According to blogger sven (2016) messaging and chat are the big customer service trends of 2016, and at this moment hotels started with experimenting with different ways to give guests an additional communication channel through messaging applications like Facebook messenger for Business and Whatsapp. According to Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013) the value discipline that fits best with the CRM strategy is customer intimacy discipline. With customer intimacy discipline the hotels have the opportunity to get to know their customer and develop a long-term profitable relationship with the customer. The hotel industry exploits on the chat trend through live chat tools. Think of implementing directly on their websites to give guests a direct line to customer service as they are researching or booking a hotel.
What are live chat tools?
Actually a live chat tool is an instant messaging system that is specifically assigned to your website. It is a tool to connect potential customers to a service representative in real time. The representative, a customer service agent, is able to use the software from a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Customers can use many platforms to access the chat as well, which leads to conveniently and efficiency approach for the customers. (Dunn, 2016)
Nowadays, live chat tools have added features such as tracking and archiving so companies are able to save and document the interactions with their customers. Various live chats include traffic analysis and traffic monitoring, giving companies more insight into the customer interactions.
How live chat tools can increase customer intimacy with the customers?
The first interaction often takes place on the website, that a potential customer will have with the hotel. It is important to know if a customer would visit the website right now, how would they be greeted? Would they have to search through different menus to find answers on their questions. The opportunity of live chats are the ability to give a good first impression by allowing those questions to be answered directly by an actual person. It adds a personal and human touch to the online presence.
Another benefit of live chats is that companies have the opportunity to address specific questions that may not be addressed on the website. For example, it can allow representatives to discuss their preferences of their stay or requirements of the facilities. It allows representatives to make recommendations to customers all based on their interests and needs.
Furthermore, a live chat allows companies to respond on customers’ concerns and questions in real time at point of research or sale. Which helps to simplify the decision-making process and builds trust with the brand/company, ultimately increasing the customer relationship.
In a 2010 study, 44 percent of respondents indicated that the ability to have questions addressed and answered by a live representative was one of the most important features of a website. Live chat has a satisfaction level of 73 percent, the highest among all customer service channels. (Email came in at 61 percent while phone came in at 44 percent.) (Arrazola, Herrera, Mothais, & Marcos, 2013)
In another survey, 63 percent of customers indicated that they would be more likely to return to and use a website that has live chat than one that does not. (emarketer, 2009)
Arrazola, V., Herrera, S., Mothais, B., & Marcos, M.-C. (2013).Trustiness in costumer/user chat services: the importance of design. Barcelona: Hypertex.net.
Dunn, H. (2016, May 20). phaseware.com. Retrieved from Live Chat Customer Support: What is Live Chat?:http://www.phaseware.com/PhaseWare-Files-blog/bid/53766/Live-Chat-Customer-Support-What-is-Live-Chat
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. United Kingdom: Pearon Education Limited.
emarketer. (2009, August 19). How Helpful Is Live Chat?Retrieved from Emarketer:http://www.emarketer.com/Article/How-Helpful-Live-Chat/1007235
Sven. (2016, March 15). Userlike. Retrieved from 7 Realistic Customer Service Trends for 2016:https://www.userlike.com/en/blog/customer-service-trends-2016