Rob LoCascio may not be the highest profile technology founding CEO, but he is certainly among its longest-standing. His LivePerson is a New York City-headquartered technology company that works with over 13,000 companies to enhance their online commerce transactions by providing a cloud-based platform that enables businesses to connect with their customers via messaging through websites, social media and mobile devices.
“I started the company in 1995. At the time I could see that with the advent of commerce online that there needed to be another form of communication for the consumer so that they could stay on a website, they could ask questions and they didn’t have to go and pick up the phone and dial an 800 number,” says LoCascio.
It’s rarely a pleasure calling customer services for any company – long delays, a poor quality connection, and inevitably not achieving what you were trying to do in the first place. Technology provider LivePerson has teamed up with TalkTalk to help the telecoms provider move from a traditional telephone-based customer service to a more advanced online engagement technology. Over the next 12 months, TalkTalk aims to quadruple the number of customer service enquiries it handles via online chat agents.
According to CommBank, $17.8 billion is predicted to be spent on gifts, food, and vacations this holiday season. It goes without saying that the summer holidays are the best time of the year for retailers of all types to offer premium customer service and turn the swarm of holiday shoppers into brand loyal buyers. With immense competition over summer to gain shoppers' attention, those brands that will have the most success are those that approach the customer on a more personal level. In other words, those businesses that treat customers as an individual, rather one of the thousands of people who walk through a store or click on a website will have the most to gain.
As consumers become more savvy and comfortable browsing and buying online, they’re relying less on call centers and more on digital tools such as live chat, according to digital engagement solution provider LivePerson. On Cyber Monday 2014, LivePerson hosted more than 2.8 million customer service conversations, a 20% increase from 2013. In one example, Backcountry.com has seen substantial growth since refining and optimizing its live chat strategies — especially during the holiday season. Over time, the outdoor apparel and gear eTailer has discovered that consumers who engage one-on-one with agents generate up to six-times more revenue than those who have a standard online shopping experience.
Globally, online retail sales have been increasing at a rate of 17 percent (CAGR) annually since 2007, with Asia Pacific at 25 percent and Latin America at 27 percent. While established markets in the United States and Western Europe continue to show a rise in online purchasing, next-generation markets such as China, Russia, Brazil and Turkey offer a prime market for high growth potential with lower rates of competition. Successfully combining the right international online marketing mix is imperative to reaping the rewards that a growing world economy has to offer.
Despite the growing maturity and popularity of e-commerce, retailers still struggle with high levels of shopping cart abandonment. According to BI Intelligence, approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be left in online shopping carts this year, leaving businesses to seek new ways to engage customers and increase conversion rates. In the midst of this challenge, Ninewest.com, the e-commerce branch of the women's shoe and accessories company, is enjoying success with LivePerson's digital engagement solutions.
Change is an unstoppable force. The more we try to stick to outdated practices of the past, the more it hinders our progress. Mobile technologies and social media have opened up new avenues for interaction and customer engagement. This shift in customer preference means that businesses need to connect with their customers in the way most convenient for them without losing sight of personalisation. Hence, traditional methods of customer service are being replaced by the ability to connect on social media that has enabled open-ended, two-way communications through which customers can provide feedback throughout the entire customer experience.
The new personal care budgets of the Care Act offer a unique opportunity to change the care system for the better, for ever. Finally we have a tool to safely transfer power and choice from the state to the consumer moving them from passive recipients of care to active consumers, shaping the market through their buying power to deliver a new range of support and services. Research is consistently demonstrating these budgets free both the state and the recipients from high cost, conventional support and services and have the power to unleash self management with lower cost and better menu of support and services. So why do local authorities struggle so much to just ‘make it happen’?
In recent years, a plethora of awards have been handed to outstanding Australian small business to recognise them for the roles they play in the economic development of the country. This type of recognition for homegrown suppliers, firms and online retailers remind consumers and B2B customers of the contribution they make towards the business ecosystem. It also encourages a culture of support for small businesses across a wide range of sectors. While most of us shop at big box retailers, we still appreciate the small, boutique shops that offer customised goods peppered with a touch of personalised services. Oftentimes, the products and services we receive at these local shops are of higher quality and inspire more loyalty. This also rings true online.
The extent to which a paywall has changed life at The Sun is quite remarkable. Last weekend, fingering Twitter, I saw that The Times and Sunday Times is offering a free iPad Mini to anyone taking out a premium subscription. This intrigued me and I looked further at The Times member page, a more advanced product than The Sun when it comes to paywalls at News UK, having been in place for a while longer. I saw a lot of features that I take to be trends in publishing strategy, customer support and web design. Here they are...