Fastest Way for Customer Contact
How can we develop e-commerce further? How can we enhance the customer experience? How can we increase sales and service? These were some of the things that Finnchat’s founding partners Roope Rämänen and Tiina Lindroos thought about while they were running the www.koiralle.fi web shop. “We came up with the idea of having a chat service to provide personal service in a web shop. We were not able to find a suitable solution on the market, so we decided to set one up ourselves in early 2012.
We saw tremendous potential in our chat, and the customer feedback was excellent. Very soon initial sales results were obtained and the numbers were historic. We had a service channel that was not a customer service cost but an investment in sales! Soon, we had worked out that there was so much demand for our service that in May 2012 we established Finnchat Oy, a company aiming for the international market. At that time, Samir Abbassi also joined us as a shareholder,” Rämänen says.
Locating in Technopolis was the best decision for our company
“We established our company a little over two years ago and leased a 21 sqm office at the Technopolis Ylistönmäki campus. We have expanded our space according to our needs, six times already, and we currently have 278 sqm of space and negotiations on the seventh expansion are already underway. We feel that no one else but Technopolis could have offered us this kind of growth path. We have not had to lease extra space in case we grow; we have been able to lease more space flexibly as necessary. It is easy being a Technopolis customer, as the day-to-day matters are taken care of and we can focus on running our own business. Even though we have moved several times, it has been uncomplicated and without major interruptions,” Rämänen says.
Chat service is a profitable investment
Finnchat’s mission is to keep personal service part of the customer experience. The company believes that even though technology evolves and people are making increasing use of web services, the importance of service will be emphasized in the future. “We are a service company that grows agilely and quickly, and we believe in the significance of good service. The live chat customer service we provide is in real time, and the buyer is given expert answers quickly. The service pays for itself many times over in sales,” Rämänen says. “We call the chat service providers online sellers, as the service aims to increase sales. They are trained so that they know about the product or service, and they have materials and webpages to assist them. In some customer companies, importers come to train our online sellers,” Rämänen mentions.
Creating a positive customer experience
Typically, only a fraction of the visitors to a website become customers. According to a survey by Forrester Research, more than half of customers reported that they give up their intended purchases if they do not quickly receive an answer to questions about them.
“Many chat services passively wait for a message from a potential customer browsing the web. Our service is focused on promoting sales – a connection is opened immediately when the customer visits a certain site, the customer’s needs are assessed, additional information is requested, and possible add-on devices are sold,” Rämänen illustrates.
“When the customer receives service already on the web, they feel that they are engaged in a dialog with the company, their purchasing process becomes easier, and this leaves a positive image of the company providing the service,” says Samir Abbassi, Development Manager. “According to our experience, 99% of customers are satisfied to receive service online,” Abbassi adds.
Efficiency and leads for B2B marketing
A survey of current purchasing processes involving more than 1,400 B2B customers revealed that almost 60% had already made their purchasing decision before contacting any company. People look for solutions to problems, rank the options, set criteria, review prices, etc. online. “Our online sellers can influence the purchasing decision already during the customer’s survey phase,” Abbassi says.
This means that the chat service is not merely a tool for consumer marketing; the company already has about a dozen B2B customers. First, the objectives of the companies’ websites are surveyed and the criteria for achieving them are defined. The service makes existing marketing more efficient and accelerates the processes. “Naturally, the results depend on the product or service and how much interest there is in it, but we have generated good leads that are easy for sales to start working on,” Rämänen mentions.
In the service for B2B companies, Finnchat has a results-based pricing per lead, and the basic fee is a few hundred euros, so it is not a huge investment. “Our service is suitable for most companies with a clear objective for their websites. As for some of the criteria, I would say that the number of monthly visitors should be more than 2,000 for B2B services and exceed 20,000 in a web shop,” Rämänen suggests.
Ten million successful customer experiences
The company’s aim is to help ten million people have a successful customer encounter by 2020. Its net sales are expected to increase approximately fivefold this year. The company’s future plans include increasing its sales in Finland and entering the German and Polish markets.