Kuopio is the eight largest city in Finland with approximately 118,000,000 inhabitants. The city, as well as the port of Kuopio, is located by Lake Kallavesi. For tourists, one of the main attractions in Kuopio is the Puijo Tower, while students are drawn to the city by the University of Eastern Finland located in the city as well.
The beginning of 2017 introduced the renewed website for the city of Kuopio. The site is directed not only at the residents of the city, but also, e.g., tourists and people looking into moving to Kuopio. The renewal of the website added also the previously-piloted online customer service, carried out through Smilee’s solution, as a permanent part of the site. “We decided to make the chat one of our everyday customer service channels, because we simply liked it so much”, says Riikka Nissinen, Customer Service Agent at the Kuopio Info Customer Service and Information Center. The Kuopio Info staff, including Nissinen, carry out also the customer service online at Kuopio.fi.
“Usually, the chats are about the people asking us to help them find information for them on the website - be it contact information to certain people or places, or a form that needs to be filled in by the customer”, Riikka Nissinen says. “I think the chat has brought new customers to us here at the Kuopio Info, because online customer service is low-threshold customer service which works fast and simplifies the processes in customer service”, Riikka continues. “In my eyes, the chat customers can be divided into two groups: completely new customers, and the returning customers switching channels between the traditional channels, i.e., the phone and the email, and the chat.”
Regular service hours and clear division of labor - a firm basis for online customer service
“The service hours at the online customer service at Kuopio.fi are the same as they are here at the physical Kuopio Info office, which means Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM. Currently, our customer service team consists of two people, who take care of all the customer service here at Kuopio Info. But, in two weeks, another person is going to be added to the team, so that we will be three then”, Riikka Nissinen says.
“The staff here at Kuopio info answer all the chat messages sent through the front page at Kuopio.fi. In the future, we strive to increase our online customer service resources so that each page at Kuopio.fi would have a special team of experts online responding to the chat messages related to their own areas of expertise. Actually, this is already true on the Housing and Districts-page!”
Positive feedback only
“The fact that the chat is there at Kuopio.fi has received nothing but positive feedback. Both the residents and us here at Customer Service are very happy. Our customers want fast service and the chat brings us an opportunity to provide the customers with it, so the chat has been very much liked here, “ Riikka Nissinen sums up the customer experiences. “The best thing about the chat is, indeed, the fast pace of the conversations that it enables: The email threads, for example, can take days to build up, while the chats are always fast. The fastest chats we’ve had have taken about 10-15 seconds, leaving both the customer and the representative happy.”
“Another positive side to the chat is that it reduces the pressure on the phone and the email as customer service channels. the only challenge that we’ve faced after the installation of the chat solution on our website is the occasional queues in the service - but as we are expecting a third team member to join us here at Kuopio Info soon, this should not be a problem for long anymore!”
But, would Kuopio recommend online customer service to other cities as well?
“The latest chat I had was a good example of a great online customer experience created with the help of online customer service. Here in Kuopio, we use digital services in Health Care a lot. My customer was an elderly person having problems with logging into their personal account. The customer was really thankful for the help and assistance that I provided”, Riikka says. “Finally, I would like to say that, in my opinion, the Smilee online customer service solution is a great and simple tool for customer suppor online. On a scale of 1-5, I would definitely recommend give it a full five and recommend it to other cities as well.”