Today's post comes to us from Hannah at TRULY who wrote in to tell us how a particularly busy holiday shopping season caused their team to rethink their live chat experience and improve their customer experience.
At TRULY, we specialize in creating unique experiences including whisky tastings, private art tours, and espionage experiences.
But six months ago, when we analyzed the data we were collecting from live chat, we were surprised to see some concrete patterns we could use to improve the experience on our website.
Based on that data, we’ve been able to collect actionable insights to make site changes (and hence improve the customer experience), to involve all team members in customer interactions, and to improve customer service.
Here's how we did it:
Our live chat revelation
When we originally placed live chat on our site, it was basic, but it was working well enough. We were receiving at most 5-10 chats a day.
We had one member of our concierge team answering queries. We also required customers complete an email field before they could begin chatting for two reasons: so we could follow-up with answers to questions requiring more than a few minutes to source; and so we could send written confirmation to visitors who requested this from the chat transcript.
Last holiday shopping season was a revelation.
We’re a seasonal business so we see a large portion of our sales around Christmas, but supporting those sales lasts well into the new year. Customers who receive our experiences as gifts over the Christmas period are likely to redeem their experience in Q1 of the following year. There was also an influx of customers who bought over the Christmas period wanting to buy again, and completely new customers inspired by their friends and family members who received TRULY gifts over Christmas.
This particularly busy period pushed us to have all teams pitch in to help on live chat (more on that in a bit), and it gave us a wealth of new data.
So our marketing department decided to try to put some hard numbers to visitors’ most frequently asked questions, which we could then use to diagnose key anxieties and gather actionable insights to improve user experience on the site.
Upping live chat volume
The first step was to start gathering as much data on customer queries as possible.
We decided to allow visitors to access chat without inputting an email address. We hypothesized that asking for less information from visitors would increase the number of chats we received. Given our current use cases for the collected support emails, we figured if we removed this feature visitors would still provide their emails directly in chat where applicable.
After this change our daily chats increased by over 50%, allowing us to connect with more visitors, to learn more about our user experience, and to generate more leads.
Digging into the data
Doing a bit of digging through nearly a year of transcript data we found that people on chat were usually looking for two things: experience recommendations; or checking availability for a specific experience prior to purchase.
We were already using live chat to provide visitors with experience recommendations, but we didn't have a solution yet for availability requests.
So we added a live chat widget on our product pages where visitors can submit a request for the date they’d like to book. This allowed us to quickly inform them whether a requested date is available or not.
This small change allowed started generating more leads for us, which resulted in an 25-35 percent increase in sales and site conversion rates, depending on the experience being requested.
All Hands Support
As I mentioned before, the Christmas gifting rush pushed us to get all teams helping on live chat.
This measure, initially implemented just for the busy period, proved an invaluable education for all our teams - facilitating customer interaction and improving customer understanding. Our marketing team and copywriters have been able to use these experiences to preemptively address customer concerns and develop the tone of their writing accordingly.
Further, our merchandising team (the team responsible for sourcing the experiences) better understands customer requests (e.g. are they looking to give a gift, what are their / their recipients’ interests, budget) and take these into account when sourcing new partners and experiences.
We've also been able to improve customer service. With the removal of the email field in chat we’ve reduced friction by allowing visitors easier access to support and our concierge. With more than twice as many team members contributing their time to talking with customers, we’ve reduced chat first response time by 10-20%.
Given the customer centric and data driven nature of TRULY, we collect fairly extensive feedback on our customer interactions. It's been great to see customers providing positive feedback about the assistance they receive on live chat - both from the concierge team as well as other team members.
Here’s what customers have to say about live chat:
"I had difficulties processing a payment online since I live in a country that is not serviced by PayPal. I used the chat function to ask for help. I received an immediate response from "Ben" who asked his colleague "Charlotte" to call me on my non-UK phone number. Less than two minutes later I am on the phone with "Charlotte" who took my slightly complicated details to process the payment via a different method." - Kaisser
"Website was full of interesting gifts covering a good range of prices, was rather spoilt for choice but the online chat was fantastic and helped me find the perfect gift." - Heather
"Have to also mention - I had a really nice time choosing the gift whilst someone at the concierge was giving me suggestions at the online chat; she was very nice and helpful and it's almost 12am here in London - I didn’t expect someone would be around to help me!" - Renee
Everyone in the TRULY team has a much better understanding of our customers, which in turn has helped inform and guide better business decisions across the board.
Now, with a working process of generating leads, we can turn our attention to optimizing this process.
All these changes and improvements would not have been possible without actively managing our live chat feature. Next time you hit a busy period, take time to review your data - you might be surprised what you discover.