How Swanson Health Delivered Superior Customer Service During 137% Growth in Chats

An Interview with Online Correspondence Supervisor, Deanne Trieglaff, that details how Swanson Health has effectively managed a rapid increase in live chat interactions via thorough employee training, intelligent chat tagging, and chatbot implementation.

Aug 14, 2019 | 0 comment

For nearly 50 years, Swanson Health has been committed to delivering “wellness solutions that help people live simply healthier together.”

They’ve also been committed to engaging with their customers through personal and effective customer service. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Swanson’s Wellness Advocate & Online Correspondence Supervisor, Deanne Trieglaff, to find out how the company has continued to deliver award-winning customer service despite an unprecedented increase in online customer inquiries.

Deanne Trieglaff

Deanne Trieglaff, Wellness Advocate & Online Correspondence Supervisor

 

Q: Your team has won numerous LiveHelpNow Challenge awards for providing excellence in customer service with live chat. What do you attribute to your continuous success?

A: Well, having the right talent in place to support our brand is huge. At Swanson Health, we’ve hired motivated, eager, compassionate personnel who help to support the growth of our company by supporting our business through personable and effective customer service. 

Swanson Customer Service Team at Swanson
Members of the Swanson Customer Service Team In Front of Swanson (left to right: Jessica S., Nicole T., and Supervisor, Deanne Trieglaff)

 

Q: So, what is your approach for training your staff to use the LiveHelpNow chat software to provide the exceptional customer service they deliver consistently? 

A: Initially, our agents (before they’re promoted to chat) have to go through a successful 7-week program with phones. And, that is even prior to their first engagement with a customer. And, they need to be exceptional with that [first] engagement with a customer. 

68% of customers said the service rep was key to a positive service experience. 62% said that this was also due to the rep's knowledge or resourcefulness. @AmericanExpress Click To Tweet

After that goes well, and they acquire the skills and the experience, they go through another two-week training for online correspondence for chat. We also do emails as well. So, in those additional two weeks, we ensure that they are still bringing that Swanson brand personality into written correspondence and doing it well with knowledge, positivity, and being simple and concise and real with the customers. 

We ensure that they are still bringing that Swanson brand personality into written correspondence and doing it well with knowledge, positivity, and being simple and concise and real with the customers. 

We used to run off of a lot of form letters, and the customers can read between the lines. You know…they want a personality, and they want to create a face behind the image. So, we really make sure that we bring in that good talent that can do that.

 

Q: Approximately 2 years ago, Swanson left its initial live chat provider and made the switch to LiveHelpNow. What was the reason for the switch? Was there something missing with the previous provider? Or were there benefits to be gained by switching to LHN? 

A: Switching to LHN was like a game-changer for us. 

Our previous provider was really just what I would call “sterile.” They had the functionality of it just being chat. And, it was what it was. We couldn’t modify what the chat icon looked like. If we needed assistance, we had to reach out to them. And, so here we are waiting for a 3rd party to do something that we may have needed to do right now.

 

A: So, switching to LHN and having all these advanced features…and first of all, the implementation was effortless. Which was huge! From an admin point-of-view, and being able to make those necessary changes to what the chat icon looks like, and [being able to decipher] if my agents should be taking two chats or can they take four…that’s not working well….let me switch on the fly back to two. So, just having that ability to do things as needed and then having all of those other additional components. 

We have a lot of customers who are international. So, just that translate feature is amazing. It used to be impossible…we used to run [conversations] through Google Translate. Sometimes [customers] might have been upset, and we’re reading it as a happy comment because Google Translate didn’t translate it as well as it should have. But, LHN’s translate component has been fabulous. We’ve never run into that issue as we did with Google Translate.

71.5% of customer service managers reported an increase in customer satisfaction scores when they were able to speak with a customer in he or she’s native language. 58.4% said it increased customers’ loyalty to the brand. (ICMI) Click To Tweet

 

Q: Since you have implemented live chat on the Swanson website, what type of impact has it had on the company’s sales/revenue?

A: So, our chat button is available to customers to help them tackle a wide variety of support needs. They are coming on chats to look for help with a product or to track a package…that kind of thing. So, while we know that it has added a lot of value you and impacted sales, our real focus for measuring success is how it ultimately provides another channel for our customers to engage with us. 

 

Q: So, how does your staff feel about using the LiveHelpNow software to chat with and assist customers?

A: So, as technology continues to make advancements, we have seen a substantial growth in our chat numbers. Just from 2017 to 2018, we have experienced 137% growth in numbers just with chat.

So, as technology continues to make advancements, we have seen a substantial growth in our chat numbers. Just from 2017 to 2018, we have experienced 137% growth in numbers just with chat.

A: So, we’re taking those people away from the phones and away from mailing in their orders…and now they want this immediate feedback. So, implementing the LHN chat model has only helped us maintain our goals of efficiency while offering another tool or channel for our customers to get in touch with us. Based off 2018 to 2019, we have seen another 19% growth in chat. But, we’re also seeing our mail orders go down, etc. People are beginning to use the technology that’s available to them.

 

Q: So, does your staff find the software easy to use? Do you get any feedback from them?

A: Yeah…number one it’s so easy to use the platform. You know…it’s not like ‘where do I go?’ or ‘who’s coming in?’. The ghost (a.k.a. whisper technology) feature is good. When it comes to quality assurance, we love that feature…being able to hop on and help someone…being able to transfer a chat if it’s an escalation and that type of thing. The auto-tagging feature…that has been a great help to us in defining what type of chats are coming in. So, every piece of it has just been clear, concise and seamless and easy-to-use.

Swanson Team Ready to Chat
Swanson Team is all smiles and ready to tackle their next chat. (left to right: Spencer D., Chris N., Ann C. and Cheri K.)

 

Q: How do your customers feel about having the option to live chat with your staff? Have they given any type of feedback regarding their chat interactions?

A: We’ve used the satisfaction surveys since day one when implemented LHN, and our feedback from customers has been overwhelmingly positive. They just appreciate that tool…that it’s easy-to-use and its efficient. And, then adding the bot, which gives them the resources right at their fingertips instead of having to use an agent, has just been another added plus. 

A recent @NuanceEnt study found that 67% of respondents said they prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative. Click To Tweet

 

Q: Swanson uses LHN’s SMS chat feature which allows customers to text for help. These texts come into Swanson as live chats. How does your staff feel about this feature? How do your customers feel about it? 

A: It’s been interesting. That one was a little bit of a learning curve just because we weren’t sure how it was going to go. We deal with a generation that’s a tad bit older. While we do have some Millennial customers, we deal [mostly] with the Generation X. 

So, it’s just been another channel available for those people that have their phone in their hand all day long or nearby. It was just another channel and another benefit…to let them engage with us and make it a seamless experience.  

78% of consumers polled wished they could text a business, but most businesses don’t have this option available. @IntelContacts Click To Tweet

 

Q: Once you implemented live chat on Swanson’s website, about how long did it take for you to notice that it was having a positive effect? 

A: That was right away because it had an immediate impact. Initially, we added the trigger chats to specific [website] pages or [tracked] how long someone was on the website, so we could initiate a chat to help them out if they needed that reassurance or something to get them moving along to [make] an order. And, along with auto-tagging it gave us the insight on…‘What are our customers looking for? What are they chatting about? Do we need to make some changes on the website if they’re encountering this specific problem all the time? Or, is there are product that’s trending and should we really point that out and draw more attention to it?’ We really didn’t get that from our other provider, so every aspect of this tool has just really provided us with a great benefit. 

 

Q: Where did you notice it having the biggest effect first? Sales? Lead Generation? Customer Satisfaction? 

A: Yes. The customer satisfaction hands down. You know…that’s what we’re here for is to reassure those customers…help them out from a service standpoint. And, having that chat feature available and ready for them to use to seek assistance right away and get in touch with someone. 

Typically, on average we see from initiation of the chat to getting to an agent is 30 seconds or less. So, just our ability to make that [quick] connection with the customers. 

80% of American consumers point to speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service as the most important elements of positive customer experience. @PwC Click To Tweet

And, then, the opportunity for the agents to see that positive feedback in the post-survey…that’s a huge thing for them, too. It keeps them going and gives them initiative to keep their service leveled-up, so that they can keep providing it over and over again. So, that’s another impact that we see…is those positive remarks coming in, and then, the agents just kind of exuding that positivity. And then, it just rolls on and on in their work, and then socially inside the building.

 

Q: Why do you think live chat customer service is working so well for Swanson? 

A: #1 hands down it’s the ease of the tool. From an effortless install to having the self-explanatory operator panel to complete each correspondence…it’s just so easy to use. And,  so, [because] it’s user-friendly on the customer side and on our side. 

Swanson Live Chat Challenge Winners
Live Chat Challenge Winners: Proud of their award-winning customer service (Left to right: Front row: Joanne H. and Nicole T. Back Row: Taffeny G., Tiffany N., Desiree S., and Alyssa S.)

 

Q: What LiveHelpNow live chat software features do you and your staff find the most useful or helpful? And, why? 

A: The [chat]bot…for sure. The ‘bot completely made an impact on our service level. We have seen an average of 39% of the traffic hitting the ‘bot and effectively handling 39% of our incoming traffic. So, additionally, that has eased up the time with an agent, so that we can focus on the other duties that we need to do or another incoming chat. So, that is for one, one of the biggest things.

The ‘bot completely made an impact on our service level. We have seen an average of 39% of the traffic hitting the ‘bot and effectively handling 39% of our incoming traffic.

Then, the ease of the ‘bot implementation. I will say that the staff at LHN made it completely fabulous, effortless. So, I can’t say enough about them either because they really were great to work with, and they got it up and running within a day once we gave them the opportunity. 

 

Q: Your team uses the auto-tagging feature a lot. How does this help your team?

A: So, prior to the ‘bot the auto-tagging feature helped us determine what type of contact was coming in. You know…is there a product that’s trending?…that sort of thing. It also assisted us in figuring out what options we should put on the ‘bot once we started that. It helped us to determine what should be in our menu platform for the ‘bot and then continual changes thereafter. 

Or, if a customer is selecting “other,”…that auto-tagging is helping us to figure out: What are these others? Are they just selecting other? Could they have selected a different category? Or, do we need to update the ‘bot and change another menu selection.

Swanson's Live Chat Agent Nick D.
Swanson’s Nick D. waiting to rock out on his next chat.

 

Q: We partially touched on this previously, but did you see any positive or negative impact after rolling out Live Help Bot (LiveHelpNow’s chatbot)

A: All positive. The ‘bot picked up 39% of our traffic, which would have otherwise been distributed to an agent, and, in the end, decreases efficiencies. Currently, we have an average of 30 seconds from chat initiation to the chat so…yeah…it’s just been all positive, all the way around. 

 

Q: What would be your advice for other call centers implementing live chat in their organizations to make sure it is done properly and efficiently? 

A: Yes. Well, it would depend on what the company wants to get out of the chat. But, what I can say is that here at Swanson Health it has totally met our expectations 100% from what we wanted to see from a chat feature. And, the advances that you guys keep doing has only enhanced what we can do with the chat option and the ‘bots. So, you guys are keeping up with technology, which only helps the user in the end. So, we have become more efficient and the agents continue to love the tool because it’s so easy and effortless. We are 100% behind LHN and love it.

 

Key Takeaways:

    • Swanson’s success is due in part to its extensive employee training program, which ensures their teams’ resourcefulness, professionalism, and knowledge. In fact, 68% of customers said the service rep was key to a recent positive service experience. 62% said that this was also due in part to the rep’s knowledge or resourcefulness. (American Express)

 

    • Swanson made the switch to LiveHelpNow live chat software because of its advanced functionality, ease-of-use, and innovative features. One of the features that was of particular benefit was language translation. A study by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) found that 71.5% of customer service managers reported an increase in customer satisfaction scores when they were able to speak with a customer in he or she’s native language. 58.4% said it increased customers’ loyalty to the brand.

 

    • LiveHelpNow has assisted Swanson successfully manage a period of rapid growth in their chat engagement numbers.  From 2017 to 2018, they experienced 137% growth in numbers just with chat.

 

    • Swanson’s customers thoroughly enjoy the self-service option of interacting with LiveHelpNow’s Live Help Bot.  Studies have found that 67% of respondents said they prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative. (Zendesk)

 

    • Both the Swanson customers and Swanson’s staff love having LHN’s SMS chat feature as an additional avenue of communication. 78% of consumers polled wished they could text a business, but most businesses don’t have this option available. (Intelligent Contacts)

 

    • On average, from chat initiation to connecting an agent, the wait time is 30 seconds or less. Swanson’s ability to make a quick connection with its customers has a positive impact on their customer satisfaction scores. 80% of American consumers point to speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service as the most important elements of positive customer experience. (PwC)

 

    • Swanson feels LHN’s live chat ‘bot is the software’s most helpful feature because the ‘bot has had a huge impact on their service level. Live Help Bot is effectively handling 39% of their incoming chat traffic, which has cut down on customer wait times and freed up Swanson’s agents to deal with more complicated tasks and inquiries.

 

 

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