Read the success story by Finnish Centre for Pension’s Virpi Rautiainen on how they achieved a 4+/5 live chat experience rating and how their own customer service agents are embracing the new channel.
To gain customer insight into eServices development, we conducted a customer survey. The data collected clearly suggested that a group of our customers would prefer self-service in an online environment over the more traditional service channels. When weighing our options, we came to believe that live chat could help us better engage with this customer group. As an organisation, we like to learn by doing. That is why we decided to start a trial period with giosg in September 2017 with two goals in our mind; one was to see how customers would receive the channel and the other one was to test how customer service employees can adapt to live chat and how they feel about using this new channel.
We decided to offer live chat service in three locations on our website where we get the most questions from customers; on työeläke.fi, etk.fi and an electronic application form shsuomi.etk.fi. To get a comprehensive sample of our customer service agents, we formed a live chat test team comprised of people with different knowledge of our services and working history
We started actively experimenting with the live chat from the very beginning. Our customer service is usually open from 8 to 16 Monday to Friday. As we were not sure if our customers would prefer extended opening hours we decided to test it with live chat rules and lead collection form functions. This test indicated quite clearly that there was not enough demand for service in the evenings.
Our customers are entitled to receive service in both official languages (Finnish and Swedish) and we also have English speaking customers. So we created language versions to start the chat conversation by using giosg Rules and autosuggest functions. Now we have different ‘chat-rooms’ for different languages for our service agents who can offer service in these languages.
Although not all experiments have been successful, without trying, we would not have known what works and what doesn’t. And overall, live chat has been a great addition to our service channel mix.
At the moment a part of our customer service agents take care of incoming chats during our customer service opening hours. The customer service agents have had no trouble in learning to use the solution. Instead, they have embraced the opportunity provided. After a day on chat duty, one of the customer service agents even spontaneously said that: ‘It’s thrilling to learn new things’.
Our customers have also welcomed the new service channel with open arms. During the first year of using the chat we asked them to rate their live chat service experience on a scale of 1-5, with 1 being ‘poor’ and 5 being ‘excellent’, and they gave us an average value of over 4. Customers compliment our chat agents’ expertise, and the quality of the chat conversations is good. The questions asked via live chat are pretty much the same as in other channels, and those questions are answered by the same team of customer service agents. Still, service agents report that they get more positive feedback and acknowledgement from the customers using live chat.
Looking to the future
Our success is mostly dependent on the actions we decide to take every day. Our experiments with live chat have provided us with valuable information regarding customer behaviour and the opportunities provided by live chat as a channel. A few of the key learnings from our experience so far are:
- When choosing live chat software pay attention to the user-friendliness of the interface and the analytics and reporting features offered
- Train your staff and make sure they also feel comfortable and familiar with live chat as a channel
- Make sure your customers see that your live chat service is available – create smart rules to make live chat button visible or use automated chat messages where customers are most likely to need help, for example, on electronic form pages
- Treat chats like any other professional conversation – Advise chat agents to introduce themselves and maintain a professional yet friendly tone
- Ask for feedback regularly - both from your customers and your staff
- Use feedback and the analytics data to continuously develop your live chat service further
Inevitably, experiential learning involves trial and error, but that is not something you should be afraid of. On the contrary, you should cherish it as a valuable opportunity to look back and figure out why it didn’t work. And that’s the way you can truly make things better.
So, instead of thinking of doing something, just do it!
“When choosing a live chat software pay attention to the user-friendliness of the interface and the analytics and reporting features offered. Things you find with giosg.”
Virpi Rautiainen, Business Development Manager, ETK