With strong acquisition and customer retention objectives, Direct Energie, third largest electricity and gas supplier in France, supports its customers on the digital channel with live chat.
Julie Savart, e-commerce project manager and Edouard Racimora, Customer area project manager, tell us everything about their challenges concerning customer relations and e-commerce , live chat deployment and the benefits they have observed after 8 months.
“Direct Energie is the third largest electricity and gas supplier in France and already secured the loyalty of over 1.3 million customers. Direct Energie also developed its activity among companies and local authorities up to more than 100 000 delivery locations..
- What is your role within your organisation?
The online e-commerce team manages customer acquisition and conversion via the website, and the customer area team manages customer self-care and loyalty for private, professional and major account customers via the online channel.
- What are the challenges concerning customer relations and e-commerce in your organisation?
The online channel represents 20% of Direct Energie’s sales. Communication via telephone still dominates, but we would like to increase the online channel’s share. Our aim is to double the number of customers acquired by Direct Energie. It is therefore essential to be able to manage the flow of incoming contacts and relations with these new customers.
The online channel must be able to explain things clearly to the customer with complete transparency. In particular, it must enable them to follow and understand their consumption and billing.
Our aim is to guide, support and reassure the customer via the online channel during those key moments where human contact is necessary, for example during registration.
Within the customer page, the digital communication tools must enable us to reduce the number of calls to customer services.
The majority of the questions cover three subjects: billing, self meter reading and the procedure to follow for customers wishing to move.
Required solution and expertise
- What solution(s) and expertise had you considered to meet this challenge?
We looked at the possibility of a live chat, which not only offers human contact via the online channel, but also assistance during the registration process and increases customer loyalty whilst reducing the number of calls and emails.
We have implemented the Do You Dream Up Live Chat solution in France on the www.direct-energie.com website for the registration tunnel and the customer page.
- How long did it take to roll out the solution?
The live chat solution was rolled out between August and November 2014.
- How many contacts have been made via the live chat ? How are they managed?
Nearly 10,000 conversations took place over 8 months via the live chat. During office hours, two staff members handle customer service contacts. The same staff members are also responsible for the social networks. For customer registrations, four operators have been trained. Two work simultaneously in a Webhelp call centre.
The use of the chat has stabilised. We have tried to add it to all the product pages, but few contacts are made via these pages. The need is mainly limited to the registration tunnel. For the moment, the live chat is only available on the private customer registration tunnel.
- What benefits have you observed?
The implementation of the live chat and notably the analysis of the conversations has given us the ability to optimise the purchase tunnel as and when necessary. The live chat is a customer «feedback factory».
This notably enables us to be aware when there is any malfunction on the website. The call centre teams also receive fewer calls with no added value. We have observed that certain Internet users prefer using the live chat to the telephone during the registration phase as this channel is less directive and they feel less constrained.
- Has the solution been well accepted by your inhouse teams? Do you have any feedback from the operators?
A digital cluster has been created at call centre level. The operators are happy to use the live chat. It is an innovative tool for them.
- Now that we have been working together for several months, what is your perception of our added value?
We have continuous and constant support from Do You Dream Up. Our dedicated project manager, Celia, defines the triggering rules. The rules are fairly technical, which means we are not very independent; we prefer to rely on Celia rather than take the risk of getting it wrong.
Key success factors
- In your opinion, what are the key success factors for this project?
The Do You Dream Up live chat is a turnkey solution which is simple to integrate, an essential factor for us given the strong constraints of our IS Department.
The second success factor for this project is the support provided by the Do You Dream Up sales and project teams. They advised us concerning the definition of the rules and their pertinence, and they also provided web design support. We also especially appreciated the teams’ responsiveness.”
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