The Secret Ingredient to Customer Experience: Proactive Engagement
What’s your company’s top priority? According to your customers, delivering a quality customer experience should top the list. In Forrester’s 2013 report, “Understand Communication Channel Needs to Craft Your Customer Service Strategy,” a staggering 71 percent of customers report that valuing their time should be a company’s number one priority. By instantaneously meeting consumers where and how they want to engage, proactive chat reduces the wait time for a customer service representative, compared to calling a brand’s 800 number.
Driven by a commitment to delivering highly personalized digital engagements to each customer, LivePerson’s sophisticated data and intelligence platform, provides superior service to consumers throughout their online and mobile journey, whether in the form of proactive chat or targeted content. It’s time for companies to meet their consumers on this powerful communication channel. Forrester recently published “The Six Key Elements of Proactive Chat,” a comprehensive report by Kate Leggett that discusses how proactive engagements can differentiate the customer experience, next-generation strategies for proactive engagement, and a six-step process for deploying an effective proactive chat program.
The rise of the digital-first generation
According to the report, the usage of live chat spans several demographics. Besides Millennials, approximately one-third of Older Boomers (ages 57-67) and the Golden Generation (ages 68+) use live chat. All these adopters make up the digital-first generation since they experience life through multiple digital touch points. Regardless of age or generation, digital-firsts include all consumers who use digital means to read, shop, and connect.
Engaging consumers throughout the buying journey
Researching a product online is more likely to lead to a purchase if live chat is available. According to the Forrester report, “33 percent of online consumers who have researched a purchase online did not complete the purchase in the past 12 months because they wanted to engage with a live person.” Proactive chat can help satisfy consumers’ need for live engagement while driving incremental revenue uplifts and reducing abandonment.
Proactive chat allows brands to decrease their shopping cart abandonment rates by assisting customers in the middle of their online purchases as well. According to the Forrester report, “55 percent of U.S. online adults are likely to abandon their online purchase if they cannot find a quick answer to their questions.” If you do not actively address inquiries across the customer journey, your customers might leave your brand for competitors.
Chat drives your business goals
According to Forrester’s analysis of 7,500 consumer surveys, “good customer experience correlates with consumers’ willingness to repurchase, reluctance to switch, and likelihood to recommend firms across all 14 industries we examined.” Proactive chat enables companies to achieve their business goals such as increasing top-line revenue and long-term customer loyalty. Several company case studies have consistently proven that live assistance facilitates higher conversion rates and average order values while reducing costs associated with high volumes in brands’ call centers. Clearly, these brands understand the importance of delivering rich and personalized content to their customers.
“We deploy chat because that is how our customers want to engage with us.”
—Kirsty Traill, former chief customer advocate, Snapfish by HP
After deploying LivePerson’s chat solution to “target high-value customers for chat and gain insights from chats to improve customer experience,” Snapfish reported impressive business results including a “10% increase in average order value, 87% customer satisfaction, a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour, and a 40% conversion rate for live chat.”
Brands that successfully engage consumers at key moments during their online journey see higher conversion rates. For example, Virgin Atlantic who uses LivePerson’s chat solution, reported that “customers who chat convert at approximately 3.5 times the rate of those who do not.” This is because LivePerson’s digital engagement platform incorporates predictive intelligent targeting (PIT) that uses proprietary algorithms and machine-learning technology to automatically identify visitors at the moment they need you most along their digital journey with special offers and chat assistance.
After Discount Tire Direct, another LivePerson client, moved from rules-based targeting to PIT, the company reported a 4-to-6 percent increase in conversion rates and higher chat acceptance rate. “The self-learning algorithms in Predictive Targeting help us to engage with customers at moments when they need help,” said Jay Reed, sales manager at Discount Tire Direct.
How to realize the potential of a proactive, digital engagement strategy
The success of engagement programs today depends on a brand’s departure from a traditional, one-size-fits-all approach, whether directing all consumers to a call center or promoting chat without awareness of customer journey. The Forrester report suggests three key elements:
Customize your offers. Not every proactive invitation needs to be a chat invitation. Instead, content and offers should be tailored to each consumer including the use of multimedia content (i.e. product video), or more content about an interested product or targeted offers and coupons.
Leverage visitor behavior. Rather than rely on static rules-based chats, companies can use analytics to predict visitor intent and proactively engage hesitant customers. The predictive intelligent targeting feature allows companies to engage visitors with high purchasing intent in order to optimize automatically.
Analyze real-time metrics. Besides a thorough review of metrics on chat volume, handle times and chat agent utilization, companies must also measure success on customer effort, net promoter score, revenue uplift, and increased market share.
Follow Leggett’s six steps for a highly efficient proactive chat:
1. Pinpoint journeys that will benefit the most from proactive chat.
2. Target customers who have the highest intent to purchase.
3. Determine when to intervene.
4. Determine what to offer to the customer.
5. Don't overlook the presentation of the offer.
6. Invest in your chat agents.
Read Forrester’s full blog post and in-depth report for details.