During the eCommerce Expo in October 2015, iAdvize was delighted to speak alongside Neil Gregory, Customer Happiness Manager at Naked Wines. The online wine retailer recently trialled the new and innovative feature, Community Chat: a live chat solution that enables website visitors to chat with expert members of the brand community.
Who are Naked Wines?
At Naked Wines, the customers, also called Angels, fund independent winemakers from around the world. Today there are 150,000 Angels, a small number of archangels (particularly active Angels) and around 115 independent winemakers, who all constitute the Naked Wines community. Archangels provide help and advice to new users who are discovering the website, the brand and the products. On the website, customers can also give feedback and rate the wines they have already tasted. Archangels in particular are involved in the business, helping Naked Wines to choose new winemakers for example. There are also different forums that customers can join to talk about different topics with like-minded people who share their interests; the most popular is called “Naked Novices”! Naked Wines does not moderate what is said, the idea is really to provide a free space for their angels. “In many cases, our customers know more about wine than we do!” says Neil. So it makes sense to give them the floor.
Why did Naked Wines decide to deploy Community chat?
“From our experience within our Customer Happiness Team, we’ve seen that people really respond to the immediacy they get with live chat, that they don’t get with email or telephone call. We’ve got our groups and forums where people can talk but somebody might have a specific query which an Archangel, in our case, would be in a perfect position to answer. But we want it to be an instant response, we don’t want that question to be sitting there, even if it’s for an hour or so. It’s much more effective if people can get that instant dialogue. They might be browsing on the website at the time, wondering what “Angels” are! If we give them the opportunity to ask that question and get an instant, real-time response, then that has to be a good thing.”
“Our objectives were to empower our customers and strengthen our relationship with our archangels by showing them that we trust them to talk to our customers. If the conversation turns out to be a customer service issue they don’t know the answer to, that’s not an issue, they can always transfer the chat to our Customer Happiness Team. But when it comes to questions about the wines they love, Archangels are actually in a much better position to answer those questions in real-time. We also wanted to reduce the volume of incoming emails we get; this is part of improving customer experience globally, which is always at the forefront of everything we do, it’s why we exist. We want to ensure people get the answers they’re looking for as quickly as possible and from experts that can really help them.”
Where did you choose to implement community chat on the website?
“We wanted to make visitors aware of all the advantages of becoming an Angel. And of course, those arguments have much more impact if they come from our Angels themselves, rather than us telling them! So we decided to put community chat on the page where you can join the “Angels in waiting list”. We also put it on the Cases Page where people might need guidance about which wines to put in the case; Angels can share their experience and tips to help them out. “
A Naked Wines chat…
“We can see here the genuine passion for the brand that this Angel is sharing with a new visitor. They might not have the most accurate response although it’s very close to the truth but they are communicating something much more important. The conversation goes from being a customer service enquiry and becomes a chat between two wine lovers, and that’s really what we want it to be, much more than a transaction!”
What results are you seeing?
“For the Community Chat trial, we achieved a 97% customer satisfaction rate and that fits in really well with our global feedback objectives. We’re really keen on getting customer feedback on everything we do. We aim for a 90% 5 star service rating with all our service offerings. This 97% ties in really well with that. If you’ve come to us with an issue, or query, we want you to go away thinking, “I’m really blown away by that experience, I was expecting average and what I got really changed my perception of what it could be. And I think that adding community chat, real-time response can only strengthen that experience.”
Any tips for brands who are still hesitating?
“Don’t be afraid to let your customers talk on your behalf. There’s always a worry that people are going to say things that you don’t want them to. But there has to be an element of trust there. If you’re doing the right thing with your products and your service – being transparent, being Naked – customers will follow suit!”