Albert Heijn is The Netherlands’ largest supermarket chain. And like most B2C brands, customer communication is a major focus for them. It’s the cornerstone of their success and what keeps consumers coming back to them.
In 2018 their communications channels consisted of phone, email, live chat and omni-messaging. With Phone and email taking the lion’s share at 80%.
But fast forward 2 years later and today messaging channels are their #1 communication channel. With the 80/20 split flipped on its head. A complete transformation in just 24 months!
Why the shift to messaging channels?
In a nutshell, it’s what today’s consumers want. We’ve highlighted it countless times before. 7 out 10 consumers prefer messaging a business (via live chat or WhatsApp) than contacting them via phone or email.
And with phone calls being plagued with IVR systems and ruined by long wait times. It’s easy to see why consumers are shifting to channels that give them more control.
The average phone call lasts 2-3 minutes (…if you get through to someone and not factoring in waiting times which can easily triple this) and requires a 1-1 call to agent ratio. This might not sound like much until you factor in daily call volumes.
Hours can end up being spent on a small number of calls per day per agent.
Albert Heijn reacted to this shift by shutting down their email channel and actively promoted live chat, WhatsApp and their other messaging channels as their main contact point.
• Their team were able to save time and better utilise resources
• They were able to scale without inflating staff costs
• Improved customer satisfaction metrics
• Continued market share growth
What can car dealers learn from this?
The reality is this shift isn’t unique to retail. Today more and more car buyers are starting their journeys online.
And whether it’s to purchase a new car or book a service appointment, consumers want to contact dealerships efficiently, directly and on their own terms. Every sale starts with a conversation and messaging allows dealerships to start that conversation earlier in the funnel.
The dealerships accepting that reality are the ones winning over today’s consumers.