Blog

Live chat for starters (part 1/7)

This 7 part-series 'Chat smarter with your customers' is an update of my earlier written guide Chatiquette.
You can find many tips and trics how to gain and retain customers and learn the best practises of using live chat.

Want to know more about how to use messengers like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger? Learn best practises about using messengers with your customers Download the ebook.

Part 1: Live chat for beginners

The biggest mistake companies make is thinking that they don't need live chat. Of course they don't 'need' no chat. We've lived without Email for centuries. We survived; it all worked fine with regular mail. Nothing wrong with a little patience! And when the fax machine made its appearance, many eyebrows frown took the position. What is new, creates fear. Because novelties were not there first, and if it ain't broke, why fix it?

Well, maybe because good novelties make the world a bit more productive and fun than before. There is no self-respecting Western company that nowadays can not be reached via e-mail. With this channel lap the number of customer inquiries height in: sending an email is free, easy and relatively accessible for the customer. But customers who want a straight answer, and do not want to have ten minutes to hang the line before an operator (e) to the line krij- gene respite with the latest trend: chat.

Well, new ... Chat existed before the Internet was in the sixties. Chatting went there when very cumbersome to it: it was only when the computer is off made of a network. Servers they had trouble yet. You had the address of each mega computer knowledge sources, otherwise your machine did not know where the message should go. Of 'ff chat' was still far from there.

In the late eighties chat took off: in 1988 the first IRC (Internet Relay Chat) client and server has been developed. The invention appears to be in the name of Jarkko Oikarinen, a Finn who was attached to the Finnish university of Oulu. The Finns coupled the IRC network to the local network, which in turn was linked to other local networks. From that moment IRC was part of a long-distance network, which then Arkanet called - the "Inter (between) Networks - what we now know as the Internet. By 1990, the weighting reld counted some 40 IRC servers.

However, it took years before the first true 'instant messaging service' was born. it was finally in 1996 that: the technology Mira- awareness in Israel launched ICQ ( "I seek you 'or' I seek you"). On the ICQ website is why: "[The four young founders] have Realized That people were connected to the Internet, but not interconnected. Instant messaging was the missing link, a Technology that made peer-to-peer communication possible. "

Those who downloaded the free program, and could chat directly with other ICQ'ers. A smart move, because ICQ'ers who wanted to chat with friends, had to exhort them to install the program. This form of viral marketing, the company grew rapidly. Barely two years Mirabilis was later acquired by US giant AOL. Other providers sequence den a few years later, such as MSN Messenger (now known as Windows Live Messenger).

Anno 2009 is chatting so ingrained that even the most well-known chess-playing and writing over sixty, Tim bé crab, media herhaardelijk tells about the happy fact that he communicates via live web chat with his son living in Japan. And that's saying something.

In the United States, live chat business has already developed into a serious sales and service tool. With the emphasis on tool: chat is a tool, a tool that is used as an additional communication channel in the B2C market. Even the Dutch B2B market starts chat to deploy as customers binder.

Example? MSA IT is one of the oldest independent ICT service providers in the Netherlands, let her key account managers to chat with their main (B2B!) Customers. Once a company known for the customer Mega Sellers. nl (part of MSA-ICT) is the accountmana- ger of this particular customer receives an alert that the customer is online, after which he can invite these proactive to discuss the latest situation through live web chat. Chat is therefore more than supplement: MSA-ICT shows that there are also devise new touch applications.

The benefits of live web chat at a glance:

For the customers live webchat a direct, personal and accessible way to get answers to their questions. They are already on the website, and with the chat button, the answer is just one click away.

For the customers it is convenient to chat without others noticing. Today, consumers can even ask questions of their office about botox and breast enlargements: they can chat via Kliniekoverzicht.nl with plastic surgeons. No colleague who can listen!

Customers abroad? With instant they have free contact with you. 0800 and 0900 numbers do not work across borders.

Both customers and call center employees with a hearing disability to communicate well through live web chat. Deaf and sign language interpreters can chat since early 2009 with Team Deaf Interpreters Menzis. The health insurer hope live webchat will replace the old text telephone in due course.

The call center employee can combine a chat conversation with another chat application or an email. With chat so you can work efficiently.

In the future, we will see that instant email will displace. There are multinationals that already indicate chat preferable in the long run over emails. Many companies struggle with overflowing mailboxes, so they do not always respond quickly enough. If customers start calling after, create a channel conflict: their emails are however still in the mail queue when their question has been answered. That conflict Wil- len companies overcome by using chat intensive.

In the search for a good chat application you will see that there are a lot of free variants, such as Google Talk and Yahoo Messenger. Worse, these ap- plications not, and for individuals they meet just fine. But for call centers they are suitable on the one hand a free application can chat request is not routed to the appropriate employees cancer, and the other a visitor who wants to chat from his workplace with a live advice desk is very likely to be blocked by his company. Can chat at work, which must be aware, and the stream of the free chat applications are often at system level known and are based on the company policy blocked. A good chat application circumvents this problem.

Prices vary. Do you have a small shop, you need to make any major investments. Thirty per month and you're there. But larger companies chats want to store safely. Chat can be used as evidence in disputes and shall be valid bewijsmateri- material at trial. Data storage and security are for larger companies so important, but They wanted cells also can block temporary visitors (the so-called IP-blocking). And they often need extensive reporting, integrated comparison testing (A / B testing), performance analysis, and above all, the guarantee of consistent availability. They want to ensure that their chat provider is not up once declared bankrupt, making it their own customers and employees - who were already accustomed to the chat function - to disappoint. Larger companies with a few bucks a month so far done.

First let anyway perform a quick scan to determine whether chat anyway adds to your current customer contact channels. For chat is fine and dandy, but also eats FTEs because it is a one-to-one channel. Think objectives: if you want a higher conversation rate of looking at purchase gain, reduce the number of dropouts, better service to offer can give personal advice or an online customer? Then it is entering chat
a good idea. But do not just happen.

Wat de klant wil: Appen met je bedrijf

Zojuist verschenen: ‘Appen met je klanten’, een gids over klantenservice via WhatsApp en Messenger

SAMENVATTING
Het tijdperk van de ideale klantcommunicatie is aangebroken, zo heeft het succes van WhatsApp en Facebook Messenger (samen ruim 2 miljard gebruikers) bewezen. Vergeet Facebook, Twitter en andere social media even: de sleutel naar het hart van de klant ligt in één-op-één communicatie. Zojuist verschenen: ‘Appen met je klanten’, de eerste gids over zakelijk appen.


De komst van WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger en binnenkort wellicht ook WeChat, is een zegen voor bedrijven. Slimme ondernemers en klantenservice-afdelingen kunnen nu via een chatapp een band opbouwen met iedereen die dat op prijs stelt. Mits professioneel ingezet, kunnen chatapps die band enorm versterken: klanten blijken zeer tevreden te zijn over klantenservice via WhatsApp.

Dat valt terug te zien in de cijfers, bijvoorbeeld bij T-mobile, waar de klanttevredenheid met 50% omhoog schoot tijdens een intensieve WhatsApp-campagne. ‘Wij zagen de klanttevredenheid flink stijgen na contact met de klantenservice via WhatsApp, ' zegt Edouard Leeuwenburg, Manager eService & Knowledge Management bij T-Mobile. 'Consumenten blijken gevoeliger te zijn voor WhatsApp dan voor chat of e-mail.’

Chatapps zijn dus goud waard voor slimme bedrijven. Doe mee en zet je deuren open! Maar doe dat op een professionele manier, zoals beschreven in het tweede boek van Floris van der Veen, Appen met je klanten. Dit is het vervolg op zijn debuut, Chatiquette (over live chatten met je klanten, 2010).

WhatsApp en Facebook Messenger hebben de evolutie van klantenservice versneld: anno 2017 wil de klant bijna direct antwoord op zijn vragen, via het kanaal dat hij verkiest. Dus de boodschap is duidelijk: be where your customers are. Bedrijven die niet aanwezig zijn op Facebook, Twitter en/of Instagram, zijn zelden goed bezig, maar nog erger is het niet aanwezig zijn op WhatsApp en/of Facebook Messenger.

De auteur van de gids is zo’n 15 jaar actief in de wereld van klantenservice-software. Zijn gids laat zien wat wel en niet kan via WhatsApp en Facebook Messenger. In Appen met je klanten deelt hij tips, tricks, en de verhalen van 5 ondernemers met zakelijke WhatsApp-ervaring. En hoe verandert artificial intelligence onze toekomst? Appen met je klanten werkt. Ga het gesprek aan!

Facebook Messenger via Casengo: connect efficiently with customers

If you want to be where your customers are, your company can’t hide from personal messaging. And with the introduction of the Casengo Connector, there’s no reason to miss out on your customers’ favorite channel: Facebook Messenger.

With Casengo’s software, companies have been able to resolve their customer’s questions in a structured and scalable way through case management functionalities for email, chat and WhatsApp. “Now that Facebook Messenger is quickly gaining in popularity, it’s a logical addition to our platform,” says Floris van der Veen, Chief Happy Customers at Casengo. “Not only is Messenger a more stable channel compared to WhatsApp, it also offers more possibilities for companies."

Embracing Facebook Messenger as a customer service channel comes with many benefits:

  • The open rate - the percentage of receivers that open the message - is a staggering 97% for Messenger. In comparison: for a good email campaign that’s only 23%.
  • Messenger has 1 billion users and is growing fast. In the first half of 2016, the number of active users increased by 100 million every 3 months. If this trend continues, all your customers will be on this channel in no time. So ask yourself: can you as a company afford not to be on this channel?
  • Users love personal messaging apps (and hence Facebook Messenger). But that love isn’t restricted to their family and friends: almost everybody (95%) who was in contact with a company through a personal messaging app would like to do this more often. And research also shows that 65% of consumers would love to be able to send messages with customers.
  • As opposed to WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger has an open API that makes it easy to connect the platform to 3rd party software solutions. This stability makes Messenger a great customer service channel for companies with bigger customer service teams, who quickly run into the limits of the native applications.

With the Casengo connector for Facebook Messenger, companies (with or without multiple departments, brands or groups) can react to messages from email, chat, WhatsApp and - since today - Facebook Messenger from a team-inbox. In the upcoming months the Casengo team will continue to work on bulk message campaigns and chatbot functionalities to take Casengo’s customer engagement to the next level.

Why your company should use personal messaging apps and which app is best

With one look at your phone you can already tell that personal messaging apps are taking a central role in your daily life. Maybe even right before reading this, you asked your wife on WhatsApp what you’ll have for dinner or you reconnected with an old friend from high school through Facebook Messenger.

And you’re definitely not the only one. If these apps are so ubiquitous in people’s lives, we can clearly also use them to our advantage in our business. But what are these advantages and which are the best apps you can use? That’s what you’ll discover in this blogpost.

Reach more (potential) customers

Today there are more than 1.4 billion active users that use a personal messaging app. So the potential for using these channels in your customer support is already big. But it’s about to become even more interesting. By 2018, Series-A partners estimate that this will increase to 2.5 billion people worldwide. According to eMarketer, that translates to around 80% of all smartphone users.

So ask yourself: can you afford to not be present on the channels that you’re customers are using the most?

Increase your customer satisfaction

There’s a reason why so many people keep using messaging apps: they love them. It’s an easy way to stay up-to-date with their friends and to talk to them. But their love is not limited to their circle of friends. Also when interacting with companies the same love is felt.

Research by TNS Nipo, for example, found that 80% of people were very satisfied about their interaction with companies through a personal messenger. Other research showed that 95% of users would use personal messaging apps again with companies.

Which messaging app is the most popular?

The messaging landscape is widespread with many apps trying to win over the largest audience. And depending on which part of the world you’re in, you probably have a different combination of apps on your phone. But for your customer support, the most viable channels are those with the most active users.

There are two messaging apps that clearly have the upper hand: WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. FB Messenger announced in July 2016 that they’ve reached a billion users, a milestone WhatsApp reached five months earlier.

FB Messenger actually gained 100 million active users every three months, in the first half of 2016. In part, that’s because Facebook forces everyone to download Facebook Messenger, when they try to access their messages on a phone. So over time, the 1.7 Billion (and growing) Facebook users will all have Facebook Messenger installed.

Clearly they’re on a trajectory to outgrow WhatsApp very soon. And if we can believe the research of Global Web Index and OnDevice, they already comes out on top as the most popular messenger.

The geographical spread

With cultural and language differences, it’s no surprise that the most popular messaging apps differ for different countries. But in general, we see three patterns so far:

  • Western countries: The battle in this area is clearly on between FB Messenger and WhatsApp. In North America, Australia and the majority of European countries, we see that FB Messenger has taken over the lead. In the other countries, the split is reversed. But generally, they're head-to-head.

  • South America, Middle East & Africa: As opposed to Western countries, WhatsApp is still the strongest here. But make no mistake, FB Messenger is also gaining ground fast. For example, in the Middle East, WhatsApp and FB Messenger are being used almost to the same extent.

  • Asia: Asia is a bit of an exception in that there are a lot of local messaging apps (like WeChat, KakaoTalk and Zalo). That means that WhatsApp and FB Messenger are being used to a lesser extent.

So for your company that means that it really depends on where you’re customers are from. If you focus more on Western countries, then FB Messenger should probably get your preference.

The best app for customer support

With only one person resolving questions, WhatsApp and Facebook behave pretty much in a similar fashion. Their native applications get the job done perfectly. But as soon as you want more out of the messaging apps, a difference between the two quickly becomes apparent.

If you, for example, want to have multiple colleagues interact with customers on the platform, the native applications become less convenient (if not unworkable). So you’ll want to connect these channels to a third party customer support tool that allows different agents to resolve questions. But without an API, that isn’t possible. And so far, FB Messenger is the only one that supports an official API.

Yes, a WhatsApp is coming at some point. But we don’t expect it before the beginning of 2017. And yes, there are a few support tools that offer a WhatsApp integration. But because of a lack of an official API, this is a far less reliable solution. After all, WhatsApp can change anything at any time. And the solution that you’ve connected to WhatApp might experience some downtown. Not the ideal situation for your customers.

What about chatbots?

China’s favorite messaging app, WeChat, is a great example of how chatbots will fit into the future of customer support. WeChat has built a complete ecommerce platform that consumers use to do transactions with (like booking a table at a restaurant, making an appointment with the government for a passport renewal, pay utility bills, etc.).

Since Facebook opened up the entry for chatbots in April, 18.000 chatbots have already been created. The first signs that Facebook is emulating WeChat’s model can be seen with the introduction of allowing users to order Uber rides or checking flight statuses with KLM.

On the other hand, WhatsApp is not (yet) moving in that direction. There have been announcements that WhatsApp is working on an API that will allow businesses to communicate with customers. But so far, it doesn’t seem like it will be go as far as WeChat or FB Messenger in their commerce capabilities.

In conclusion

The two most popular messaging apps, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, are both valid options for customer support. Especially if you start small and have one colleague taking responsibility over answering questions.

Also for both WhatsApp and FB Messenger, there are solutions to offer support with multiple agents. But if your requirements go further than that and reliability becomes absolutely key, then FB Messenger with its official API is your only real option at the moment.


Looking for a customer support tool that combines email, live chat, FAQ and Facebook Messenger?

The personal messaging app showdown: WhatsApp vs. Facebook Messenger

More and more companies are jumping on the latest innovation in customer service: personal messaging apps. These apps are being used daily by billions of people. And companies want to jump in on this trend to serve their customers better.

The two apps that are getting the most attention from companies are Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. But are both messaging apps suited for your business or is there a clear winner? And more importantly, what exactly is the difference between the two?

Let’s dig into the details to figure out which one you should take advantage of.

Battle #1: It’s all about the users

With a reach of more than a billion users, both apps offer the easiest solution for companies to reach the majority of their customers. Looking at the research of WeAreSocial, you quickly see that they’re indeed far ahead of the game.

For a long time, WhatsApp has been winning in terms of the number of users. But the number of users for FB Messenger has grown by more than 300% in 2015 and is quickly gaining ground. Since July 2016, FB Messenger has also reached a Billion users, a milestone WhatsApp reached 6 months earlier.

While WhatsApp is still slightly ahead, predictions are that Facebook will outgrow WhatsApp very soon. A survey from onDevice even shows that FB Messenger has already regained its position as the most popular messaging app.

Battle #2: The geographical spread

With cultural and language differences, it’s no surprise that the most popular messaging apps differ for different countries. But in general, we see three patterns so far:

  • Western countries: The battle in this area is clearly on between FB Messenger and WhatsApp. In North America, Australia and the majority of European countries, we see that FB Messenger has taken over the lead. In the other countries, the split is reversed. But generally, they're head-to-head.

  • South America, Middle East & Africa: As opposed to Western countries, WhatsApp is still the strongest here. But make no mistake, FB Messenger is also gaining ground fast. For example, in the Middle East, WhatsApp and FB Messenger are being used almost to the same extent.

  • Asia: Asia is a bit of an exception in that there are a lot of local messaging apps (like WeChat, KakaoTalk and Zalo). That means that WhatsApp and FB Messenger are being used to a lesser extent.

In short: find out where the majority of your customers are from. If you focus more on Western countries, FB Messenger should probably be your preferred channel.

Battle #3: The demographics

Not only do different countries use different messengers, different age groups typically tend to use different platforms too. But looking at the profile of WhatsApp vs. FB Messenger users, GlobalWebIndex has found that they’re virtually the same for these two apps:

Battle #4: Future-proof or not?

Personal messaging is growing fast. Research by Series-A Partners found that by 2018 more than 2.5 billion people will use messaging apps. That is more than a billion extra users compared to today. So imagine the opportunity these channels will bring.

Not only the number of users is what makes personal messaging promising, the mobile and convenience aspects of it are going to change the business landscape. Just have a look at China’s WeChat. This personal messaging app goes a lot further than sending texts, videos, images, etc. They’ve actually built a complete ecommerce platform that people use to do transactions with, like booking a table at a restaurant, making an appointment with the government for a passport renewal, pay utility bills, etc.

Now if you look at FB Messenger, you see that they’re slowly emulating this model. From already being able to order an Uber and checking your flight status with KLM, it’s clear that you’ll soon be able to use FB Messenger in a similar way as WeChat. On the other hand, WhatsApp is not (yet) moving in that direction. There have been announcements that WhatsApp is working on an API that will allow businesses to communicate with customers. But so far, it doesn’t seem like it will be go as far as WeChat or FB Messenger in their commerce capabilities.

Battle #5: The size of your support team

With only one person resolving questions, WhatsApp and Facebook behave pretty much in a similar fashion. Their native applications get the job done perfectly. But as soon as you want more out of the messaging apps, a difference between the two quickly becomes apparent.

If you, for example, want to have multiple colleagues interact with customers on the platform, the native applications become less convenient (if not unworkable). So you’ll want to connect these channels to a third party customer support tool that allows different agents to resolve questions. But without an API, that isn’t possible. And so far, FB Messenger is the only one that supports an official API.

Yes, a WhatsApp API is coming at some point. But don’t expect it to be available before the beginning of 2017. And yes, there are a few support tools that offer a WhatsApp integration. But because of a lack of an official API, this is a less reliable solution. After all, WhatsApp can change anything at any time. And the solution that you’ve connected to WhatApp might experience some downtown. Not the ideal situation for your customers.

Therefore, if you require reliability, FB Messenger becomes your only real option at the moment.

Battle #6: The ease for the customer

Although both messengers are very convenient and easy channels for customers, there is another difference that puts FB Messenger at a small advantage. Before your customer can reach you on WhatsApp, she needs to add your number to her contact list on her phone. Although a small step, it’s still more effort compared to FB Messenger.

With FB, the friction is a little lower. They can just reach out to you by using the search function in the app. Or you can add a button to your website and a customer can almost instantly start chatting with you. (Very similar to the mechanism of live chat on your website.) Because of this tiny advantage in the ease of use, FB Messenger wins this battle.

And the winner is...

As you can see, FB Messenger has a few (small) advantages over WhatsApp. But the biggest advantage that would shift the victory to FB’s camp for your customer support is the reliability of their API. For bigger teams and bigger companies using a messenger as a support channel, reliability is key after all.

However, if you’re just going to have one agent resolving questions, then either messaging app will do. Both have a huge audience. So weigh the pro’s and con’s of the geographical spread and the possibilities for the future to make your pick. You can’t really go wrong.


Looking for a customer support tool that combines email, live chat, FAQ and Facebook Messenger?