Do you feel we get a better quality of sales using chat versus other methods? Rob LoCascio: There’s two metrics that we see. One is that about 25 per cent of the people who chat will turn into a sale. The normal conversion rate on a website is about one per cent. So you know one per cent of people who visit a website will turn into a sale but 25 percent who engage in a chat will turn into a sale , so it has significant impact. The other thing is customer satisfaction on average, about 88, 90 percent of the people have a very high rating of customer satisfaction when using chat. You know a lot of it has to do with the fact that consumers are shopping, transacting online, during the day while they’re at work, so chat allows them to multitask. And that’s one of the benefits of communicating like this online.
Apart from increased sales can you talk me through some of the other reasons why companies should be focusing on live digital engagements? Rob LoCascio: Well I think you know there’s a couple of dynamics that are happening in the world right now — there’s a macro trend, which is there’s a much younger consumer out there that doesn’t know to pick up the phone and only knows how to message. And these consumers are buying and they’re not calling telephone numbers. They don’t even know what e-mail is so all they know is messaging. Even an older consumer is messaging ‘cause they know that’s how they need to communicate with their kids. I mean there’s more messaging happening in the world than there is voice calls on telephone networks. So I think that’s a huge reason to start driving more digital connections.
Talking about the connection between customers, how do you think firms will be able to drive change through having such a connection with their customers?Rob LoCascio: Well you know I mean the interesting thing is today we live in a very interesting world which that, the customer relationship has become transaction based where in the past it was very much about the relationship. It was very localised. So when I grew up we’d go to the local bank and my parents knew all the people in the bank who worked there and I had my little passbook and I would save money. And there was this real relationship. Today it’s all transaction based. Getting a mortgage is a transaction, buying a car is a transaction, buying clothes is transaction. You know buying a funeral plot is a transaction. I mean all of life’s good and bad events are transactions. If you can connect with your consumers on a much deeper level, and I think part of it is digital, has driven this very transactional thing because we can’t see our consumers. They don’t see us. They’re not in our stores all the time. But I actually think we have such an ability to connect with our consumers and our customers all the time. And that’s what this technology allows a brand to do is keep that real-time connection at all times with the consumer.
Bearing in mind what you just said, what do you feel would be the greatest customer engagement trend this year? Is it digital adoption or you know, can you talk me through that?Rob LoCascio: I believe in mobile. I know everyone talks about mobile but I think mobile us an unchartered territory where there’s no real owners of the platform. Google, Amazon, they don’t own the mobile space right now, so the possibilities are endless. We are focused on really creating a different experience so that someone on their device can feel connected to a brand at all times, wherever they are. By Shané Schutte
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