Where Messaging and Bots Will Have The Biggest Impact
Chatbots are enjoying a surge in retail due to the widespread popularity of messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Live Chat, and rich messaging services like Apple Business Chat, and Google Business Messages.
These channels have changed the digital experience by making the shopping experience a two-way interaction instead of just a flat transaction through conversational commerce. Simple, convenient purchases are completed within the messaging conversation and are instant, real-time, and available across multiple channels like text, live chat, or even in a company’s own app .
The introduction of chatbots has made all of these benefits available 24/7. Pre-sales service and post-sales support are the two main areas companies use messaging and bots and where you’ll see the biggest impact this holiday season.
Take a look at the difference messaging and bots make:
- Making seasonal and full-time work more productive
As customers continue to do more of their shopping online, retailers are also seeing huge increases in the number of interactions with their contact center. While the holidays normally cause a spike in requests, this holiday season will likely see an unprecedented increase in customer inquiries.
Hiring seasonal and part-time employees is the traditional way to handle that increase. Stio’s Customer Experience Manager, Kim Essensa states that a big focus of hiring seasonal staff should be shortening the training time as much as possible to get them up and running as quickly as possible.
In the webinar Kim states “One thing that appealed to us about a product like Quiq is just how simple it is for an agent to learn and kind of get off the ground and get productive quickly without a lot of training required.” But human agents aren’t the only option.
With the help of chatbots, customers will be able to self-serve within seconds in most cases. From routine issues, such as I forgot my password to more complex requests such as initiating a return, chatbots can link customers and backend systems and data to resolve those issues automatically.
Customers have an expectation of what holiday shopping is like with extended wait times and retailers selling out of an item. Another area where you’ll see a big impact, with messaging and bots in retail, is notifying customers of any unexpected delays or stock-outs.
For example, Kim from Stio knows that their warehouse is great and products are shipping out correctly and on time. She knows she’s not alone though when she says the company gets nervous once the delivery is in the carriers’ hands. Many of the delivery times have been delayed due to the pandemic. That picture only gets worse as weather and increased delivery volumes make it even more challenging.
Consumers today expect retailers to provide information in real-time. Alerts, such as a shipping or delivery confirmation, are what consumers are looking for. With valuable merchandise sitting vulnerably on their front porch, consumers are more aware than ever of the security real-time notifications provide.
- Expediting the Return Process
After the holidays, retailers are usually flooded with returns and exchanges. This holiday season the return process will look a lot different for many retailers who are adjusting the return window to ease customers’ concerns of getting their money back after buying online.
Retailers, especially those in apparel, should expect to see returns and exchanges at a higher rate than previous years since online purchases experience higher return rates than in-store purchases. According to research and consulting firm 1010data, shoppers typically return about 17% of all clothing purchases, making it one of the most-returned categories of goods.
Devlin states that returns represent some of the longest interactions with customers at Lululemon. Prior to implementing messaging and bots, the company was processing each return manually. Lululemon now uses bots to capture more information about what kind of return it, capture pictures, etc. Devlin suggests looking for ways in the return process to take interaction time away from the returns process and use it to help customers with more valued conversations.