstacles to smooth and timely operations
-morale enhancing strategies on a weekly basis for support team during the season (lunches provided, lots of chocolate, stress relief actions, coffee cart brought in, etc.)
-allow holiday activities (gift exchange, decorations, stocking stuffer wall, etc.)
-keep after senior management to acknowledge support team efforts


Kimberly Ward

Kimberly is a Flood Underwriter at Southern Farm Bureau Casualty Insurance Company, and here’s how her team prepares for the holiday season:

During the holiday season our number one focus is always customer service. Staffing and service levels are monitored to ensure customer satisfaction. We understand that it is frustrating when a customer is unable to reach us. Unfortunately, with the holidays absences are increased, but we can’t allow that to impede on the service we provide.


Jason Acevedo

Jason is the Senior Director of Ecommerce Operations, Imports and Company Logistics at The Limited. Here’s what he had to say about how his team prepares for the holidays:

1) People: ensure we have the right talent at the right time to support our goals.
2) Process: test and retest our processes at different orders of magnitude to allow us to meet our commitments and handle volume/load.
3) Tech: ensure we have the right tools with the right capacity to meet demands.


Juliana Booth

Juliana is an E-Commerce Supervisor at The Orvis Company. Here’s how her team gets ready for the holidays:

As a retail company, the holidays are a busy time for us. Before we start approaching the season, we like to go over what we did the prior year – what worked, what didn’t, what issues we encountered and how can we get a head start to fix/avoid those this time around.

In the midst of hiring additional staff and working long hours, we also like to look for opportunities to give back and have fun. Some examples are employee pot luck/food days, days to “dress like your favorite Christmas character”, and opportunities given to allow everyone to give to/support local charities.

Thanks to everyone who submitted nominations!

Photo Credit: Icomoon from flaticon.com

         

Tis the Season! How Do You Prepare for the Holidays?

Shoppers hurry along for Christmas sales

Every company has a different list of priorities as they plan for the busy holiday season, and the overwhelming demands of crazed holiday shoppers. So, we asked our friends at VF Corporation (The North Face, Timberland, JanSport, etc.) to share their list with us. Erin Dunlavy, Trainer for their eCommerce Customer Service team, said this is what VF does to prep for the increased volume of orders and customer inquiries:

  • Hire more than 100 seasonal Customer Service Reps to manage the influx of volume – beginning in September to ramp up and have all hands on deck for “The Big Show” (AKA – Black Friday!)
  • Extend customer service hours of operation to include Sundays and remain open until 10pm Monday through Friday
  • Offer week-long and weekend training sessions on systems, customer service, and product training to onboard all staff, regardless of their work schedule
  • Give incentives to top “contact takers” each month to keep employee morale high
  • Have a designated chat table where all agents trained only in live chat and emails have a designated place to manage increased volume
  • Provide ongoing trainings throughout the holiday season to address concerns/issues, continue systems and product training, and increase brand knowledge

How does your customer service team prepare for the holiday season? Share your priorities, challenges, or best practices, and you could win a $100 Amazon gift card! We’ll randomly select one winner each week from now until Christmas and highlight their entry on our blog. Fill out the form below or use this link to share your story today!

         

10 Tips for Delivering Great Customer Experiences This Holiday Season

With Black Friday a mere two weeks away, companies are diligently preparing for their busiest time of the year. They’re hustling to make sure they have enough product in stock, staff their teams appropriately, and– perhaps most importantly– ensure they have all the pieces in place to deliver consistent and satisfying customer experiences when contact volumes and customer expectations will be at an all time high. Knowing this can be a daunting task for many contact center professionals, we partnered with ICMI to provide some best practices for excelling during what can be overwhelming time – and keeping the holiday spirit alive!

  1. Know your customer and understand their expectations – customer expectations don’t changeBuddy the Elf Excited during the holiday season, so why should their experience?
  2. Address their needs in a timely fashion – focus on service, not the sale.
  3. Provide a consistent experience across all touch points – regardless of device, channel, or type of inquiry.
  4. Let customers engage with your company through their preferred channel – 53% prefer to use live chat before calling a company, yet only 34% of companies offer chat for customer service.1,2
  5. Utilize a multi-channel strategy to handle high volumes – providing alternative and more efficient channels like chat can help reduce the amount of time customers spend waiting on hold. Consider this a holiday bonus: it also increases efficiency, reduces costs, and sets you apart from your competitors.
  6. Ensure your customer service reps are adequately trained on product knowledge, return policies, shipping timeframes, promotions, etc. so they have the information they need to answer questions quickly and correctly. Wrong answers will result in repeat inquiries, irritated customers, and coal in your stocking.
  7. Staff your contact center appropriately to account for increased volume and urgent resolution. Not having enough CSRs creates chaos, aggravates customers, and results in added stress for your reps.
  8. Provide incentives – like gamification and spiffs – to keep employee morale high. A happy agent = a happy customer.
  9. When possible, avoid escalation – solve the problem in the channel they started in.
  10. Make improvements for the future. Not everything will be 100% perfect – take time to reflect on customer feedback, what went right, what went wrong and make the necessary changes to ensure next year is even more successful.

This list certainly isn’t all-inclusive, but it’s a good starting point to ensure you’re delivering the experience your customers expect.

For more information on these tips and more, watch our recent on-demand webinarHow to Deliver Great Customer Service During Peak Season.

 

1 2015 InContact Consumer Research, InContact, 2015
2 Where Contact Centers Are Missing the Mark with Customer Care, Ovum, 2015
Photo Credit: New Line Cinema

         

BoldChat Releases New Feature Enhancements

We recently launched a new release of BoldChat (v8.1) that includes enhancements designed to help companies better engage with and support their customers.

We’ve made improvements to our Automatic Chat Distribution Engine, including Dynamic Queue Length Limits and Visitor Queue Time Settings. New options for queue length limits help address the tapering of chat volume at the start/end of agent shifts, set maximum chats in queue, and define queue size dependencies on available operators. Visitor queue time settings provide controls for queue positions (e.g. end of queue or maintain position), separate behavior for intra- or inter-department transfers, and allow rules to be set for manual re-assignment of chats, emails, Tweets, SMS messages and tickets.

Our latest release also includes the addition of Audible Alerts for our layered chat windows when a chat message is received and when the chat window is not in focus.

To learn more about these and other BoldChat features, contact us today!

         

[Infographic] Wake Up and Engage! Mobile Engagement is Worth Billions

Mobile devices have forever changed the way we interact with the world around us. They have fractured the consumer journey into hundreds of micro-moments where consumers expect their questions and needs to be resolved instantly.Not surprisingly, mobile engagement (customers engaging with brands via mobile devices) has become widespread and is growing quickly – 47% year-over-year.2 More than a third of all web traffic stems from smartphones and tablets, and IBM predicts that mCommerce transactions will account for 26% of all eCommerce purchases by the end of the year. 3,4

Given the sharp rise of these interactions, we sought to understand not only what types of mobile engagements are occurring (e.g. research, purchases, support, etc.), but also what mobile engagement means for companies’ bottom lines and how – if at all – they are impacted by the Internet of Things (IoT).

Among our findings:

  • 84% use their mobile device to research products or services before making a purchase.
  • 24% of the most recent mCommerce transactions had a previous mobile engagement (i.e. the customer contacted the company via a mobile device prior to making a purchase).
  • Those who own an IoT device are 46% more likely to frequently engage with companies from their mobile device.

You can get a full copy of the Effective Mobile Engagement research report here, or get some quick highlights from the infographic below.

Effective Mobile Engagement 2015 Infographic

1 Micro-Moments, Google, 2015
2 Effective Mobile Engagement, BoldChat by LogMeIn, 2015
3 World Media Trends, FIPP, 2015
Christmas in July: The 2015 online holiday shopping forecast in 5 charts, Digiday, 2015

         

[Webinar] Seamless Mobile Shopping: What it Takes to Create a Perfect Experience

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More and more consumers are using their mobile devices to search and shop – in fact, Americans plan to do almost half of their holiday shopping online this year.1 Yet the best practices for providing these customers with a seamless mobile shopping experience are not very well defined. New research highlights the critical elements that can make or break a customer’s experience while shopping on mobile sites.

Does your company have a mobile engagement strategy in place for the 2015 holiday season? If not, it’s time to learn what you can do to make this year a successful one!

Join us on Tuesday, October 27th at 2pm ET for an interactive webinar with Don Davis, Internet Retailer’s Editor-in-Chief; President of the e-tailing group, Lauren Freedman; and BoldChat’s Senior Director of Products, Ross Haskell.

They’ll share tips for creating the perfect mobile shopping experience, including:

  • How to measure and benchmark your mobile site
  • What tools help customers make a purchasing decision
  • How to take your mobile customer experience to the next level

Register today!


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Holiday Headquarters, NRF, 2015


         

Tips for Creating a Winning Digital Customer Experience

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For the majority of consumers – 76%, according to a recent Ovum report – it can take only one bad customer service experience for them to stop doing business with you. This is the jumping off point for a recent Website Magazine article. In “Hitting a Customer Service Home Run,” Allison Howen writes that consumers are increasingly demanding service excellence across multiple channels, emphasizing the importance of coming up with “a winning digital customer service plan.”

Alison offers three tips for creating such a plan. One is to put a lot of emphasis on mobile. For this tip, she relied on the insights of our own Ross Haskell, Senior Director of Products for BoldChat. Ross notes that mobile device adoption is not letting up anytime soon, and brands need to do more than provide mobile websites and apps, but opportunities for mobile engagement as well.  Live chat is a terrific way to engage with consumers – both reactively and proactively. It’s real-time and personal, and, for many, the preferred means of communication – the human-to-human contact so many folks crave with the added bonus of being quick and easy.

The entire article is a worthwhile read, but you may also want to check out BoldChat. BoldChat not only covers the bases with live chat, it also provides email, SMS and Twitter management, enabling your customers to engage with you using their channel of choice. And because mobile engagement is quickly growing in importance, we’ve designed mobile capabilities that will help you deliver a winning digital customer experience – regardless of device or channel.