Customer service is rapidly evolving in this new era of conversational commerce. As messaging apps increasingly become prime channels for customer engagement, brands are shifting focus to providing more personalized, comprehensive, and timely service. The hot new technology to deliver such premium service is chat bots, which many believe will transform customer service as we know it. Defined as artificial intelligence software programs that simulate intelligent conversation, chat bots enable people to interact with them through chat interfaces using both textual and audio means. Given the rising demand for self-service and authentic, one-on-one customer interactions, chat bots may be the key to delivering the most seamless customer experiences yet. Here are five ways chat bots will revolutionize customer service.
Chat bots may deliver many personalized services, from giving weather and news updates tailored to an individual’s preferences to assisting customers with complex purchasing decisions. If a customer needs help researching a product, for example, a chat bot can search a product catalogue and make personalized recommendations or highlight sales items of interest. Once a customer is ready to make a purchase, the entire sales transaction may be handled by chat bots as well, from accepting payment to providing shipping details. And should a customer need human support, many brands are ensuring that customers have access to human agents as well, providing an optimum balance of automation and human assistance.
Due to their artificial intelligence function, chat bots ensure faster service by taking on the tasks a customer usually handles. Customers no longer need to shift from one channel to another when researching a product or making a purchase, saving time and getting more accurate information thanks to the intelligence and speed of chat bots. Human agents can step in to handle more complex tasks when needed, and pre-saved text responses may be customized throughout a service interaction to keep a conversation going should agents need more time to find a specific answer. In some industries, brands have made their entire purchase experience faster than ever, most notably restaurant chains such as Domino’s Pizza and Taco Bell that enable food deliveries to take place more swiftly through chat bots. Overall, chat bots allow customers to benefit from more precise service in a timelier manner.
Omnichannel brands need not worry, as customers still enjoy interacting with brands across different channels. However, for those who prefer using their mobile devices and are already active users of messaging apps, chat bots can deliver a truly seamless experience. Mobile customers are often pressed for time and have, in many studies, shown frustration over a lack of mobile optimization when interacting with brands. Chat bots ensure that mobile customers may begin and complete a transaction within a single messaging app or chat interface, eliminating the need to make a call or consult a company website for additional support.
Millennials are known to be dominant mobile users. According to a study by Blackhawk Engagement Solutions, 89% of millennials use smartphones to connect to the web, while Hanover Research found that millennials are more likely than other generations to use mobile devices to make purchases, with 50% using such devices to research products and reviews compared to 21% of non-millennials. As chat bots are integrated into messaging apps and chat interfaces such as Facebook Messenger, Kik, and WhatsApp (to name just a few) that are already popular with millennials, chat bots and the whole concept of conversational commerce have tremendous appeal for this generation that likes using apps for just about everything. Retail brands such as H&M and Sephora, for example, have both embraced Kik for providing their young consumers with personalized assistance through chat bots. Snapchat, a popular millennial messaging app, also introduced Snapcash in 2015, a virtual wallet allowing users to send money to friends through simple messaging.
These days, most brands would say that treating customers like valued individuals is critical to winning their long-term loyalty. As chat bots provide customers with more personalized, efficient, and overall pleasing service, customers and brands are more likely to grow deeper relationships as consumer confidence and satisfaction grow. Customers will feel more empowered by the automation chat bots provide, as they will save time and receive more comprehensive service from brands that have clearly made the effort to engage them and meet their needs.Chat bots are instrumental in our modern era of conversational commerce, serving as a prime tool for providing seamless customer experiences. Already a worldwide leader in cloud-based contact center software solutions for customer service and sales, Vocalcom chose to integrate Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WeChat, Viber, Kik, and conversational SMS into its cloud contact center platform to evolve into a conversational commerce platform. Conversational interactions through text messaging, in-app messaging, and platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Telegram, WeChat, Viber, and more allow customers to engage with brands in real-time or asynchronously through a single thread, offering a data-rich context that enables customers to switch easily between channels in a single interaction for true customer satisfaction. Currently, 40% of companies have seen a call deflection rate when shifting customers to SMS, and 23% have plans to add it this year, resulting in more than 60% of all contact centers offering SMS support by the end of 2016. Learn more about the Vocalcom conversational commerce platform for delivering great customer experiences of the future.
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