CEO at Vee24.
Excellent service is the key to happy customers. Nearly 80% of U.S. shoppers cite speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service as essential to a satisfying experience. As consumers spend more time shopping online, retailers need to adapt by making the digital experience fast, convenient and enjoyable. Online shoppers should be wowed by a digital shopping experience that lets them place an order, get product help, confirm a package delivery or process a return with ease. Efficient, personalized customer service will motivate customers to return again and again.
Along with the demand for online convenience, human engagement matters to shoppers now more than ever. As many as 82% of U.S. and 75% of international consumers want more human interaction while shopping in the future. The technology facilitating both AI-powered engagement and connections to live agents must be frictionless and accessible across all platforms to meet the needs of today’s demanding consumers.
As they build their digital strategy, retailers will need to determine how to balance automation with live customer service in a way that creates the ideal customer experience while also helping to meet the business goals of operational efficiency and cost savings.
Using intelligent automation can help brands better manage online volume cost-effectively. But relying too heavily on automation can provide an impersonal or even frustrating customer experience for more complex transactions. Retailers need to strike a balance between automation and offering a personalized, “white glove” service. A satisfying, effective digital experience starts with self-service engagement with intelligent automation and moves seamlessly to assistance from a real person the moment a human touch is needed. As retailers consider the customer journey from consultative selling to post-sales, here are some considerations to balance live help with automated service.
Intelligent Chatbots Streamline the Volume of Customer Requests
Chatbots can be an efficient tool for making fast, effective improvements to the customer experience. The largest percentage of customer service inquiries are frequently asked questions (FAQs): What are the store hours? What is the return policy? When will my order arrive? An AI-enabled chatbot can answer these questions in seconds or guide the customer to the relevant website page using co-browsing technology. Handling easy-answer inquiries with effective self-service reduces contact center volume dramatically while increasing customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores.
Deploying chatbots to respond to FAQs can take a significant amount of pressure off live agents quickly. Agents can then focus on delivering personalized, knowledgeable service to customers whose needs are more complex. An intelligent chatbot solution can be implemented quickly — in weeks, not months. Over time, chatbots can take on an even bigger role, solving more complicated problems, as they become more capable via advanced journey analytics, natural language processing and deep learning.
By deploying automated customer care and creating a seamless link to live service, savvy retailers can decrease response times, improve customer satisfaction and build trust with shoppers who value fast, responsive service.
A Smooth Handoff from Automation To Human Elevates The Customer Experience
Online shoppers are quick to abandon a retailer if they feel they aren’t getting prompt service that meets their needs. Although chatbots are a strategic element of any digital strategy, they cannot solve all business objectives. Balancing automation and live customer engagement are key to delivering a personalized and satisfying customer experience.
When a chatbot can’t quickly address a customer’s inquiry or the customer’s behavior indicates they aren’t satisfied, it’s imperative that a bot immediately hands the customer off to a person who can help using text or video chat. The hand-off must be a seamless transfer on the same platform, with no additional action required from the customer. The way to build trust with consumers is to ensure they are never trapped in an automation dungeon but rather are effortlessly connected to a real person when a bot is unable to meet their needs. Whether the consumer is asking for assistance post-purchase or is becoming a qualified lead to hand off to a sales or product specialist, it is essential to understand and identify when a person in the buying process is ready to talk to a human.
An Ongoing Focus On The Customer Journey And AI-Driven Learning Can Further Balance Automated and Live Help
While the personal connections live agents form with customers are essential, persistently evaluating the role chatbots play in the customer experience is key to the long-term success in balancing automation and live support. Chatbots are not a “set it and forget it” technology. Over time, chatbots can use deep learning to better understand a customer’s intent, increasing their effectiveness and expanding the use cases they can support. Companies can also identify common use cases and create curated journeys that provide customers with faster, more efficient service from both bots and live agents.
Smart Technology And Human Interaction Combine For The Ultimate Virtual Experience
Chatbots play a major role in the digital customer journey for both the customer service team and sales and marketing teams. In addition to AI-powered chatbots, live engagement technologies help retailers capture that “wow” experience for online customers. These tools include text chat, video chat, real-time collaboration, co-browsing and co-form fill, which can all play a role in making the virtual shopping experience easy and satisfying.
Businesses can capture new customers in the growing online retail market by delivering an online shopping experience that is comparable to or better than in-person shopping. Carefully choreographing live sales and customer service assistance and automation can help retailers maximize resources while building strong, long-lasting relationships.