Improving customer retention by providing a faster cusotmer service experience over LiveChat.
Unimart faced a credibility barrier because ecommerce in Costa Rica was virtually non-existent in 2016.
Unimart implemented LiveChat to provide personalized and unscripted customer service around the clock.
LiveChat helped in educating and turning first-time ecommerce buyers into frequent ecommerce buyers.
Unimart, based in San Jose, Costa Rica, is an ecommerce platform selling products ranging from consumer electronics and home appliances to detergents and pet toys. When they started their business in February 2016, ecommerce in their country was virtually non-existent. At the time, they faced a significant credibility barrier. They had a neat website, quality products, competitive prices, and flexible delivery options. They lacked the trust of potential customers, though. Their visitors weren’t sure if the website was legit, and they were afraid of getting scammed. Imagine the challenge Unimart had to face to get their business up and running.
Roberto Jimenez, general director of Unimart, attributes a big part of their success to LiveChat. After they started using it in 2016, it allowed Unimart to have real-time conversations with potential customers that would’ve otherwise left the website without making a purchase. LiveChat enabled Unimart to be present around the clock, especially with greetings that said that agents were there to help. They would start conversations that felt personalized and unscripted. The agents had a lot of flexibility in their messages. This built strong relationships with visitors and pushed them towards making a purchase. That freedom in communication began a snowball effect. Customers were returning to buy again and again, and they started recommending the website to their peers.
On its website, Unimart boasts a 4.9 out of 5 rating with nearly 2500 customer reviews. Roberto says that most reviews have two things in common: They mention exceptional service and quick delivery.
LiveChat helps with the former by enabling Unimart’s agents to answer all questions regarding order statuses or even basic issues like how to order a product. It’s also helped in turning first-time ecommerce buyers into frequent ecommerce buyers.
It’s been a learning process. The agents had to explain how to add products to carts, go to the checkout page, fill in the shipping details, and so on. That’s bread and butter for experienced ecommerce buyers, but the agents educated people that had never bought anything online before. All customers’ problems are equally important to Unimart’s agents, and that’s what’s helped them elevate their rating to such a high level.
Unimart gives their agents a lot of freedom in solving customer service problems. They know their communication with customers shouldn’t feel scripted and bureaucratic. They’re free to express their personalities and voice. There’s no room for replies along the lines of, “Hey, I need authorization from my supervisor, and I’ll get back to you in a couple of days, and we’ll see how it goes.” Unimart advises their agents to go out of their way to immediately take care of the issue if a customer is dissatisfied. Additionally, they can give away bonus points, loyalty perks, and freebies.
Chat satisfaction at the beginning of June reached 90%, compared to 93% in May. Quite expectedly, issues surrounding COVID-19 have taken a toll on that metric. Since the pandemic started, the volume of chats went through the roof, and there has been more demand than Unimart can handle. Customers started getting angry because the agents weren’t able to answer their questions as quickly as they used to. All of a sudden, Unimart was forced to hire more agents quickly.
When we compared the data to January and February, we found out that chat satisfaction reached 94% and 98% respectively. It’s evident that the effects of COVID-19 reduced customer satisfaction. The main reason for that was that the agents couldn’t handle the increased number of chats as effectively. Orders tripled as well, and they weren’t prepared for that. Additionally, it’s not like finding new, qualified customer service reps and hiring them quickly was an easy task either.
In the first week of June, 83% of chats were started by a customer, with only 16.8% starting from a greeting. When we look at the data from January, there’s a significant difference. Back then, 48% of chats would begin from a greeting, with 52% started by the customers. This indicates that, with the outbreak of the pandemic, chats initiated by a greeting started to diminish. Looking from a different perspective, more people began conversations on their own because they wanted to talk directly to an agent as soon as possible.
Roberto Jimenez said that, right now, their success with LiveChat is based purely on customer satisfaction. They make sure that the reviews they get mention something positive about the chatting experience. They also regularly monitor their chat satisfaction report and make necessary adjustments to ensure their chats are up to par. Post-chat surveys and comments on what to improve are invaluable as well.
Unimart would like to demonstrate its success using LiveChat by using sales metrics, too, but they haven’t implemented all the tracking features yet. It’s on the roadmap to happen soon, though. They have recently upgraded to Shopify Plus, which gives them access to customizing the checkout page. Once they do that, they’ll install the LiveChat code within their checkout page so that they can track their sales goals.
The agents use the integration a lot, mainly to see the order data and when the order came through. This helps them to estimate when the orders will ship. The customers mostly ask about shipping dates, and, by having the order details, the agents can see all the information related to that. Detailed customer information is a nice addition, too. Agents also use the integration for making notes related to specific orders and delivery requirements. When a customer shares the particular requirements for an order, agents add those notes using Customer Insight.
Unimart agents can get an idea if they’re talking to a new or returning customer. The ability to take a look at what’s inside a customer’s cart helps a lot. With their vast catalog, including consumer electronics, home appliances, but also detergents like hand wash, for instance, it’s easier to know what’s on customers’ minds. Agents know a customer’s intent, and having a mobile phone inside a cart is a lot different from having essential oils. This helps lead the conversation with the customers better, and agents can offer complementary products depending on what they already have in their carts.
Unimart values Product Cards a lot as well. They used to send links to their products, and that didn’t look great. With an improved way to filter the Product Cards, the agents can find products they want to recommend quicker.
While Unimart had been using the Messenger integration for some time now, they implemented the WhatsApp integration last May. This helped them to centralize their communication with the customers. They used to use Zendesk for ticketing, but now they have everything integrated within LiveChat.
Facebook and Whatsapp messages coming through as chats in LiveChat helped increase efficiency by a mile, specifically the WhatsApp integration. Before implementing the WhatsApp integration, they’d have to open a web session for WhatsApp, and there was only one agent to reply to WhatsApp messages. We’re talking about 200-400 different messages a day, and that was unmanageable for one person. This was incredibly frustrating, and there were always 300 or 400 messages still waiting to be answered.
The WhatsApp integration allowed Unimart to distribute the messages across the team members and tackle it much faster. It’s all centralized right now. They also plan to display a LiveChat dashboard on their TVs in the office. This will help the agents to get an idea of the volume of requests coming in. It’s especially important with the queue as it gets larger. If no one monitors it, the next thing you know is that customers are waiting in the queue for 20 minutes.
Unimart plans to merge with a B2B partner soon. This partnership will help them to extend their reach and sell to other businesses, which they haven’t done so far. There’s a plan to expand their customer service team. Unimart plans to divide the agents so that some of them will take care of the B2B clients, and some will focus on B2C. As a consequence, they’ll start routing chats depending on the pages the customers are on.
The idea is to sell the same products Unimart sells right now but to different target consumers. After the merge, they’re going to sell to B2B clients under the Unimart brand as Unimart Business.
Wrapping up our conversation, Roberto Jimenez said that he’d attribute most of their success, and the reputation of a company that provides excellent customer service, to LiveChat. Among many other options that they had considered, LiveChat suited their needs the most thanks to its simplicity and ease of use.
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