Community Highlight #1 - Melissa Hannam

Hi Community users!

There are some awesome support agents and marketers among us. We thought it would be great to get to know them better :heart_eyes:!

Every month we will carry out a short, but meaty interview with one of the most active Community contributors. We are going to talk about the best customer service practices, marketing but not only…

So find a comfortable spot and enjoy the interview with our first expert - Melissa Hannam, the Director of Marketing for Valley Driving School.

1. Melissa, can you tell us about the company you work for and the marketing area you specialize in?

I work for Valley Driving School in British Columbia, Canada. Since 1955, the school has provided quality training to thousands of satisfied graduates looking to learn to drive a car, truck, motorcycle or become an Instructor Trainer.

As the Director of Marketing, I focus on promoting our school through all mediums. From printed materials like product brochures to our online marketing efforts through SEO and social media to community outreach events and our vehicle decals (our semi trucks and trailers are like rolling billboards!), it typically runs through myself and the Marketing Department.

I have a great team - Samantha, Jessy & Ryley helping support all Valley Driving School’s marketing efforts and initiatives.

2. How do you advertise your services? What’s the most successful channel in your case?

Recently our advertising efforts have been focused on digital platforms. We’ve increased social media presence, improved our SEO, started blogging regularly and continued to use Google Adwords help to increase Valley’s brand name and educate on our services.

Our updated website (including LiveChat) is by far our most successful channel. With our website ranking on the first page for oodles of Google search terms in our industry, traffic to the website has doubled, tripled and in some cases quadrupled! Getting potential clients to the website is only one part of the equation, however.

Our agents (or Online Support Ninjas as we call them), are available to answer questions about driver licensing and what services will best meet their needs. LiveChat and the helpful conversations we are able to immediately have with visitors are often listed as a reason why clients have chosen Valley Driving School.

3. What’s the biggest challenge at work for you?

To stand out from the crowd. There are many choices in our area for driver training, so we are constantly working to be and stay as the #1 choice in our industry.

4. Why LiveChat?

Approximately 2 years ago, I saw chat options becoming more and more common on various websites. From being able to chat with an agent about my cell phone bill or helping me through an online purchase, it seemed like a very flexible option to communicate.

We launched an updated website and thought this would be a great time to test out a chat option. After researching various chat platforms, LiveChat was definitely the best match for our needs. The ability to customize the look, customize so many different greetings, the detailed reporting capabilities, and analytics and all the helpful agent tools, while also being reasonably priced made the decision to choose LiveChat an easy one.

5. What do you use it for in your company?

We use LiveChat in many ways, and its use has continued to grow (both in the volume of chats and how we use it). From educating visitors about the driver training process (how to get a license, what to expect on a road test, etc.), helping them through the registration and scheduling process, to the future of our business and assisting students through any e-learning courses, our use of LiveChat is continuing to expand!

We’ve recently introduced a co-browsing integration to our chat to help visitors navigate our newly created online booking portal.

6. How do you train support agents in your company? Any tips?

New employees must complete a series of training modules and tests. We pair any trainees with a LiveChat mentor throughout their training.

The modules consist of learning the LiveChat software, being proficient on all aspects of our website and online booking portal and of course being knowledgeable in all aspects of driver training and the services we offer.

LiveChat trainees also conduct “test chats” which are scenario based chats with their training agent to ensure they are qualified to move onto “real chats”. At the end of the training period, the training mentor “signs off” and we let the trainee free!

For any companies considering adding LiveChat agents to their customer service team, I would recommend ensuring anyone who chats to be extremely knowledgeable. Visitors who don’t get the answer they need, quickly close the chat and move on. An untrained or slow-to-respond agent could make the difference in losing a visitor and a potential sale or registration.

7. How do you measure your success as a customer service rep?

We use many of the built-in reporting features in LiveChat. Each day, all agents have a quick pow-wow to go over yesterday’s Numbers. We discuss total chats and overall chat satisfaction, discussing any areas for improvement if a visitor has rated a chat bad.

Each week, the agent with the highest chat satisfaction rating gets our Winner’s Trophy! The trophy sits on their desk for the week, and they are allowed to brag about their great week as much as they’d like!

Monthly we review our response rate, hoping to beat the target we have set for ourselves. In addition, our social media reviews, Google reviews, and registrations are all reviewed to see if we hit our goals. If the goals were not obtained, we discuss what we can do to improve for the next period.

8. If you had to tell some advice to a person who starts their adventure as a customer service agent, what would it be?

Create some principals. Around here we call them “Valley-isms” they are the tips or tricks that will help you when you aren’t completely sure how to proceed.

For example - we use "Tell them what you can do, not what you can’t."

To us, that means instead of saying"NO", we offer a suitable solution. Instead of telling a client we do not offer loan financing, we instead tell them how they may be able to receive funding through other sources or how they can pre-pay for training in portions and then start attending once they have built up credit.

P.S. This is the whole picture of Melissa and… her friend Hulk Hogan! At LiveChat, we also like heroes :smiley: