Do you see the use of chat growing as you see the growth of the online channel?
Yes, definitely. And so we’re using chat obviously through our main website services but we’ll also be using through our mobile-optimized services, and we will probably introduce chat to our interactive TV help area where it will work in exactly the same way. We love it because it does both of those jobs.
It helps customers in an emotional way, and it makes me feel the experience is more engaging and more human, and very practically it helps us to see which areas of our service and our self-service we can make better. And we really mind the analytics to really read all of the chat streams and then suck out the analysis from the chat stream.
It can tell us very quickly how people feel about things, what’s working, what’s not working and what we need to do next to make the whole experience better. So we are ramping up the use of chat quite significantly all the way across our service domain as well as using it to help customers buy products from us in the first place.
Can you talk about how live chat helps even to boost sales?
We’ve been working with chat in the sales area for the past five years, and what that does, again, it really serves the purpose to help customers feel confident about which package or which options they choose.
So, we tend to find that people who might just need a little bit of help to understand the different options or a little bit of help to work out what’s the best deal or the best price for them, if they chat to an agent the agent can give them more personal advice, the agent can also then pre-populate their shopping basket and pop it back to the customer so all the customer has to do is click accept and read the terms of conditions.
We have proven time and time again, year after year, that we get an uplift against our normal run rate of sales, which makes it an obvious business case for continued investment .
Would you recommend as an important part of the online strategy for all businesses?
Well, I think it’s a great opportunity for businesses, and so I’ll speak to the UK market. We know that customers, all of us, increasingly are more trusting and turning to and using the e- channel. We also know that actually there a quite a lot of things, particularly more complicated or different or new things where customers really like to, in a vertical mode, just talk to a person to reassure them that what they’re doing is the right thing.
Lots and lots of people say they are happy to come and browse and look for things online and research and they might go almost all the way, but actually they’d love for just a person to give them that extra bit of security at the end.
Putting human beings, rather than making that bail out to the call center which has been the only route for a lot of customers to talk to a real person, live chat allows you to put that person inside the online experience, and therefore keep the customer online, get them completely fulfilled and happy and have the experience that they got what they wanted by coming online.
That means they’re more likely to come back next time, and less likely to phone your call center. I think it’s much more efficient, effective and brilliant experience for customers to take real human beings and put them inside your e-experience versus separating them from your e-experience and causing customers to have to drop out of one and move to another.
It’s much smoother for the customer. And we know it responds to a human need that human beings have to connect with human beings. I think that’s part of that bigger social trend on “E” as well, where people are using computers to connect with each other. And they’re using them to connect to companies, you know straight through live chat is an example, but also to each other.
Embracing getting other customers and experts from your own business in contact through the e-experience I think is a really massive opportunity for a richer online experience. And it encourages people to come there and be more self-sufficient.
Finally, are there any changes in store for BSkyB which will help with online sales conversion?
Well, yes, we are constantly improving our, anything to do with our online buying experience. We have very recently changed how we present all of our products, offers and bundles, and to try to make that clearer.
We’re trying to make the buying process ever more simple, ever more obvious, so customers have more confidence in being able to do the whole thing themselves. So we’ve literally just redone our shop, our storefront, we have a continuous cycle of improvements dropping in over the next few months to make our shopping basket and our checkout process quicker.
We’re really in a cycle of just continuous improvement, trying to make conversion just better and better, and we keep live chat running down the side of this at all times to tell us how well we’re doing and what things can be changed for the better.