Since the launch of webchat in September 2021, customers have benefitted from quicker response times and a communication channel that works for them.
Identifying the need for increased digital communication
Liberty’s customers are based right across the country and have varying needs and preferences when it comes to how they want to engage with us. On a daily basis, Liberty’s customer service team handle over 1,000 customer contacts via telephone, supporting customers to report repair works, rearrange appointments or seek support.
Feedback indicated that many would like to contact us to discuss the work we’re doing for them using digital routes, and internally Liberty’s customer service staff noted challenges when communicating with customers with hearing difficulties, speech difficulties, or where English wasn’t their primary language. So, in 2021 Kirsty Thomas, Business Performance and Change Manager, decided it was time to make a change and improve our customer communication offer.
In consultation with clients and stakeholders, Liberty developed and launched a new webchat service which enabled customers and clients to get in touch with the customer service team 24 hours a day without picking up the telephone. The new services also provided a route for people to have conversations in their preferred language, powered by Google Translate.
4.7% of customer contacts are made via webchat
Following launch in September 2021, a total of 1.1% of the customers chose to contact Liberty using the webchat function in month 1, against a target of 1%. The business targeted a utilisation of 4% per annum, however this target was achieved early and after 3 months the customer service team were handling 4.7% of customer contacts via webchat.
0.6% of non-English language webchats
Liberty had previously utilised external translation services to facilitate engagement with customers who need to converse in a foreign language. This process slowed down conversations, meaning that it took these customers longer to do tasks such as raise repairs or change appointment dates/times.
In the first three months following the introduction of dedicated foreign language webchat queues, powered by Google Translate, 26 customers utilised this service, with average chat times similar in length to those of customers coming through the English language webchat queues.
27% faster response times
Average response times for customers contacting Liberty via the telephone stood at 55 seconds. However, customers choosing to contact via webchat benefit from 27% faster response times, with an average webchat taking just 40 seconds to be picked up.
Implementing webchat has allowed Liberty to improve our customer service offer by offering 27% faster response times for customers and a more user friendly communications channel for customers needing to converse in a foreign language.
Utilisation of webchat has embedded with customers in all Liberty operating regions, and customer feedback about the system has been overwhelmingly positive.
Customers providing feedback on the webchat system said: “I choose to contact via webchat as felt its easier than calling” and “Very easy to talk to and really accessible”.