Marketing Manager IFS | mplsystems
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AI-Powered Chat in Retail Customer Service

3rd Nov 2017
Marketing Manager IFS | mplsystems
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Instead of searching through a website or mobile app on their own, today’s consumers prefer to engage in conversation with AI-powered chat, whether that be in the form of chatbots or virtual assistants or messenger apps.

An increasing number of consumers are turning to chat with the expectation of being answered immediately. In order to ensure that this happens every time, companies need to deploy Artificial Intelligence (AI) within their software systems, so that virtual agents/automated chat can interpret and respond as soon as customers make contact.

7 times out of 10, consumers get in touch with simple requests, which could be easily automated by the system. With AI-powered chat, customers can be answered within a matter of seconds, regardless of communication time and channel, without agents being disturbed from any complex, more efficient tasks that they may be doing instead.

Customers feel acknowledged and valued via immediate responses, which leads to increased engagement and satisfaction levels. According to a recent Facebook survey conducted by Nielsen, 56% of people would actually prefer to message a business, instead of making a telephone call to customer service, and 63% of people said that messaging makes them see the business in a more positive light, particularly within the retail sector.

For example, should Consumer Cathy wish to locate the availability of a washer/dryer at one of several stores in her area, she could message the company via their online chat bot at any time during the day. Upon receiving this request, the system will cross-reference stock levels in each warehouse/store and then relay this information back to the customer instantly. – Much quicker and more precise than a human agent checking multiple screens and systems to obtain the same information but only within working hours.

With AI-powered chat, agents do not have to take the time to locate stock availability, as this has been taken care of by the system. Furthermore, they haven’t been interrupted within their own workflow, whilst potentially dealing with more complex requests. What’s more, Cathy’s query is logged in the system next to her details, so that the company has it on record for future reference.

Chatbots can be leveraged by the company to optimise agent efficiency, eliminate customer wait time and drive higher CSAT ratings, as customers expecting immediate, round the clock responses, are well satisfied

Where requests become too complicated for the virtual assistant, they can be elevated to human agents, who are able to see the full chat history alongside the customer details. This self- to assisted-service can also be routed according to customer priority; agent skill and availability. For more information on routing, click here.

Robots used to be a defining factor, - something that set companies apart from the rest within customer experience. However, no longer do they give companies a competitive edge, they are now a necessary asset to adapt to and with, in order to stay afloat in the market.

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