For over 15 years, Xylem has been the leading global provider of water technology. Their offerings include premium field, portable, laboratory and online analytical instrumentation enabling customers to transport, treat, and test water. Here’s how YSI, a division of Xylem Analytics uses Comm100 Live Chat to increase customer engagement, decrease response time, and generate more than $750,000 in new business opportunities.
YSI is the de facto provider of premium water technology for researchers around the globe, thanks in part to their dedication to excellent customer service. Due to the highly technical nature of their products, their customers tend to be more discerning when shopping for the technology needed for their highly advanced research projects.
Our customers have to do their homework and relay information to their colleagues about the purchase of our equipment. When you’re talking to huge government organizations like environmental agencies, national park services, or large consulting firms, they have to stand by their purchase choices. They have to make calculated decisions based on the information we give them because the work they do and the data they extract using our products are so important.
– Patrick Higgins, Digital Marketing & Social Manager, Xylem Analytics
Prior to implementing chat, prospects and customers had to fill out a form to be contacted, send an email, or make a phone call. YSI wanted to provide another solution for direct communication that had the ability to shorten the cycle between inquiry and response. With this in mind, the digital marketing team responsible for the web experience, led by Patrick Higgins and Peter Bornhorst, started the search for the right tools that would give their customers quicker answers and still be easy for their agents to use. Live chat quickly rose to the top of their list of options.
We were looking for something to help conversions since we have a very technical product line. We knew people were on the site, downloading documents, and often visiting multiple times before reaching out. But that’s where we lost our touch point. We knew we could make it easier to communicate with prospects as part of their online experience. We saw chat as a more powerful conversion tool than an online form, an email, or a phone call.
– Patrick Higgins
When evaluating different live chat vendors, Peter and Patrick looked for a solution that gave them advanced capabilities like dynamic campaigns, a robust reporting suite, and flexible customization options. They needed a solution that adapted to the way they worked while giving their support agents the functionality needed to service highly technical customers. Their search to find a robust live chat solution was not without extensive internal discussion. There was a lot of uncertainty over the amount of time required to complete a chat and the possible chat volume due to the technical nature of the products. Peter and Patrick were able to come to an agreement with the internal team that they would phase in the chat functionality several pages at a time until these questions were answered and the team was comfortable with the platform. They became fans after seeing what Comm100 Live Chat could do for the business.
Having the support team sit through the demos and having team members from customer service and tech support vote on which vendor to choose was a great way to get buy-in. They were immediately more comfortable with Comm100’s user interface and the overall experience. What we saw during the Comm100 demo was better than what we saw in demos from the other vendors.
– Patrick Higgins
Originally up against two other chat providers, the team chose Comm100 as much for the excellent customer experience during the sales cycle as for the platform’s capabilities. Their account team was highly responsive to questions, very receptive of product feedback, and committed to the development of innovative new features.
We really liked the robust reporting Comm100 offered. There is clearly a focus for continuous improvement on the platform. We had questions about how safe our customer data would be and what PCI form capabilities there were and those were quickly answered in the demo. We really saw a willingness to respond to customer feedback on the platform, and that was something that stood out to us as a positive sign of a strong future relationship.
– Peter Bornhorst, Website Manager, Xylem Analytics
Other capabilities that stood out include flexible chat routing, auto-translation, and co-browsing to help deliver above and beyond customer experiences. Thanks to live chat, YSI’s customers now get immediate answers to their technical questions and new customers go from inquiry to purchase faster and more seamlessly.
Comm100 Live Chat provided immediacy during the user experience and gave us another channel to communicate with customers. One of the great things about chat is we get very pointed, specific questions based on where the customer is in their journey. Our customers are smart; they are doing their homework, but sometimes just need our validation to guide them to the right product or to help them get the best data from their instrument. Chat accomplishes that and more, helping us build stronger, more personalized relationships with our customers.
– Patrick Higgins
Comm100 Live Chat allows prospects and customers to immediately start a conversation with the YSI team, so there’s no delay and no missed opportunities. The results speak for themselves: since going live with chat in 2017 they’ve attributed over a quarter million dollars in both offline and online sales directly to chat, with a total value of opportunities at over three quarters of a million dollars. Comm100 more than paid for itself in a matter of months. The team’s success with live chat extends beyond dollars. Customers appreciate the personalized one-to-one interaction and 92.5% say they would use chat again – with 9 out of 10 queries being resolved on the first try. With live chat, their team achieved an average customer satisfaction score of 4.71/5.0, validating this channel as a highly effective means of customer service. With performance far exceeding the team’s expectations, colleagues who were originally skeptics of the platform have now become vocal advocates. Demand for chat has seen steady growth and has helped YSI tap into a brand-new audience that would have never picked up the phone for support – further confirming chat’s status as a key engagement tool.
Our call numbers haven’t really dropped. I think it’s a complement to phone calls. We’re answering questions from people who would never have picked up the phone in the first place. We even have our own people who are out in the field with prospects using chat to get the information they need instead of calling.
– Peter Bornhorst
The most unconventional part of YSI’s use case is that the lion’s share of conversions – when a customer completes a sales-related action on the website – are actually triggered by their technical support team: their biggest source of new booked business from chat happens to come from support inquiries. Live chat has opened up a new revenue stream – instead of support purely being a cost center, it’s actually a highly effective sales channel.
Our customers are using traditional post-sales tools like webinars and how-to videos before they buy to understand how to use our products. They then go to our support team on live chat and ask a technical question with a pre-sales intent. It’s been really interesting. We now track our support team’s contributed revenue like we track sales. We’re thinking about routing chats through sales so they can team up with support agents to help close the deal if that’s what the customer needs.
– Patrick Higgins
For YSI, live chat is both a critical customer support channel and a significant sales channel. It allows their agents to connect with customers in real time, answer questions, and hasten the pace down the last mile of the buyer’s journey. Going forward, they plan to extend live chat to more of their product lines and expand their agent team. They are also pivoting toward a more proactive sales strategy to serve their customers better – using proactive chat invitations to reach out to their website visitors at just the right time.
For YSI, live chat is both a critical customer support channel and a significant sales channel. It allows their agents to connect with customers in real time, answer questions, and hasten the pace down the last mile of the buyer’s journey. Going forward, they plan to extend live chat to more of their product lines and expand their agent team. They are also pivoting toward a more proactive sales strategy to serve their customers better – using proactive chat invitations to reach out to their website visitors at just the right time. Interested in downloading the full case study? Click here for a pdf copy.
Not sold on live chat? You just need to go do it, find a few champions, don’t stop just because there may be fear of the unknown. Emphasize the user experience, the fact that customers want to use live chat, and how it’s a fantastic sales conversion tool. Contemporary customer experience demands it. There really are no other channels that can do all this as effectively.
– Patrick Higgins
Xylem (XYL) is a leading global water technology company committed to developing innovative technology solutions to the world’s water challenges. The Company’s products and services move, treat, analyze, monitor and return water to the environment in public utility, industrial, residential and commercial building services settings. Xylem also provides a leading portfolio of smart metering, network technologies and advanced infrastructure analytics solutions for water, electric and gas utilities. The Company’s approximately 17,000 employees bring broad applications expertise with a strong focus on identifying comprehensive, sustainable solutions. Headquartered in Rye Brook, New York with 2018 revenue of $5.2 billion, Xylem does business in more than 150 countries through a number of market-leading product brands. The name Xylem is derived from classical Greek and is the tissue that transports water in plants, highlighting the engineering efficiency of our water-centric business by linking it with the best water transportation of all – that which occurs in nature. For more information, visit them at www.xylem.com.
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