It is always fascinating which factors influence the customer in the purchasing process. But often the choice for a product or service is already made before influencing can take place. Dying for brands’ may be a bit exaggerated, but loyalty is a feeling that needs a deep impression that makes people think: ‘I found what I was looking for’.
Every company must strive for customer loyalty, as Frederick Reichheld said in his bestseller The Loyalty Effect (aff.). He shows that a company that manages to retain 5 percent more customers can increase profitability from 25 to 95 percent, depending on the industry. How do digital contact channels such as live chat and WhatsApp contribute to this?
Relationship between loyalty and customer satisfaction
Research in different industries has shown a relationship between behavioural loyalty and customer satisfaction. In other words: Satisfied customers make purchases and remain loyal to you, and dissatisfied customers walk away. The following facts underline the importance of optimal customer service:
- 45% of customers in the US will end the online transaction if they feel that questions are not dealt with adequately and quickly enough (Forrester, pdf).
- 89% of customers stop doing business with a company after poor customer service experience. Despite the fact that the company provides the best products (RightNow Customer Experience Impact Report, pdf).
- It costs 12 satisfactory customer service experiences to compensate for one bad experience. This means that 1200% more effort is invested to retain a customer (Parature).
- 70% of purchases are based on a customer experience and the feeling of how they have been treated (McKinsey).
The results below show the effect of satisfied customers:
- Satisfied customers are more likely to consider a repeat purchase.
- Customer satisfaction reduces the loss of customers and increases customer lifetime value.
- Retaining customers is cheaper than attracting new ones.
- Satisfied customers lead to more positive word of mouth.
- Assessing customer categorization between satisfied and fleeting customers enables sensitive differentiation and better statistics.
How do you keep your customers satisfied?
This information is not very innovative, but it is very important. It is financially more advantageous to retain customers than to attract them. That’s why the logical question is: ‘How do I keep my customers satisfied?’ Recurring answers always come down to finding out your wishes and recommendations. The importance of a lot of communication is stressed, but how many companies really do this?
Questions are not created on command
Companies communicate via the website, a newsletter and social media. But this is largely one-way traffic. Finding out the wants and needs of your customers is not done by displaying your company vision, but by listening. It is an outdated idea that you listen by contacting customers and asking questions.
This idea is outdated because questions are not created on-demand, questions arise when you are looking for information yourself. That’s why the teacher used to say at school that you had to study the material before class. Give customers a platform where they can take the ball in their own hands and make the decision themselves.
As much as the importance of customer satisfaction is known, the customer service tool live chat is unknown. More and more is being published about it, but why does live chat help your company improve customer service?
The Usefulness of Live Chat for Customer Loyalty
Live chat gives website visitors the opportunity to contact the company. By offering visitors an additional means of communication, the company increases customer contact. More intensive contact with the customer, which is appreciated positively, leads in a natural way to more bonding. Friends with whom you have more contact are generally your better friends. Live chat takes the first step in this direction because with good contact this will lead to a return. In addition, this bond means that customers will also help you. Problems with the website, tips and tops will be reported to you via the chat. The result is a mutual relationship.
Research by eDigital Research has shown that the easier a company makes it easier for a (potential) customer to contact you, the more satisfied they are. Live chat responds well to the wish because it allows the customer to contact you while visiting the website. The study also shows that live chat scores the highest on customer satisfaction of all customer contact tools. However, there are several conditions for the way in which live chat should be used before it leads to positive customer loyalty.
Live Chat Has the Highest Satisfaction
In addition, a survey was carried out into the customer satisfaction of customer contact means. Live chat has the highest satisfaction of all customer service channels: more than 71 per cent of the people who use this service were satisfied. Service via e-mail and telephone are still the most widely used, but customer satisfaction is only 62% and 45%.
Conditions for Proper Live Chat Use
The use of live chat services does not necessarily mean success, this depends on the way you use the resource. As simple as the tool is on the website, continuous manning of the chat is not. It can happen that three chats come in when you are just on the phone, and you can only respond after 1 or 2 minutes. Usually, the majority of chat users have already left the chat if there is no response within 30 seconds. Satisfaction also decreases after 30 seconds. It is therefore essential that the first response time does not exceed 30 seconds.
Companies that manage the live chat well ensure that the chat is easy to find on the website, communicate clearly when customer service is available and let them know how long they may have to wait. Proper management of the live chat also means that the customer is given the freedom to report all his or her problems, questions or complaints.
At our customers, where we handle the chats, we see that the more expensive sales-related questions largely take place from 4 pm until 8 pm. You might say that this is only on B2C level, but surprisingly we see a lot of action on B2B sites. This is a peak on the internet for purchasing decisions that you wouldn’t normally make at work. Our explanation for chatters after 9 am is that they are mostly people with children. The children are lying in bed before that time, so the parents can go surfing, gather information or buy products and services.
The weekends are generally the most popular time for people to surf and shop online. In order to make optimal use of the live chat, it is necessary to be available to visitors at these times as well. After all, the visitors are already on the channel, so why can’t they be helped via the same channel? In addition, visitors who have had a positive experience with the live chat make use of it again during a second visit. The disappointment at that moment is all the greater when it is not available. In order to bind these visitors to your company in a good way, it is necessary to be there.
Emergence of Customer Service via Whatsapp
WhatsApp customer service is expected to increase in the coming years. I think it’s a contact channel as well as live chat. You will start talking to someone right away. Instead of via a chat platform via the site, it is now a mutual conversation via a telephone application.
The use of WhatsApp is fully integrated into daily life, more than 90 per cent of the Dutch people have installed the app on their phones. Offering WhatsApp as a contact channel will, therefore, add a lot of value for visitors, it responds to the increasing use of WhatsApp and simplifies the contact process via smartphone. With WhatsApp, the value of offering a contact tool in which people are active is also offered to website visitors via smartphone.
“You can just call, can’t you?”, you might think. But the preference for apps over calling is growing. Especially when the WhatsApp call starts with a simple click and you don’t have to go through a long menu or stand in line for minutes. In short, offering service via WhatsApp becomes an important part of customer service in order to serve the customer in every possible way.
Think About Your Contact Options
The importance of customer satisfaction is well known, but in the digital field, there is still room for improvement in many organisations. Live chat is being used by more and more companies to provide service on the channel that someone is already using. Due to increasing purchases via tablet and mobile, it seems only logical to me to serve your customers via the platform they are already using.
Research also shows that with the right form of deployment, the tool is appreciated positively. But good management of live chat does bring with it the necessary conditions. If this is not met, the effect will be less and may even be counterproductive. Moreover, it is important that the focus is on the future: WhatsApp will play an increasingly important role. When you add the resources of live chat and WhatsApp to your customer service, it adds a lot of value for your customers and visitors. Does digital service contribute to loyal customers? If it is used properly, then I say with all my heart: yes!