Moving fast with live chat to support customers during COVID-19 lockdown

Moving fast with live chat to support customers during COVID-19 lockdown

Kiwi equipment hire firm Hirepool moved fast in lockdown to develop a new chatbot and live chat channel to support their customers.

New Zealand’s business landscape changed rapidly as COVID-19 cases increased in March 2020, with full lockdown imminent. Kiwi equipment hire firm Hirepool moved just as fast, with the help of Helpfruit, to develop a flexible new channel to support their customers.

In just a few days and in time for lockdown, Hirepool had their Helpfruit tools up and running with live chat and an automated chatbot they could train as their customers asked questions, all while working from home. Hirepool’s GM Sales & Marketing, Gary Richardson, explains:

“We went with live chat first, so we could spin something up quickly, and learn from our customers as we went along. We could answer their questions in real time, see what they wanted to know, and then use this info to automate responses when we weren’t available – all in a single web interface.”

Hirepool used Helpfruit’s welcome engagements to foreground live chat when there was someone available to chat, and take details via a chat form outside of live chat hours.

Says Richardson:

“Turning live chat on and off is as simple as flicking a switch. When it‘s off, our chatbot automation takes over and can answer the customer’s questions, search our website for an answer, or take details for a call back. It was good to have all that fallback built in right from the beginning.”

COVID-19 information was highlighted in the welcome too, so customers could quickly and easily see the current rules around hiring equipment.

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One bot, two channels

Hirepool’s Helpfruti's chatbot also runs on Facebook Messenger, with the same knowledge base and features, and no extra maintenance.

“It doesn’t matter whether our customers get in touch with us on Facebook or on the web, they are getting a consistent experience. We have a single channel to monitor for live chat and a single knowledge base to manage and update.”

Helping customers all over the country, 24/7

Over the 7-week lockdown period, Hirepool’s bot answered more than 1300 customer questions, in a combination of live chat and automated bot responses. And it’s continuing to help, as hire opens up to the general public, with a steady flow of traffic throughout the day and into the evening:

Gary Richardson reports:

“Our bot’s proving useful in all sorts of situations. Our customers might have no cell coverage, but can get online help immediately from the bot. Or they needed help outside regular branch hours (especially during the lockdown period). It’s great to have this additional channel.”

Having some fun with features and personality

The best bots are fun to chat to, and reflect the personality of the brands they represent. Hirepool’s bot does this really well -  it’s recognisably kiwi, no nonsense with a side of friendly banter – all while getting the job done.

Portaloo FAQ example

Hirepool has also incorporated existing video content into their bot’s answers, creating a rich interaction and a bit of customer education along the way!

Hirepool is all about doing things smarter, with the right tools for the job. With Helpfruit hey found a smart way to add chat – live and automated - to their customer service repertoire. Chat to us if you’d like to do the same.

This article was orginally published by FAQ Bot. FAQ Bot rebranded to Helpfruit in April 2024. This article has been updated accordingly.