6 boxes to tick before your business is 100% digital

digital engagement

You could argue that in the second decade of the twenty-first century the vast majority of businesses are ‘digital’. After all, we live in an era when even my local window cleaner accepts payments via his website and you don’t have to scramble very much further up the tree that leads from a micro-business to a FTSE-100 market leader to find widespread adoption of digital technology. These days, networks facilitate everything from procurement and supply chain management to sales and customer service.

But using digital technology isn’t quite the same as being a ‘digital company’. On the customer-facing side, the truly ‘digital’ company puts the web, mobile, data collection and analysis, absolutely at the heart of its strategy to deliver the best possible level of service. To a digital company, a website or mobile app is not simply ‘another channel’, it is the most effective means to sell and deliver products and services while building a long-term relationship with the customer based on a two way flow of information. See our case studies here.

So what distinguishes a digital company from one that simply uses digital tools? Here are six questions you should be asking.

1. Is your digital strategy ‘joined up’?

At the risk of stating the obvious, a digital company must have an over-arching digital strategy – or to put it another way, a long-term plan that unites the various silos that exist even within small and medium sized businesses.

Think of it this way. Your marketing department may have a digital strategy involving search engine optimisation, an affiliate scheme, display advertising all linked to broader campaigns and a commitment to rolling out mobile apps. Meanwhile the other silos, such as customer service and sales/fulfilment also have their digital strategies. And they are not necessarily connected. Continue reading

5 signs that your online customers really don’t like you

live engagementIn an ideal world a customer with a genuine intention to buy should arrive at a website and embark on a short journey that ends in transaction. The reality is, of course, that the road from home or landing page to checkout is a rocky one. Only a very small percentage of website visitors – typically 1% or 2% – will make a purchase and the rest will simply browse for a while before moving on to another site.

But that’s not the whole story. Among that silent majority are customers who arrived with a predisposition to make a purchase but, somewhere on the journey, decided to drop out. It may be that they simply changed their minds but equally there could be a problem with the site itself that you need to identify and rectify.

Here are some of the clues that improvements to the site might be necessary.

1. High Bounce Rates

The bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors who arrive at a site and don’t progress any further than the home or landing page. A high bounce rate often indicates a disconnect between a marketing campaign and the sales offering of the site itself. For instance, a consumer may click through from a search engine on the promise of a cheap deal on a particular make and model of laptop but on arriving at the homepage find no direct reference to the product. Rather than taking the trouble to explore further, your potential customer simply goes elsewhere. Higher than expected bounce rates indicate a problem.

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Why Live Chat is as game-changing as WhatsApp

live engagementThe preferences and practices of internet and mobile users are in a constant state of evolution. Consider messaging. Not so long ago we used e-mail to communicate one-to-one while ‘broadcasting’ to groups of friends and followers via Facebook and Twitter. Indeed, that one-to-many model was the defining characteristic of social media.

And then along came WhatsApp, turning the social media model on its head by providing a social media messaging service that is mainly designed for one-to-one communication. The success of WhatsApp – now owned by Facebook and putting on something in the region of one million users a day – is a reminder that while we enjoy broadcasting messages to friendship groups, personal messaging remains hugely important.

And perhaps it’s also a reminder that the internet is no longer solely about PCs and laptops. Much of the messaging we do – and an increasing amount of our internet browsing – is enabled by those always-on smartphones. Continue reading

How Snapfish reduced customer service enquiries by 60% with live chat [Video Case Study]

Snapfish live engagementWith around 90 million customers across 12 countries, HP Snapfish is one of the world’s leading online photographic services companies. It’s a relatively complex online business. Through a range of online tools, Snapfish enables its users to make the most of their digital photographs. They can, for instance, put together photobooks, create wall art and collages, design personalised cards as well as simply print their pictures. As such, Snapfish provides the means for anyone with a digital camera to execute a design project.

By and large customers self-serve by using the tools available but inevitably some will require help to master the functionality. To assist with sales and customer service, Snapfish uses live chat delivered by LivePerson.

Chat has proved to be a highly effective sales channel, driving conversion rates of 40%. But interestingly chat is actually reducing the need to engage directly with customers.

Since deploying LivePerson chat, Snapfish has seen a massive 60% reduction in customer enquiries relating to orders thanks to intelligence generated by live engagement. Continue reading

4 reasons why call centres are switching from telephone to live chat

One of the perennial drivers for the adoption of live engagement is the impact on cost. The logic is this. Even if the vast majority of your customers self-serve, there will be times when they need help from a human being who can advise on products or provide additional information. Traditionally that’s been done by a telephone hotline but you can offer the same service more cheaply – and also more efficiently – by talking to your customers via a chat tool. That’s because chat agents can handle several engagements simultaneously, making them much more productive.

But chat is much, much more than a cost-effective solution to a perennial problem. In circumstances it offers customers a better experience than the telephone channel and that is reflected not only in higher conversion rates but also much better customer satisfaction and net promoter scores. The question is, why?

1. A seamless experience

First and foremost it provides a seamless experience. When a customer arrives at a website with an intention to buy, he or she has already made the decision to transact online rather than in a physical store or over the phone. As such, picking up the phone, dialling a number and waiting in a queue is a distraction at best and at worst an imposition. It is much better to allow the customer to maintain the online experience by simply clicking through to a chat agent. Continue reading

4 ways online retail can transform customer service with live engagement

There was bad news and good news for Britain’s retailers in the latest sales and footfall statistics published by the British Retail Consortium.

The bad news was that footfall in physical stores fell 0.2% in May when compared with a year earlier, marking the second consecutive monthly decline. The good news for the sector in general and for multi-channel retailers in particular, was that total retail sales were up. This was driven in part by a mightily impressive 17% jump in online sales.

On one level the latest figures simply concern what we knew already, namely that the balance in multi-channel retailing continues to shift towards online shopping in many sectors. And while consumers love the experience of visiting the high street or shopping mall, an increasing percentage of their spending power is exercised via PCs, tablets and mobile phones.

But the figures also emphasise the underlying truth that online retailing is a key competitive battlefield. As consumers migrate online it’s absolutely vital that individual retailers provide a differentiated offering that reflects and also enhances the strengths of their offline brands. Otherwise they will simply lose out to their competitors. Continue reading

How live engagement can dramatically improve your CSAT score

live engagementAnyone who runs a commercial website knows all too well the cost of attracting customers for the first time. On one level the web offers a hugely cost-effective way to sell products and services but the sheer number of competing sites means that for all but a few very high profile brands, the biggest challenge is establishing visibility. And so you spend on advertising, affiliate schemes, SEO, social media marketing and possibly also radio, TV, press and leaflet campaigns. Anything, in fact, to make you stand out from the crowd.

But once you’ve attracted your customer, naturally enough you want to establish a relationship that leads to repeat business and that’s where the focus shifts from the outward-facing advertising and marketing campaigns to the quality of the on-site experience. And that’s an opportunity. Once you’ve acquired the customer you have a chance to differentiate yourself by what you have to offer – the design, the ease of navigation, the pricing, the range of products and (increasingly) the service.

And hopefully, if your customer likes what’s on offer, they will not only return to buy more but also tell their friends, a proportion of whom will go on to be a source of repeat business. Continue reading

3 ways live engagement can help drive digital adoption

digital engagementAcross a range of consumer-facing industries – from banking and insurance to travel and retail – the gradual migration of customers from offline to online sales and service has been a huge win/win. From the perspective of the business, encouraging customers to do more online has in many cases enabled the cheaper delivery of products and services. Meanwhile customers benefit from the convenience of transacting at an hour of their choosing on any device.

But of course, it’s not quite as simple as that. If we take banking as an example, while increasing numbers of customers carry out the majority of their day-to-day transactions online, there are plenty of others who prefer to pop into a local branch or ring a call centre. Effectively this means the organisation has to carefully balance resources by allocating staff to both the offline and online channels. And to some extent the need to provide a range of options can undermine any savings made by going digital.

So if it makes sound financial sense to offer sales, service or account management online, it surely also makes sense to maximise the cost efficiencies by actively encouraging a migration to digital channels.

There are several ways in which live engagement can help drive digital adoption.

1. The Service Factor

First and foremost, live engagement allows the website operator to bolt service onto a traditionally self-serve medium. Think of it this way. The overwhelming majority of consumers making purchases or managing their accounts online enjoy the fact that this is a self-service medium. Put simply, they can get on with whatever they need to do, without the effort of seeking out assistance. But there are times when self-service breaks down and help is required. Traditionally, the customer has then had to ring a telephone hotline, but live engagement tools such as chat, video chat and instructional videos mean that the online customer stays online, even when accessing help. This helps create a seamless online experience. Continue reading

Omnichannel retail – strategies to engage the mobile customer in-store

mobile chatThanks in no small part to the ubiquity of the smartphone, we live in an age of omnichannel retail where the once rock-solid walls dividing the high street shop and the online store have become increasingly porous. Most retailers are now familiar with the sight of a customer browsing through products in-store while also checking prices or gleaning further information online, either via a smartphone or tablet.

But what do consumers expect from retailers in the omni-channel world. And how pro-active should the retailer be in reaching out to their customers online while they are in a physical space? That’s not necessarily an easy question to answer. Think of it this way. A customer using a smartphone in-store might be doing any number of things, including:

1. Posting on Facebook (perhaps product related or not)

2. Comparing prices online

3. Tweeting about his or her shopping experience

4. Looking up more product information

None of these necessarily require any input from the retailer but that doesn’t mean the customer wouldn’t welcome some pro-actively offered help. Continue reading

Why cloud is best for digital engagement

digital engagementThe ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) model continues to revolutionise the way companies of all sizes do business – not least because it largely removes the need to do a lot of in-house IT work when introducing new ways of working and interacting with customers.

The convenience of buying in services from the ‘cloud’ has certainly been an important factor in the success of live engagement. For instance, LivePerson’s digital engagement platform – complete with behavioural analysis tools and a comprehensive range of channels through which to interact directly with customers – is delivered on a software as a service basis. What that means in practice is that once a business has decided on its live engagement objectives and worked out the business rules that trigger customer interaction, putting the solution on-stream is both a rapid and uncomplicated process.

But the appeal is not simply in the convenience. Cloud delivery allows businesses to experiment with live engagement. Whether led by the sales team, the marketing department, customer service or the CEO, live engagement can be rolled out without the costs and risks associated with in-house implementation and integration projects. Continue reading

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