Through mobile applications, social networks, and even instant messaging, brands must be where their customers are, interacting in real time and creating a frictionless customer experience. The presence and availability of brands at every stage of the customer’s buying journey (search, shopping cart, purchase), regardless of the moment and method of interaction chosen, have a considerable impact, particularly for ecommerce.
61% of responders say that they are less patient with customer service than they were 5 years ago (Source: Zendesk 2017)
Chat or Messaging?
While chat is available on websites or mobile applications, messaging is a channel that is hosted by third-party services, such as Facebook Messenger or Twitter’s direct messaging feature. These two forms of communication facilitate dialogue in real time. They also offer the opportunity for proactive support, meaning companies can use them to interact with customers before a problem arises.
But the key difference is related to the way in which a customer accesses these channels. It is therefore less a question of products or the channel used, and more about a customer’s needs. Faced with the preponderance of social media, brands have explored new playing fields on which to feature their products and services. In order to offer them a seamless customer experience, it is necessary to avoid creating any disruptions by requiring them to use another channel to find the information that they seek.
With a resolution time of less than one day, telephone and chat support are live to six times faster than using email or a traditional form to resolve customer problems
Built on the foundations of customer service—listen, be available and able to help the customer—messaging and chat, when skilfully integrated into the entire customer experience, allow agents to have customised, instantaneous interactions with users. Agents can also centralise requests and reply to them via a single interface and optimise high-traffic periods on e-commerce sites. Companies can thereby meet the expectations of a new generation of customers who are seeking immediate answers to their questions.
Artificial intelligence at the service of customers
In ecommerce, chatbots running on artificial intelligence are quickly becoming the natural next step for providing immediate answers to customer questions and requests.
Whether the topic is jeans or electronic devices, chatbots can provide aspects of answers that do not require a great deal of participation from an agent. Such a virtual assistant is also able to ask them their preferences in terms of style, size, or colour of jeans. It then incorporates information already available on the website in order to formulate custom recommendations. Depending on the keywords that it is programmed to search for, the assistant provides relevant answers which can resolve customers’ queries, save customers’ time, and reduce customer service costs in order to improve ROI.
It’s a win-win system: if the customer wishes to send a message to an online retailer via Facebook Messenger, they go through the same process as contacting a friend. As for agents, they are able to manage all incoming requests, whether they are received through chat on the website or in the form of a Facebook message.
Promoting human interaction in an automated world
Regardless of the degree of automation, a human aspect capable of understanding customer requests and determining how best to serve them must live on. Let’s suppose that a potential customer is browsing an online store and visits the pricing page twice. After their second visit, there is a higher chance of them making a purchase. Thanks to this precious information, the online retailer can proactively send the customer a promotional code using the chat function. Or perhaps the customer has remained stuck at the moment of paying for their order or has abandoned their basket. Here again, retail sites can offer proactive assistance regarding delivery or billing, or offer a promotional code that would push the customer to complete their purchase.
It is extremely important for retailers to design an omnichannel customer experience adapted to the management of multiple channels in real time. Thanks to this, they will be able to form privileged relationships and thereby reduce churn and the costs of customer service.