On a recent trip to Manila I visited one of our call centres servicing our travel clients. When I headed out onto the floor what struck me immediately was the lack of talking. There were no conversations with customers and no general noise you associate with a contact centre floor. Instead, the soundtrack was the sound of hundreds of people busily typing away.
This was the first time I had experienced the silent call centre, and it made me smile. Why? Because it showed me that we had been successful in migrating millions of voice calls to web chat through a series of digital transformation activities — bringing major benefits for Stellar and to our clients.
Many businesses have a focus of ‘digital transformation’, but the ‘why’ behind this change is often ignored. Driving customers to digital channels has many benefits for customers and business, but these need to be properly considered and carefully implemented. Just saying “we want to be more digital” doesn’t equate to business benefits and an ROI. It’s jumping on board a new trend for the sake of being trendy. This is the last thing we wanted to do with our clients, and I believe we were successful because we focused on the following five drivers.
The five advantages of a silent call centre
1. Customers like it
Digital consumers prefer digital channels and web chat has been proven to be one of the most popular mediums for customers to communicate with companies. We consistently see higher NPS rates on chat than on voice. For an energy client where the phone NPS usually sat around the 20 mark, on chat we were seeing NPS results of 60+ for the same interaction types. Customers prefer chat and they will thank you for offering it.
2. Higher online conversion rates
It seems that customers are more willing to buy when chatting. Our experience shows us that chat allows you to capture more sales from website traffic, engaging people at the right time in the sales funnel to prevent customers dropping out of the process – people really let their fingers do the talking. The chance to assist a customer through a sale leads to a higher average order value and reduces the likelihood that a customer will abandon their cart. Also, compared to voice channels we see a lower cost of sale meaning a double win for your business.
3. It’s more cost effective
The beauty of chat is the ability to service more than one customer at a time. With concurrency you can successfully help and assist up to five customers at any one time, resulting in a lower cost-per-transaction than voice channels.
4. Happier agents
It’s not just customers who prefer chat, so do our agents. Our retention rate on chat programs is close to 100% — our people love working in this medium. With the rise in the digital employee and millennials entering the workforce, asking them to talk on the phone may seem alien to them. So instead, ask them to chat and you’ll see them sticking around a lot longer.
5. It gets your automation journey started
Chat provides the ability to automate simple interactions from the call centre. With the rise in bots and virtual assistants you can automate more of your customer interactions: leaving the fun and meaningful conversations to your chat agents.
So, if you’re not doing chat now, you really should be thinking of starting soon. It’s a cheaper platform your customers prefer. If you’re still nervous about introducing a new channel into your existing mix, we start many of our clients with a proof of concept to test their customers’ acceptance of the channel. We have successfully ran standalone proof of concepts with some major brands which have become large scale chat implementations.