How retailers can use bots to bolster customer convenience
We’re witnessing a revolution in customer service. Customer convenience is becoming a brand distinguisher, and bots are playing a key role.
According to Salesforce, 81% of customers say that their loyalty is affected by how quickly a brand responds, while 73% identified personalised customer care as influencing loyalty. Customers want fast responses to their questions, but they also want them to be considered responses.
With apps like Facebook Messenger driving down the time retailers have to respond to customers (where brands have to respond within 15 minutes to receive the ‘very responsive to messages’ badge), retailers are under more pressure than ever to resolve queries quickly.
As customer convenience becomes an expectation, retailers are turning to automated tools that use natural language understanding (such as bots) to take an early lead in providing the fast and dependable service that customers demand.
Bots boost proactive customer care
Our research found that up to 78% of retail customer queries could be answered by bots, with no drop in customer experience. Most enquires were “where’s my order?” or return and refund focused, with just 22% of questions dealing with more complex issues.
Most of these questions are better answered by bots. Bots can scan for — and match up — information almost instantly and with little risk of error. Customers with simple queries receive a fast response and go away happy – leaving customer service agents with time to focus where their skills can have the greatest impact.
Ensuring customers receive a consistent service
It’s no surprise that we found the post-Christmas period was tremendously busy for retailers and delivery companies when it came to customer queries.
Bots can serve as the perfect way to take the pressure off customer service teams during these peak periods. Our research found that 22% of customer queries our clients received in January were variants of “where is my order?”. Having a bot in place to answer these simple questions takes the pressure off the customer service team, allowing them to process more queries and spend more time on those issues that need the human touch.
Keeping up with customer demand
Customers use the contact methods that suit their needs at the time. Retailers should use technology to track a customer’s ongoing query over several channels. It means that agents have all the details to hand when speaking to the customer, ensuring that they don’t get frustrated by covering old ground since there’s no need to ask.
Our research found that, for some retailers, up to 60% of customer enquiries are via webchat, where people expect an immediate response. If this option isn’t available, or a response takes too long, customers are likely to turn to social media to get the retailer’s attention (or phone or email if the issue is complex), increasing the volume of queries per customer that the team needs to deal with. Bots can collate information from multiple channels and use the information to create responses to simple queries, allowing human agents to focus on more complex issues.
Customer convenience will be the driving force of customer service over the next few years; bots are a critical part of delivering that for retailers.
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