Canadian Blood Services is a non-profit charitable organization that provides lifesaving products and services in transfusion and transplantation for Canadian patients. It also safeguards Canada’s systems of life essentials in plasma, stem cells, organs and tissues. Canadian Blood Services assumed stewardship of the national blood system in 1998 and now has 4,000 staff and 17,000 volunteers across Canada.
The success of Canadian Blood Services’ work is dependent on its ability to attract and retain donors. Because of this, they are committed to providing the best possible experience at every stage of the relationship, and customer support is at the heart of this. The phone had been their primary customer service channel since 2003. Although this channel has its value, the customer services team recognized its major shortcomings in today’s digital-first world.
Firstly, agents can only handle one phone call at a time. This often leads to high wait times and subsequent low customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores. Even more damaging, however, is the unpopularity of telephone communication with their younger donor demographic. Having to call customer support can be the decisive obstacle to interaction for customers who prefer digital communication for its more accessible and less obtrusive nature.
The customer relations team recognized that a digital customer service channel could lower these barriers to engagement, reduce abandonment rates, and increase appointment bookings — and live chat was the perfect solution to provide this.
After a trial with another live chat provider in 2015, Canadian Blood Services turned to Comm100 and were immediately impressed by the platform’s flexibility and robust features. They installed Comm100 on their website in September 2018 with seats for 20 dedicated frontline agents. As Denny Michaud, Customer Relations Manager at Canadian Blood Services, explained:
“We knew that we weren’t reaching a whole demographic profile because we were only offering phone and email support. If we wanted to connect with these potential donors, we had to provide them with a digital channel that was convenient and instant — and live chat was the obvious answer.”
– Denny Michaud, Customer Relations Manager
Since installing Comm100, Canadian Blood Services receives an average of 7,000 web chats a month. Once live chat was introduced, however, call volumes did not decrease as expected. This shows that while some donors still preferred to call, many others were so uncomfortable with the phone that they simply wouldn’t reach out at all. Thanks to live chat, the organization can now connect with this large, growing, and previously unreachable target audience.
“As the telephone channel was becoming less and less popular, live chat has enabled us to reach a whole new audience that we otherwise were missing out on.”
– Denny Michaud
Finding a live chat solution with sophisticated routing capabilities to mirror their unique workflow was crucial to Canadian Blood Services. As with many organizations, while many live chat queries can be fielded by frontline customer service agents, complex issues require escalation to experts who are better qualified to respond. Comm100’s advanced routing technology makes easy work of this, ensuring that the customer is quickly connected with the appropriate staff member – in this case a nurse – without having to re-start the conversation and require repetition.
The speed and smoothness of this interaction is critical to the customer experience. Prior to using Comm100 Live Chat, when conversations had to be escalated to the nurse, the agent had to transfer the conversation from chat to the phone. This experience was disjointed and laborious, and CSAT scores suffered as a result. However, once Comm100’s solution was set up, CSAT ratings recovered and now average 4.5 out of 5.
Canadian Blood Services was also able to leverage live chat to teach customers how to use its newly-launched self-serve web-based account management platform—embedding live chat in this new system helped mitigate frustration and encourage broader adoption. The enhanced customer experience drove an increase in repeat appointments — a key goal of its modernized customer engagement strategy.
“The ability to enable us to be compliant with our rigorous, security and privacy are absolutely critical to everything we do. We had to find a live chat vendor that could meet these high standards. There were many that couldn’t demonstrate this, or even speak to it — but Comm100 ticked every compliance box that we needed. Their security is next-level.” – Denny Michaud
“One of the absolute best things about Comm100 is its usability. The agent console is so great to use, whether that be from the perspective of the customer service representative, the supervisor, or the report analyst. All the information you need is right in front of you, and it’s extremely customizable for our specific needs.” – Denny Michaud
“When we implemented Comm100, there was a great buzz within the team. All our CSRs wanted to move from telephone to live chat. It really helped to invigorate the team, and we know that happier agents lead to better service to our donors — so it really is a win-win.
It also showed a real interest in the employees and their futures. By investing in this new technology, it emphasized their importance to the organization, and I am certain this has a big impact on retention.” – Denny Michaud
Canadian Blood Services was in a position that many organizations can relate to — telephone may have been the most common way to communicate with customers, but it was no longer the only way, nor the most preferred for many. Their successful launch and subsequent broad adoption of live chat by their donors — and the high customer satisfaction ratings they’re earning — proves that today’s consumers value the immediacy and accessibility of digital communication.
As Denny summarized:
“There’s just no choice. If you want to compete and future-proof yourself and your team, you have to offer live chat.”
– Denny Michaud
This will allow them to offer more communication choices and provide connected, efficient and personalized support to all potential and current customers. Watch this space for an update!