How To Grow Your Customer Base This Peak-Period: Salmat CMO

How To Grow Your Customer Base This Peak-Period: Salmat CMO
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Increasing your customer conversion is important throughout the year, but if you are a business with peak periods, conversion is absolutely crucial during these times, says Salmat CMO Sarah Pike in this guest post.

A good example of this comes from the private health insurance industry where the annual health insurance rate change in April and the end of financial year are business critical periods for these companies, and only those that can offer a good customer experience succeed.

During these times, millions of customer are shopping around for the best deal on their health insurance, but if these businesses can’t give them the information they need quickly and easily, they’ll look elsewhere.

Be ready to answer the call

No matter how good your contact centre is, the pure volume of calls coming through during the peak seasons will most likely be too much to cope with, diminishing your customer service standards. An on-demand contact centre is a great option to help you manage the load in the short-term to ensure customers aren’t on hold for too long and sales aren’t lost.

An outsourced contact centre can also help with outbound calls to online customers requesting a quote or more information. According to Forbes, companies waste 71 per cent of potential leads, with one of the main reasons being a failure to respond fast enough.

Pop-up contact centres are a cost-effective way to scale your call centre up and down when you need, ensuring the contact centre team can maintain its performance through the busy times.

Create a slick online experience

More and more Australians are shopping online with the Australian Communications and Media Authority reporting that three quarters (77 per cent) of Australian adults undertook an online transaction last year.

When it comes to your website, first impressions count, as researchers found that it takes less than two-tenths of a second for an online visitor to form a first opinion of your brand once they’ve perused your website. What does your website say about you?

When looking to improve your customer experience online, it’s good to start with the data you already have. Take advantage of Google Analytics’ Site Search to find out what your customers are searching for, where they are coming from and where they are going. Make sure you filter your keywords regularly to optimise the words that are working well and save money on the keywords that have high costs but low conversion.

Of course visuals are important, but text is even more crucial. While insurance isn’t sexy, it’s important your copy isn’t boring, otherwise your customers will click off. Be sure your website copy is compelling, interesting and most importantly, unique.

Finally, is it optimised for mobile? Research by PayPal and Ipsos found that Australian smartphone owners do much of their shopping research on the go, with 30 per cent using their mobile to search for information on products, 27 per cent using it to find a physical store or information about a business, and 23 per cent using it to read customer reviews. In 2016, a mobile responsive site is essential.

Be ready to respond immediately

A global study by LivePerson found that 83 per cent of customers require some degree of customer support while making an online purchase, and 31 per cent will take their business elsewhere unless help is accessible immediately. You need to make it easy for your customers to contact you 24/7 with some form of online front desk such as live chat or a virtual agent.

Investing in a virtual agent will help ease the pressure on your contact centre, while returning the right answers 80 – 90 per cent of the time. They also capture every query, helping you pinpoint insights and unlock customer behaviours. Utilities company EPCOR implemented a virtual agent to adapt to changing customer preferences and within the first year, the company saw over 60,000 queries answered online, with an unanswered rate at a low 0.12 per cent. This sharply reduced call volumes and made a marked improvement in customer satisfaction.

Live chat also has a high customer satisfaction rating and is proven to help conversion, with 51 per cent  of customers stating that they were more likely to purchase from a website if they could get answers via live chat. Tax and finance software company Intuit utilised live chat so effectively they increased their conversion rate by 211 per cent, and increased average order value by 43 per cent.

Australian companies across the board fail to deliver an excellent customer experience according to Forrester’s 2015 Customer Experience Index. However, this is changing, with 50 per cent of brands stating that improving customer experience is their top strategic priority.

If conversion is taken seriously and resourced properly, big gains can be made. Customer experience is often the difference between the winners and the losers, with CX leaders outperforming customer experience laggards by around 20 per cent on metrics like advocacy, recommendation, retention and willingness to repurchase.

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