Philips NPS for Livecom Chat excellent
Livecom’s chat application is now running on Philips websites in 35 countries and 22 languages. This was preceded by a pilot project, launched at the end of 2008, when Livecom 6G Chat – both its reactive and proactive chat modules – was implemented on the Swedish and British websites of Philips Consumer Lifestyle.
After the three-month pilot, in which Philips Spain and Italy also experimented with the chat application, the results were analyzed by a specialized Philips project team. The conclusion was evident: the pilot had to be extended, because the Net Promoter Score (NPS) for chat was substantially higher than that for customer contact channels like e-mail and telephone. Not surprisingly, Philips structurally embedded the tested solution in its operations, thus becoming one of Livecom’s leading customers, in the wake of companies like Aegon (banking), CZ (insurance) and Ziggo (cable operator).
Why chat with online visitors?
First, Philips obviously wanted to examine if and how the chat channel would add value to its business proposition. For various reasons, they decided to look at the possibilities of this relatively new channel:
- Before implementation of the chat application, the NPS for the Internet channel was inadequate. Philips hoped to boost the online customer satisfaction with this extra service. Perhaps it could intercept disappointed customers.
- For Philips, channel diversification is gaining importance. They wanted to find out whether (potential) customers needed this new service. Would people benefit from a chat service at all? And if so, would online visitors use the service a second time?
- Philips attaches great weight to First Contact Resolve (FCR): the company wants to deal with as many questions as possible during the first contact. Could a chat service make a crucial contribution?
As Philips did not want to influence the survey results, the company decided not to invest in extra marketing for the new contact channel. Indeed, this proved to be unnecessary: the Livecom 6G Chat service was immediately adopted by the Swedish and British visitors. The survey Philips executed after the first three months showed the following:
- They received up to 40% fewer email messages than chat requests. This proves that a chat service contributes substantially to customer satisfaction.
- The customer appreciation for both reactive and proactive chat varies per country, but the Net Promoter Scores for chat are convincingly positive and higher than the NPS for alternative
- The availability of chat proves its added value in the answers visitors gave after using the chat application
- A chat service usually addresses several questions in a single dialogue (FCR). This contrasts starkly with e-mail, where several messages are sent back and forth before all questions are suitably dealt with. An agent must gather information all over again: what was the initial question, which answers have already been given, which new reactions in turn generated these answers? Consequently, e-mail is far less efficient in addressing and answering customer questions. Philips’ survey showed that more and more visitors prefer chat over e-mail and telephone owing to the efficient resolution of questions.
- In the Philips chat pilot, up to 15% fewer contact requests were received via e-mail and telephone. This is caused by the fact that online visitors always have a way out if they fail to find an answer on the website. Therefore chat support is appreciated even more.
Proactive chat: structurally higher NPS
During (and after) the pilot, Philips also offered proactive chat to help customers who got stuck. This move proved golden: proactive chat was structurally appreciated up to 5% higher than reactive chat.
Based on their behavior, matching pre-defined scenarios, online visitors saw this invitation appear on their screen: ‘How can we help you?’ Visitors accepting the invitation were immediately put through to a Philips agent. Philips experimented with several scenarios, where two criteria determined their success rate: the acceptance of the invitation and the appreciation of the service by customers afterwards. Two scenarios were successful during the pilot:
Scenario 1. An online visitor has entered a search query but does not get any relevant results. An invitation for a chat follows automatically.
Scenario 2. An online visitor wants to send an e-mail to the customer service via the website. As an alternative, the visitor is given the option to ask the question in a chat session
Philips also experimented with offering the chat option if an online visitor opened four service-related pages from a specific product page. In this case, the acceptance was relatively low in the United Kingdom (6%), whereas the NPS was very high: 44%.
The Net Promoter Score: a marginal note
The NPS is calculated based on the answers to one simple question: ‘Would you recommend our company or products to others?’ People answering this question with a 9 or higher qualify as “promoters”; people answering with a 6 or lower are “demoters”. Sevens and eights do not count. The highest and lowest scores are balanced, resulting in the NPS.
However, when measuring with the NPS method, the scores per country are strikingly different. This disparity can be ascribed to cultural differences. For example, an 8 is an excellent score in the Netherlands, but in calculating the NPS only the highest scores (9 and 10) rare decisive.
Philips puts the scores per country into perspective and uses them to determine where each country stands service-wise. This is why Philips pays special attention to possible fluctuations per period and per country. An NPS of 10 for a certain channel, Philips reasons, is decent for the Netherlands, while the same channel in Sweden, for example, may score an NPS of 22. Both scores are acceptable; what matters are the fluctuations. For instance, a drop from 22 to 12 within a few months will say something about the quality and service offered by the Customer Contact Center.