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How to Use Chat to Create Customer Loyalty

In today’s e-commerce world, most products and services are very similar in nature. Yes, some of them have unique features that set them apart, but almost everyone uses similar methods to sell their products or services. So how do customers these days decide where to buy what they need? How do they chose which e-store or service is better than the other? The answer rests within two magical words: “customer service”.   Studies suggest that customer loyalty is determined by the quality of service the customer  receives, and not necessarily by the cost of the product or service. 

This being the case, perhaps you’ve decided to strive for the best customer service team ever. You’re committed to investing top dollar to find the best customer service team, willing to buy them the best IVR technology, train them, and fight for these “holy”  KPIs  that the customer service industry has agreed upon. If so, great job!  However, in some industries you’ll quickly discover that having the best team, 24/7, might cost more than your business model will allow. On top of that, how can you ensure that your customer service team does what it needs to do in order to make your customers happy?  How can you make sure that calls are answered quickly and resolved the first time (FCR)? In our organization, I‘ve found the answers to most of these questions by using chat as our main customer service channel. Our chat option has become so popular, that when given 3 contact options (Chat, Phone, email) for customer support, the chat channel continues to win big time. 

So how does chat help stregthen loyalty between your customers and your company?

Instant communication - Customers get instant answers to their questions without waiting for you to answer their calls. It also cuts the anticipation for answers from emails. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Think about your initial thoughts when you submit a support email. Will they answer quickly enough? Will they answer my question correctly? Now that they have my email address, will they spam me forever? Will my email get lost or filtered?

With chat, these barriers don’t exist.

Someone is there for me when it – Many of our customers say that knowing they have the option for 24/7chat support influenced their decision to revisit our site and shop time and time again. 

It is real people who support me – One of the keys to success with chat is using personal messaging versus too many canned messages.  Using too many canned messages can lower the level of trust between you and your customer.  Personal messaging comes across as genuine.

I have proof – When dealing with e-commerce , customers want  a record of every conversation they had with you. Why? “Just in case”. Give it to them and it will build trust. 

Too technical – Yes, even in 2014, some users still have e-commerce phobia.  In those cases, what they need is someone to guide them through the process to find the best product/service that suits their needs.

I want only him/her – Some customers only want to speak with their regular CSR. With chat you can easily transfer the conversation from one CSR to the other without having to repeat the whole story again (it is all documented). Even if the customer’s favorite CSR is not working at the time, it is easy to flag the chat so when he is available he can email the customer and schedule their chat session.

Instant feedback – With chat you can gather customer feedback immediately. There’s no need for returning robo calls, or survey emails that no one reads. After every chat we give our customers a short survey (no more than 5 questions). On the survey they can rank the help they received and even comment on the CSR’s personality. I recommend checking these survey results regularly to learn more about your team and potential areas for improvement. This is the best “gift” that you can give executives--real feedback from real customers. Fix what needs improvement and you’ll be sure to increase customer loyalty.

Have you seen chat increase customer loyalty in your organization?  Share your experiences in the comments below.

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