Customer service and chatbots, the ideal relationship
Chatbots can solve queries in real-time, making customer service efficient and effective
As new technological tools are developed and incorporated in areas considered vital to companies, like customer service, consumer's behavior is also changing. Consumers are becoming more sophisticated and demanding in terms of their shopping experience, and therefore require more advanced attention, along with quick and prompt responses in all their interactions with a company.
"The digital environment ushers in the need for many customers to have meaningful experiences with companies, that is, intelligent interactions that make them feel connected, and therein lies the importance of chatbots, especially those based on Artificial Intelligence (AI)," claims Gustavo Parés, CEO at NDS Cognitive Labs, a Mexican company specialized in Artificial Intelligence.
In recent years, but especially as a result of the pandemic, online shopping has increased exponentially. According to a study conducted by the Asociación Mexicana de Ventas (Mexican Association of Online Sales, AMVO), 2 out of 10 companies have registered a growth of over 300% in their online sales, and by 2021, 19% plan for e-commerce to account for more than 30% of their total sales. This is leading consumers to explore new channels of communication with companies that are responsive to their immediacy, accessibility and immediate availability.
According to Gartner, by the end of 2020, nearly 85% of the interactions between companies and their customers will be conducted through AI-based tools.
"Conversational AI-based chatbots are effective and personalized solutions for each type of customer query; they are available at all times, they understand and respond to natural language, and can even speak several languages; they also collect valuable data that allows them to improve their responses and enhance each purchase by offering products and/or services according to the customer's tastes and interests," explains Parés.
Given their enormous usefulness, by 2021, 50% of the companies that already use chatbots plan to invest more in perfecting this tool than in developing traditional mobile applications, which will mean that globally, one out of every six customer service interactions will be handled by these virtual assistants, according to Gartner.
According to Salesforce, an additional advantage that chatbots provide is that "they can immerse themselves in a company's customer service system to retrieve the status of the order," meaning that they provide updated information and follow up on the purchase at all times.
Interacting with a chatbot has great advantages, but for Parés the main one is based on "generating a great shopping experience from the very beginning until the customer has received his order. A good communication between the customer and the company demonstrates the commitment to offer a reliable and personal service that understands the customer and is there for them when they need it".
According to a study titled Can Virtual Experiences Replace Reality? by Oracle, the key for companies of the future is to understand that we are in the "Era of the Customer", so brands that manage to deliver a seamless and engaging digital experience at their convenience will build customer trust and loyalty.
To do this, they must synchronize all their service areas "to ensure that each team can give customers a consistent, positive experience that meets their expectations at all stages of the customer journey."
According to NDS Cognitive Labs, chatbots are the main tool in improving the experience of the customer service area within companies, since:
How does a chatbot improve customer service?
The key is in the data. A chatbot stores and analyzes valuable data from all the interactions it has had with customers. This information is pure gold, as it allows the virtual assistant to not only refine its responses, but to automatically understand the customer better through its use.
Understand customer’s needs. Profiling the average consumer is not enough to gain a deep understanding of individual customers; personalized information is required to connect with each one. This is achieved through implementing a chatbot, as it can store information about each of the user's previous purchases or visits and generate personalized suggestions.
Service improvements. You can also collect user suggestions, determine what are the most frequent queries, as well as what they like and dislike about the company. This allows brands to adapt several aspects of their company according to customers' tastes and improve in specific areas or solve service problems.
Efficiency and effectiveness. Chatbots are efficient and effective, since they solve all kinds of queries in real time and always seek customer satisfaction. Even if several queries are required at the same time, these virtual assistants are able to solve them all at the same time, with no mistakes or oversights.
Give the customer what they are looking for. For many users, navigating websites is often complicated. Many times, they do not find what they are looking for and this makes them give up on their purchases. A chatbot can speed up this process, providing the customer with what they are looking for, but also making shopping suggestions, which help users save time and encourages them to come back after a satisfactory experience.
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