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Sparkcentral Empowers ENGIE to Better Service Customers through WhatsApp

As Belgium’s largest energy provider, ENGIE is one of Sparkcentral’s foremost clients in Europe. A subsidiary of the globally recognized ENGIE Group, the European utility company specializes in renewable energy solutions that include low-cost electricity and natural gas. Over the years, ENGIE has learned that receptivity and adaptability are the watchwords of success. This innovative business approach has kept the company in continuous operation since 1905. More than a century later, ENGIE still strives to provide topnotch customer service and satisfaction for its 2 million consumers.

In the 21st century, that means keeping up with the latest technological trends. Research reveals that the same impetus that has compelled companies to switch from phone to email is now causing forward-thinking businesses to move from a phone or email support to live messaging solutions. ENGIE aims to be at the forefront of that movement with Sparkcentral’s messaging solution.

Everyone has had a poor customer service experience, whether it’s over the phone or by email. Most customers dread having to set aside time to resolve the issue in the first place. A long wait is often superseded by an incompetent agent, who may place the customer on hold as they try to assess the situation. According to a Contact Center EX Study conducted by SQM Group, 28 percent of customers’ issues aren’t resolved during the first call – a significant number, given that customer satisfaction, drops 15 percent with each callback, and 19 percent of customers with unresolved issues report their intention to discontinue their association with the business, product or service.

While email reduces the need to pencil in the dreaded customer service interaction, in some cases, it only lengthens the time it takes to resolve the issue, turning what would’ve been a 30-minute phone headache into a days-long migraine. Nowadays, people do everything on the go from their smartphones. They want to resolve issues while they’re thinking about them, in any available cracks of time, on their lunch breaks or in their doctors’ waiting rooms. The last thing they want to do is carve out a special time to contact Customer Service or spend days trying to resolve an issue that shouldn’t have occurred in the first place.

Frustrations like these motivated ENGIE to find a better way to tackle their customer service channels. After careful consideration, they felt that Sparkcentral’s innovative platform provided the best solution for handling agent-consumer contact with a high degree of ingenuity, flexibility, and security. In addition to adding social media channels like Facebook Messenger and Twitter in 2017, ENGIE has recently begun out-phasing live chat in favor of Sparkcentral’s messaging solution. As of December 2018, customers can now contact ENGIE via WhatsApp, which offers free messaging and secure end-to-end encryption.

Within the first couple of months of implementation, customers showed a marked preference for the

WhatsApp service channel, with 30 percent favoring it over Twitter (1%), Facebook (1%), and Facebook

Messenger (21%). The only other messaging channel still above WhatsApp is not a messaging app: web chat (47%), also managed through the Sparkcentral platform. Even more encouraging, inbound volume has tripled since introducing a new chatbot, without exploding cost, due to how the platform optimizes the agent workflow. Clearly, the ability to manage coexisting live chat and instant messaging systems from one platform is a big bonus for businesses that are trying to transition to the next level of 21st-century tech tools.

The stats support this move. People spend 33% of their mobile time text messaging and 38% of their mobile time on social media channels, according to Sparkcentral’s “The State of Digital Customer Service in 2018” report. The same report found that 41% of millennial consumers say they would be “truly satisfied” if they could use messaging or SMS to engage companies. Meanwhile, there was only one channel that experienced a (12%) decline in volume in 2016 and that was the phone. Clearly, the landscape is changing at a rapid pace.

Thanks to Sparkcentral’s integrative, multi-channel messaging solution, ENGIE customers can contact their energy provider as quickly and conveniently as they contact their family and friends. No more waiting. No more holding. No more headaches. And that’s something every customer can appreciate.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

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