5 Tips To Enhance eCommerce Customer Service

For many consumers, purchasing a product is about more than just the product itself. Consumer demands continually grow as they prefer faster and higher quality customer service from brands. That’s why many businesses today are choosing to implement a more effective online customer service experience strategy. eCommerce businesses are ramping up their digital customer service to make sure their customers keep coming back to them instead of exploring other options.

How to Improve Your eCommerce Customer Service Strategy

Online shoppers want instant replies and easy answers. eTailers that are catering to their customers in these ways will benefit from consistently refining their service, sales, and marketing communication strategies. Five common ways to improve eCommerce customer service include the use of the following communication channels and automation.

1. Text Messaging

Text messaging for customer service is fast and convenient making it easy for eCommerce companies to connect with consumers to assist in shopping cart conversions and follow-up with pertinent order information. This shopper-friendly channel allows consumers to be on-the-go, and in this busy world, text messaging has become the channel of choice for receiving information, solving problems, and answering urgent questions.

Consumers prefer text messaging because they are able to start the messaging conversation while on a mobile eCommerce site and finish them at their convenience while moving about in their normal life. Imagine an online shopper sending a message to a brand requesting help getting the details of their online shopping cart correct, but then needing to get on with their busy day.  The agent could build and confirm the order and send a link back to the consumer via SMS.  The consumer can then click the link that would send them to a secure mobile web page where they can confirm the contents of their shopping cart and complete the purchase securely.  

An asynchronous conversation like this allows for eCommerce businesses to move at the speed and cadence of their customers, making for better customer experiences and more modern shopping experiences.

2. Web Chat

When it comes to eCommerce and enabling customers with a fast and easy way to get in touch, web chat is the most obvious choice. Customers on your website may have a multitude of options for finding answers, like an FAQ page, sending an email, or calling, but none help customers as fast as the omnipresent option of web chat, typically presented in the lower right corner of your website. 

Online shoppers expect fast answers when they are adding items to their shopping cart or in the process of completing a purchase, similar to when they are shopping in-store.  Without web chat, customers may save their purchase for another day, or find what they are looking for elsewhere altogether. This is why the messaging channel is a critical part of any eCommerce website to ensure customers find what they are looking for and are being helped at every point in the customer journey, from product recommendations to purchase confirmations, and being available for any follow-up questions.  Never miss a chance to answer customer questions or assist in a sale.

3. Social Media Messaging

The market for customer conversations has grown beyond websites and call centers to include social media platforms, which is why more than 90% of businesses today have some form of social media presence. Consumers have not limited themselves to engaging with and conversing about brands to only in-person interactions and are now expressing themselves in more amplified ways across platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

eCommerce companies can engage with their customers across these social media platforms to build advocacy and highlight their brand in the broader marketplace.  These platforms offer more opportunities to connect with consumers in direct messages to answer questions and be a part of the conversation. Consumers are becoming increasingly agnostic to where they expect brands to provide support, and social media is an example of where conversations are happening and where brands need to ensure they are part of them.

4. Outbound Messaging

Online retailers reap huge rewards by keeping their customers in-the-know.  A prime example is regarding order status. Customers feel better when they know what to expect, like if their package may be late or even to hear it’s arriving early.  Never miss an opportunity to delight customers.

Outbound text messaging is an incredibly effective way to communicate with consumers, particularly if you consider they are reading texts at a rate of 98%. With this much attention being paid to text messages, it becomes an great opportunity to entice them with upcoming specials or promotional codes.

The best solutions don’t stop at just sending outbound messages.  Businesses should also enable 2-way conversations so consumers can respond and have agents or bots standing by to help answer any questions.

5. Chatbots

Retailers and eCommerce companies are increasingly leaning on the efficiency and cost savings that chatbots provide.  Chatbots are always available to answer pre- or post-sales questions, assist shoppers with their selections, provide order and shipping information, and answer common questions.  

Chatbots are truly revolutionizing eCommerce to encourage more sales and are becoming a key part of customer service strategies to improve customer satisfaction. Research indicates that the chatbot market will grow to 9.4 billion by 2024 at a growth rate of almost 30%, which means it’s predicted to become mainstream in the coming years.

Chatbots are increasingly important for companies with high volumes of traffic to be able to deflect questions that can be answered with an automated response, to resolve issues more quickly. This is critical in assisting agents and routing the most high-value conversations from consumers for extra-special customer care.

Contact Us for a Demo

You can improve eCommerce customer service for your business in a number of ways, from implementing business messaging software to including automation with bots into your customer service strategy. Whatever your company’s goals, Quiq is here to help you find the ultimate online customer service solution. Contact us today to request a demo.

3 Benefits of Instant Messaging Customer Service to Help Your Business

With the abundance of technology available to companies that promise to streamline processes, increase productivity, and reduce costs within the contact center, why do so many companies choose to invest in instant messaging customer service? The answer is simple. Instant messaging for customer service accomplishes all three of these things plus it’s easy to implement.

The main reason most companies turn to instant messaging for customer service is to provide their customers with a better experience, but there are other, less obvious, benefits that instant messaging provides. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at instant messaging for customer service and why more companies are turning to this method of communication to achieve more than better conversations with their customers.

What is Instant Messaging

Instant messaging is a type of communication that allows two or more people to transfer text in real time over an internet or cellular connection. It’s a great way for shoppers and service representatives to correspond quickly with short, deliberate messages. Unlike other communication types, instant messaging apps help consumers receive answers in seconds without having to meet in person or speak over the phone.

At the turn of the century, people used instant messaging platforms such as AOL Instant Messaging (AOL) to transfer information. IM is the standard for casual communication everywhere today, although the practice has only been mainstream in public society since the 1990s.

Today’s technology lets people send shorter, more personal messages that are easy to read and digest. Also known as text messaging or business messaging, this mode of communication is quickly becoming the norm for sales teams and customer service agents.

The Benefits of Instant Messaging for Customer Service

The way we communicate has evolved and instant messaging has emerged at the top of the food chain. In fact, “4 out of 5 consumers send mobile messages at least daily, while nearly half also use Facebook Messenger and a further third use other messaging apps daily.” (Customer Preference for Messaging, Market Strategies International)

The high adoption of messaging makes it an obvious choice for consumers to reach businesses. Using instant messaging for customer service has been a no-brainer for consumers for a while. Customers who seek to use the same fast, easy, and convenient way to contact companies, as they use to contact family and friends, have been trying to engage via instant messaging for some time. Companies, while quickly adopting the practice, have taken longer to realize their customers preference for instant messaging. Here are three benefits of instant messaging for customer service to help your business that you should prompt you to act right away:

1. Streamline processes

Agent labor is the biggest expense for a contact center, therefore time efficiency is one of the biggest challenges. Requiring agents to do things like cut and paste information from one system to another, gather simple information before receiving a call, or answer basic questions that could be handled without the help of a live conversation, are tasks that can be avoided.

Quiq Messaging has features that help contact centers reduce “time wasters” such as these. Here are a few common scenarios you’ll find in a contact center and how instant messaging can streamline the processes:

  • Gathering basic information
    • Quiq’s web chat has the ability to present your customer with a short form to gather information like name, order number or email. Before the agent even accepts the call they are armed with information to search your internal database and gather valuable customer information. Quiq Messaging has the ability to integrate with a CRM system so that your agent can view customer information alongside the conversation with the customer to provide a better customer experience.
  • Answering common questions
    • Agents can avoid the task of repeatedly typing out your return policy or performing a copy/paste to share the terms of your guarantee. Commonly asked questions can be easily answered through pre-built snippets. This feature allows Quiq clients to store answers to frequently asked questions that agents can access with a few short keystrokes.
  • Scheduling an appointment
    • Quiq’s Messaging platform enables agents to automatically send a list of available time slots that customers can pick from with a quick tap. This feature saves our clients the tedious back and forth usually required when trying to coordinate things like delivery times or service appointments.
  • Understanding what the customer is trying to describe
    • Quiq clients have found that customers can easily send videos and images to better explain their issue since consumers are able to quickly take a photo, screenshot or video with their phone or tablet and attach during the conversation. This feature has helped reduce handle time since agents can see what the customers see and are better equipped to assist the customer to resolution.

2. Increase the productivity of your agents

In addition to streamlining processes that allow your agents to accomplish tasks more quickly, messaging enables your agents to do more tasks. No hocus pocus or smoke and mirrors here. The asynchronous nature of messaging is the magic ingredient to this boost in productivity.

Asynchronous means that your customers can communicate intermittently, as their time permits. It also means that they can shoot off a text to check on an order or schedule an appointment while they are at their kid’s soccer game without missing a single play.

The customer’s pause in conversations presents agents the opportunity to receive and respond to multiple conversations at one time, often handling 6-10 conversations at once, without sacrificing the customer’s experience. In fact, it enhances the customer’s experience because the customer is able to tick that “call” off of their to-do list without disrupting their day.

Instant messaging also enables more efficient team communication, as it allows agents to message back and forth when they need to relay important information. Instead of having to make dozens of phone calls or emails, they can reach each other in seconds with instant messaging systems.

3. Reduce costs

We’ve talked about two benefits of instant messaging for customer service that really focus on saving time within a contact center. The old adage “time is money” hasn’t stuck as a universal truism just because it’s short and catchy.

Phone calls can cost $3-4/call and as high as $12/call regardless of how simple or complex the customer’s question is. In contrast to expensive phone calls, where agents can only handle 1 call at a time, agents can handle multiple messaging conversations at once, reducing work time and costs within the contact center. Quiq clients have been able to reduce work time by at least 35% compared to using phone and email to answer the same customer inquiries.

4. Gain a cohesive instant messaging system

Instant messaging mobile apps and software programs provide a cohesive, streamlined way to reach a wider audience. Quiq supports SMS, online, and social media communication, and its messages allow retailers to update consumers across several different platforms.

Instant messaging is a great way to answer questions, send alerts, provide technical support, and schedule services using a single mode of communication. Messaging allows consumers to interact with retailers directly from their phones, and agents can reduce their workload with advanced technology.

Because it’s so fast and easy, team communication through instant messaging is more sustainable than traditional correspondence methods. Today’s consumers want answers immediately and they want to find them quickly. Mobile phone communication offers both convenience and speed, which makes it a scalable option for many retailers. It helps them meet more demands without forcing them to devote additional time and resources to interruptions. The process is simpler, and customer service representatives can automate certain responses for better service and efficiency.

5. Better serve consumers

People love having access to resources that deliver fast results, and that’s exactly what instant messaging provides. With message platforms, retailer agents can increase job performance and serve more shoppers at one time. The faster a customer receives the answer they’re looking for, the more likely they are to buy the product that catches their interest.

Consumers are fickle, and it’s important to find new ways to keep them engaged. With analytical insights and archive keeping, leaders can monitor performance and create more effective improvement plans. Instant messaging apps are also effective for helping retailers collect feedback on new strategies and policies. Surveys and post-purchase questions allow instant messaging service agents to determine customer satisfaction.

These platforms may also come with a variety of features such as multi-language support, group chat options, and automated bots. Instant messaging breaks down communication barriers between retailers and consumers while providing solutions that can generate accurate answers to simple questions within seconds.

Evolve the Way You Communicate With Consumers

Instant messaging has evolved into the preferred method of communication for consumers. This shift in consumer behavior means there’s an opportunity for companies to leverage this channel to streamline processes, improve agent productivity, and reduce costs.

A growing number of companies have realized these benefits within their contact center because they partnered with Quiq Messaging to better engage with their customers. If you’re ready to learn how you can realize these benefits, text or chat with us today.

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Black Hills Federal Credit Union: Serving Members Goes Mobile

John Buxton - QuoteBlack Hills Federal Credit Union (BHFCU) is proud to be a part of the community they serve. They help members who are spread out across SouthDakota buy their first home, their first car, that second home, and even start businesses.

They know that no two members are alike, but they’re also certain that there’s some common ground for all of their 75,000 members.The need for convenient and secure ways to engage with the credit union was one thing all members wanted.

Free online bill payment, mobile check deposits, and Apple Pay are a few of the ways the credit union has made managing money from anywhere possible. Now messaging is part of that list of digital conveniences helping BHFCU live up to their mission of “We Improve Lives”.

Why Black Hills Federal Credit Union Chose Messaging

John Buxton - Quote

BHFCU wanted to provide a communication channel that members preferred. Text messaging was an obvious choice since mobile banking has grown steadily over the years. Statista reports that over three quarters of Americans used a mobile device the last time they checked their account balance. Since text messages also have a 98% open rate and a 209% higher response rate than traditional methods of engagement like phone and email, the messaging channel held the promise of reaching members with higher success rates since many frequently wouldn’t answer calls from the credit union or see an email as quickly.

Prior to working with Quiq, BHFCU handled questions ranging from balance inquiries, transaction info, name changes, adding joint members, disputes, and general account questions through phone, email, and social media platforms. Working with Quiq provided a way to not only add chat and text messaging, but enabled employees to gain efficiency by consolidating channels into a single platform.

Going Live With Messaging

John Buxton - Implementation was super smoothThe team at Black Hills decided to take things slowly to get a feel of the new channel and implemented Quiq for inbound texts only. Getting started with Quiq was straightforward and happened quickly. In the words of SVP/CIO John Buxton, “Implementation was super smooth.” The credit union has since added web chat, outbound messaging, and integrated messaging with their IVR system.

Contact center agents were provided hands-on training and practiced texting with each other before going live. Black Hills used their member newsletter, Facebook, email, and website notifications to promote messaging to their members.

There are currently 35 total employees using Quiq. The credit union has approximately 18 contact center agents, with one agent solely dedicated to handling chats and texts, in addition to employees in the mortgage lending and card services departments. The team plans to continue adding users and are focusing on collections and consumer lending next.

Improving The Member And Employee Experience

Members have eagerly adopted messaging. Not only has it made banking with Black Hills Credit Union more convenient, it also saves them time and money. The credit union doesn’t have to charge members any fees to get help on the messaging channel. Many members text to receive their balances or to initiate transfers for free with just a few taps on their phone.

The Black Hills team has been surprised how many members have become regulars to the messaging channel and the overall response rate they’ve seen. When reaching out to update addresses, agents offered text as an option with higher than average responses. “I feel like many of those people wouldn’t have called back or responded to a letter. The text was easy for them, and it worked well.  I thought that was awesome!” says John.

Chat forms to be filled out shown on a phone

What’s Next For Messaging At Black Hills Federal Credit Union

The popularity of the channel among agents has Black Hills FCU taking a look at how to more evenly distribute the messages among agents. Currently, the team is using a round robin system, but feels they could improve that process so that more agents have the chance to handle text inquiries.

Black Hills credit union

BHFCU sees a plethora of opportunities to use Quiq in the future. BHFCU developers recently utilized the APIs to create a secure authentication snippet to identify members with a pre-existing password that is stored on the core banking system. Future releases will add more options integrated with other systems, such as online banking credentials.

This summer, the credit union will also build extensibility with an enterprise preference management system to retrieve and maintain opt-ins required by TCPA.  By end of the year, the team is planning to create bot-based workflows to manage common inquiries from members.  Having authentication capabilities in place will allow the credit union to potentially realize additional cost savings.

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Northwest Community Credit Union Blazes New Trail With Messaging

Lines wrapped around branch locations that were three lanes deep and 45 minute wait times on the phone. That’s what 108,000 members at Oregon-based Northwest Community Credit Union experienced after branches closed due to COVID-19. Messaging instantly became a valuable channel that enabled members to get a response in 1.5 minutes or less.

Even before the pandemic, the team at NWCU knew that messaging was their next frontier.  Members had started to request the ability to communicate with their loan officers via text. The team set their focus on making engagement more convenient for members on their preferred channel.

Messaging Was The Silver Lining

Northwest Community partnered with Quiq in Feb of 2020 with plans to start with outbound messaging for the member solutions and lending teams in early 2020. That was before COVID-19 required the 14-branch credit union to evacuate buildings and close branches. The challenges imposed by the pandemic drastically changed the roadmap, shortening implementation to days instead of months, and reshuffling priorities. 

When the team went live with Quiq in the first week of April, 2020, the world was well into the pandemic. The contact center was overwhelmed with flooded phone lines and crowded inboxes. Instead of introducing another channel to the contact center, NWCU pulled together a team composed of branch employees to manage messaging. 

The intuitive nature of texting and Quiq’s interface made employee training easy, providing the flexibility the organization needed during the staffing turmoil of the pandemic. “The beauty is that it’s so easy we’ve been able to have employees from all over the organization, including many employees who have never talked to members, using the channel, supporting them, and it’s just been seamless, so that’s been really great. It’s been the silver lining in rolling out something in the midst of COVID.” says April Cooper, Director of Digital Experience at Northwest Community Credit Union.

When a live chat is initiated, members are greeted by a chatbot, which presents a menu of topics members are most interested. Options, such as branch availability, scheduling appointments with a branch, processing a skip payment, checking the status of stimulus checks or Payment Protection Program loans, provide members the information they need without having to call in or speak to a human.

Increased Productivity and Beyond With Business Messaging 

Northwest Community acknowledges that they’re still pretty new with the channel but considers it a success. Not only were they able to roll out the channel quickly and include a bot, members love it, and the credit union has seen immediate efficiencies. In fact, 1 agent is handling the same number of messaging conversations as 3 FTEs would handle over the phone.

Normally human agents handle as many as 1500 to 1800 calls a month or 60 to 80 calls a day. With messaging, 1 agent is handling conversation volumes comparable to 3 phone agents.

“Implementing messaging was a real moral boost for us” says April. “ It gave all of us a chance to say, ‘Yes we’re in this. We’re closing our branches, but look at what we have to support you.’” April says that managing the messaging channel has now become a coveted position in the contact center as employees prefer the channel over the phone.

Match Your Members Changing Needs With Bots

As branches start to open, the information that members need will change. When they do, NWCU employees will be able to quickly and easily update the bot to reflect those needs within Quiq’s bot designer. The credit union has already had some experience with this.

Shortly after opening the messaging channel, the credit union began to receive hundreds of inquiries about the status of stimulus checks through the messaging channel. Due to some Goggle tagging, the credit union had become the top search result for a lot of non-members across the country who had questions on their stimulus check, not realizing they were contacting a credit union in Oregon.

Thankfully, the credit union was able to quickly insert logic into the bot to filter out those conversations. If the visitor chooses “Stimulus Check” from the menu of options, they are now asked if they are a member or not. If not, they are redirected to the IRS website. The credit union happily saw a 50% drop in these inadvertent messages after implementing this change. April says, “We’re able to learn on the fly and update our bot. Right now, our bot is still pretty simple, but this just shows how you can iterate and add additional layers of logic.

What’s next

Northwest Community still has a lot of plans for the messaging channel in the near future. Their first priority is to move management of the channel from the team of branch employees to the contact center and to entrust that team to monitor and measure the channel.

Soon, the collection team will use text messaging for payment reminders and enable the credit union to move away from the calls the contact center team would make to notify members when their payment was 10 days late. The team also plans to embed a secure link  in the text so that members can get the information they need and take action to securely a payment.

In the future, expect to see the Northwest Community Credit Union leverage messaging to make banking more convenient for members with features like integration with their IVR so members can dynamically shift to a text message instead of waiting on hold. Plans are in place to roll the channel out to the lending team who will use messaging to schedule loan signing appointments or document collection notices.

The credit union is proud to say that “‘Uncommon’ is a way of life for Northwest Community Credit Union”. Lucky for the employees and members that they’ve taken an uncommon way to serve their members and community with messaging that helps everyone thrive.

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