Bots and Conversational Commerce: At Your Service
Customer service Bots
Excellent customer service has always been at the forefront of any brand’s strategy. Today’s customers want more than the traditional one-sided transaction; they want a two-way interaction. They want to connect and engage with their brands. Enterprises that are doing this effectively are already discovering the merits of a personal, actionable conversation through higher profit margins and an increased rate of loyalty and, by extension, advocacy. Humanizing the conversation between consumer and brand is becoming an integral factor in an effective marketing strategy. This sort of personalized customer engagement is known as “conversational commerce,” and with advancements in automation, the union of bots and conversational commerce is quickly becoming a dominant digital strategy.
Conversational Commerce Explained
Traditional human-to-machine interactions use a GUI (graphical user interface) that requires navigating multiple menus or screens and limits availability by location or device. Furthermore, these sorts of interactions are one-way; the user is not so much interacting with inputting. Not only do they lack the personalization that modern consumers desire, they are usually made as a “one-size-fits-all” solution to route customers to a particular end, rather than addressing individual needs.
A chatbot, also simply referred to as bot can be accessed from virtually any device, from any location, and can be deployed to a number of channels—making it available anytime, from anywhere.
Bots and conversational commerce create a self-service solution that bridges the gap between brand and consumer by means of a meaningful, engaging interaction.
Conventional Failure to Engage
With the widespread popularity of social media—the new “word of mouth”—it’s more important than ever for brands to not only retain customers but to turn them into advocates. Research has shown that a single poor service experience is enough to inspire a customer to abandon a brand. Moreover, consumers are three times more likely to share poor service experiences now than only five years ago.
Modern consumers desire a personalized, proactive conversation with brands and businesses. Being personal is to humanize an interaction, and being proactive means to be contextually aware of a consumer in real-time. These two factors combined create an engaging interaction between consumer and brand.
Bots use contextual awareness to respond to customer inquiries in a way that gets answers quickly and efficiently. Bots eliminate the need for lengthy hold times on a phone or waiting for an email reply, and create that seamless experience that consumers seek in modern service.
Humanizing an Automated Experience
Bots track user interaction, which makes it easier to offer heuristic solutions that anticipate each consumer’s individual needs. By understanding a customer’s preferences, tendencies, and history, a bot can get to “know” you, much in the same way a shop owner might at a physical storefront location. This personalization further humanizes the service experience, and use cases show that enterprises using bots for conversational commerce are already seeing higher sales and greater advocacy as a result.
This type of two-way communication becomes a proactive relationship, which is why some bots, depending on their use, are coming to be known as personal assistants. Much in the same way that a human assistant might remind you of an upcoming birthday or a particular offer that’s relevant to your tastes, a bot can send reminders and notifications that are both proactive and personal.
Service-response delays between consumers and brands are all but eliminated with bots. Soon the days of long hold times on the phone or confusing web chats will be gone; inquiries are either responded to and resolved by a bot, or a customer is routed to a live service agent in real-time, regardless of the channel—and seamlessly, so that the interaction is not interrupted and the consumer does not have to spend time reiterating their request.
Bots are capable of much more than most people are aware, and new use cases are emerging daily that demonstrate their value across several industries. As advancements are made in artificial intelligence and heuristic learning, bots are becoming increasingly intelligent and accessible to a broader audience than ever before.