With 10 showrooms, the ten-year-old Lab21 is the fastest growing flooring company in the Dutch flooring market. Lab21 stands for Life At Best. The main strength of Lab21? A personal approach, great service and the right expertise. Lab21 sees its customers as family. Every customer gets the best floor for the best price, with the best service.
Online and offline information
Great service in the flooring market does not only consist of addressing visitors in a friendly way or sending the right floor layers. Offline, too, the service must meet the customer’s expectations. Len explains: ‘Lab21 is always looking for new and better ways to improve our service and sales process. We decided to use a chatbot, because we found that 90% of the questions could be answered with a simple answer. By automating, we are able to supply 24/7 information service for our customers.’
A comfortable service matching the product
The start of a successful chatbot is to define the objectives of the chatbot. A clear vision on the own product and the needs of the customer is the basis. Len: ‘We sell a product that a customer buys once every 5 to 7 years. The number of customers is not the only important thing for us, the comfort you offer the customers plays a crucial role too. Whether someone visits the showroom or the website, they need support during the purchasing process and an answer to the questions they might be having.’
“We decided to use a chatbot, because we found that 90% of the questions could be answered with a simple answer.”
Going through the different chatbot building phases
Developing a chatbot entails several phases. For Lab21, Len divided this into three different phases: ‘Developing a chatbot by means of a trial and error phase, is the best way to achieve the best results.’ Lab21 started with Chatbot Mark, who had a nice stock picture as a profile picture, which caused confusion. Now it’s Chatbot Floor, clearly a robot with a fun pun as nickname. In this phase, she also switched from an open to a closed chatbot with conversations. ‘The conversations offer an easy and well-organized way of answering customers’ questions. We are now in the phase where chatbot Floor provides stable support to the operational team. In the next phase, Floor will be a true mainstay for the operational department due to the link with our other systems. Customers will then be able to request their order status from Floor, for example’.
‘We chose Watermelon because of the user-friendliness of the platform. In a very accessible way, we can learn to deal with chatbots and gain very valuable experience thanks to the new technology. Building the chatbot is simple and speaks for itself’.
Not a replacement, but a valuable addition
Some companies are afraid that chatbots will take over customer service. Lab21 has experienced with their own hands that this is not the case: ‘We don’t see the chatbot as a replacement, but as a very valuable addition to our service. Chatbot Floor answers questions after closing time and during the weekend, while employees offer extra support during office hours. The combination offers an optimal service’.
Re-activation of improvement process
Maintaining a chatbot is an ongoing process. Through the statistics and extra help from Watermelon, it is made easy to optimize the chatbot. ‘Customer Success Manager Elmer (Watermelon) supports me in analyzing the statistics and optimizing the conversation trees. The statistics are essential. This allows us to set strategic goals and monitor if these goals are achieved. The use of the chat by our employees and the common topics from the customer are easy to see. With the new functionality of the Free Fields we can automatically import the right information in the CRM.’
“The statistics are essential. This allows us to set strategic goals and monitor if these goals are achieved.”
Room for development
The goal of the chatbot is to improve the customer experience, 48% of the customers indicate to have had a good experience when communicating with the chatbot. Here’s another optimization battle of which Len already knows how to tackle this: ‘In the near future we would like to integrate our lead generation system with Watermelon. In this way, customers will also be able to request things like order status. A functionality that is coming up which we are really looking forward to. Nice to grow with your supplier in this way!
Increasing customer satisfaction also has another effect. On average, there are 370 conversations per month via the chatbot. Previously, these would have been e-mails or phone calls, saving about 60 hours per month (based on an average handling time of 10 minutes). A win-win situation! With the linking of other systems, this will most likely increase even further and the customer will get an even better experience.
‘Customer service has improved and we offer our customers the opportunity to ask Lab21 questions online and offline. We are not only available during office hours, but also after closing time and during weekends. In this way, we offer better information which will only improve further with the great plans for the future’.
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