Contribution from Camille Franceschi, Co-founder & CEO, Joonbot
It is forecasted that by 2022, customer service interactions taking place on the phone with a customer support representative will shrink to just 12%. We have all seen it, Covid-19 has been disrupting consumption and communication patterns and will continue to accelerate the digitalisation of customer interactions in a large variety of markets that rather used to rely on bricks and mortar before the crisis. According to McKinsey, online sales have jumped by 30% since the beginning of the crisis. Even consumers who previously avoided e-commerce have been forced online during the various periods of lockdown in Europe. 65% of customers now say they prefer to buy from brands that offer hassle-free online transactions according to Zendesk’s latest survey on CX trends.
And the change doesn’t stop there: The way how we interact with brands has become more conversational. Retailers in Europe saw a 24% increase in support requests come in over WhatsApp in the last year, and 37% who added a new channel turned to social messaging. You need to meet your customers where they are, and that is on the latest social platforms. At the same time, firms increasingly look at how customer support agents and intelligent technology can work in tandem with chatbots to enhance the customer experience in the years to come with chatbots.
Chatbots come in two flavours: rule-based or powered by artificial intelligence. AI-enabled chatbots use NLP (natural language processing) and sometimes machine learning to analyse and interpret user requests. For the latter kind, the difficulty lies in understanding the context and dealing with the ambiguity inherent to human speech. In the event that the chatbot is not able to understand the request, the customer will be left unsatisfied. Thorough training mitigates this problem without getting rid of it. There will always be some level of misunderstanding.
Rule-based chatbots behave completely differently. The goal is not to let the user ask an open question, but rather to walk him through a predefined path. The chatbot will then lead the conversation by suggesting predefined answers to the user. Thus, the set of possibilities is clear. There is no ambiguity about the chatbot’s ability to fulfill the request, which guarantees a better experience.
Improve customer experience for enhanced conversion
Customer experience plays an important role towards customer behaviour and choices. According to a PwC study, 73% of users consider customer experience an important factor in their purchasing decisions, second only to price and quality. Specifically, 43% of consumers are willing to pay extra for convenience and 42% for a friendlier and more welcoming experience.
A good website experience relies on information intake and the buying process.
Customers expect that their questions be answered immediately without having to do any research, but also for their demands to be processed, such as a purchase, swiftly. A simple, fast and personalised conversational experience is key for a successful experience. This is what a rule-based chatbot brings to the table.
The role of self-service in the customer experience
Self-service is on the rise: 65% of customers say they prefer self-service when it comes to answering simple questions.
In order to meet users’ demands for simplicity and speed, we need to go beyond the classic help center and live chat. You have to be able to answer their most frequent questions effectively, day and night. This is the chatbot’s job.
This way, there is no need to search for answers in a help center, no waiting for an answer from an agent, answers are provided at once. The majority of user questions can be answered this way.
With the right integrations in place, a chatbot can even answer user-specific questions like “when will my package be delivered?”.
For non-frequently-asked questions, you can simply remove some of the friction, such as:
- Not asking for the email and name when the customer is logged into his account because the information can be retrieved in another way
- Prioritising the requests according to the request’s importance and the type of customer
Self-service can produce very good results. At Joonbot, for example, some customers have set up a FAQ chatbot and now automatically answer 88% of users’ questions.
Increase sales with hyper personalisation
Conversation combined with hyper-personalisation is the future of customer experience online. It smoothes out transactions. It goes without saying that the more we know about the user, the easier it is to provide them with a bespoke experience. Offering new ways of consumption and simplifying the customer’s life when making a purchase are some examples. A survey by Accenture revealed that 91% of consumers are more likely to choose brands with personalised offers and recommendations.
At Joonbot, many clients are creating chatbots for personalised recommendation and are more than a little resourceful.
For instance in retail, we can:
- Suggest to customers, if they potentially want to order the same thing, to do so in one click without them having to start the whole process again
- Proactively suggest products that go best with those added to the cart during the session or those previously purchased
- Offer personalised recommendations as a personal shopper would
Chatbot solutions don’t need to be expensive and laborious to put together in order to cater to customer’s new requirements. With some software, you can put a chatbot of this type online in less than 30 minutes without a single line of code.