- July 30, 2018
- by Krissie Leyland
- 6 minute read
The revolution of chatbots is real, but can you really trust them to deal with your customer service tasks without human input?
Imagine a world where your inbox is always empty, your customer enquiries have been taken care of, and your customers are happy; without costing your e-commerce brand a fortune in time or money…
With over 5 billion active users on messaging apps and the revolution of chatbots, this dream could come true.
International e-commerce sales are estimated to reach $4.8 trillion by 2021 and chatbots are significantly helping e-commerce brands to get there.
Chatbots are removing the stress and frustration of repetitive customer service enquiries that appear in your inbox. Freeing up time for you to tackle more meaningful tasks in order to grow your e-commerce brand internationally.
What are chatbots?
Think of a chatbot as your new employee with superpowers...
Chatbots are automated communication tools, designed to mimic human-like conversations with your customers. E-commerce brands like yours, use chatbots to instantly reply to and solve simple customer service enquiries, play games, promote products and more.
You can even give your chatbot a personality, controlling how the chatbot communicates with your customers. Check out this pet cucumber bot created by Hendricks Gin for a giggle.
All conversations (chatbot to the customer), happen via familiar conversational interfaces like Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp.
It doesn’t matter where your customers are in the world, chatbots converse with huge numbers of customers from anywhere on the globe, at any time of day, without you lifting a finger. So, you don’t need to worry about being on call during different time zones to reach international customers; your chatbot will always be there.
And, due to their humanlike demeanour, customers don’t always realise they’re talking to a chatbot; if a task becomes too complex, the chatbot can smoothly transfer the chat to a real person.
Artificially Intelligent Chatbots
If your e-commerce brand is going global, or you are preparing for growth, AI-powered chatbots could be the better option for you. They are the most advanced chatbots, with the ability to deal with more complex issues, improving as they learn.
Why should e-commerce brands use chatbots?
Chatbots are still relatively new, which means your customers are probably curious and want to try something different and exciting. Therefore, by using a chatbot, you might overtake your competitors (who don’t use chatbots) with a unique, more exciting shopping experience.
The excitement for chatbots isn’t declining either. Take a look at the popularity increase for search term “Chatbot” in Google Trends, (worldwide, Jan 2004-July 2018).
Familiarity of messaging apps
Instead of struggling to navigate a new website, your customers can ask questions about your products, get answers instantly, and purchase their favourite products all within a familiar platform that they probably use on a daily basis and already know their way around it. Making your customer’s shopping experience quick, easy and seamless.
With a chatbot on your team, you will always be instantly available to support your customers on a global scale. A chatbot can cross reference order numbers, track deliveries and give customers answers within seconds. Leaving your customers feeling satisfied and cared for, making it more likely for them to return.
Research claims that 53% of people are more inclined to shop with businesses that they can instantly converse with. So, if your customers have access to a conversational chatbot, they are more likely to choose you rather than a competitor selling the exact same product but don’t use chatbots.
A chatbot helps your brand to be more reliable, informative and supportive to your customers, even at 2 am.
Chatbots collect data during every conversation and can recognise who people are, chatbots personalise messages according to your customer’s previous purchases or questions they have asked, preventing you from sending unrelated, annoying content.
This helps your customers feel more connected to your brand on a personal level. The connection between your brand and your customers is critical to your success. If your customers don’t feel cared about, they will go elsewhere. In fact, 94% of businesses say that personalisation is crucial to their success.
The fact that chatbots can converse with your customers and always remember who they are, means you can recommend and up-sell products in a much less pushy way.
Chatbots give e-commerce brands a new way of showing customers products they actually want to know about. Combining chatbots and personalisation, your content will be more valuable and interesting, therefore increasing the likelihood of sales via messaging apps.
Deals & offers
Chatbots can personalise deals and offers to interest your customers on a personal level, making you less likely to be laughed at or ignored as you would if you sent female clothing to a male customer.
When running promotions, chatbots can understand which group of customers would be interested (based on what the bot already knows), and can directly send the offer to the correct group.
Customers can easily track orders and view parcel delivery status within the messaging app. You can program your chatbot to automatically send delivery updates, helping users to have a more intuitive, and easy experience.
Frustratingly, 75% of online sales are lost due to cart abandonment. And, usually, brands would choose to email their customers with reminders of abandoned items. However, as customers receive a large amount of similar emails, they often get ignored.
Luckily, chatbots offer a great alternative to email, (Facebook Messenger bots boast 619% more engagement than emails), sending polite prompts via the messaging app, asking if they’d like to remove, or purchase items still in their cart.
Humans Vs Chatbots
Humans don’t have the ability to reply to hundreds of customer enquiries, at any time of the day, from anywhere in the world; we need to sleep. And, we don’t possess the brain power to remember numerous amounts of data like a chatbot can.
However, chatbots are weak when it comes to empathy and emotions; they are only as good as programmers make them (humans), and they can’t pivot conversations in creative ways as humans can.
For example, a customer wants a specific style and colour of clothing, “do you have any 1950’s bomber jackets in a greeny bluey colour?”.
The chatbot wouldn’t understand the words “greeny bluey”, unless the programmer thought very far outside of the box, and can the chatbot be specific to 1950’s style?
We need humans to solve more complex customer service issues beyond the bot’s knowledge. We need real people standing by to offer a higher level of customer loyalty and emotional attachment. Will a chatbot remember a loyal customer from before you starting using chatbots? Probably not.
If done correctly, chatbots can improve human-led customer service teams, rather than replacing humans all together.
If the two work together, conversions are likely to be increased through conversations. Your e-commerce business should consider using a chatbot to pull in and remember useful information about your customers and use human logic, emotion and creativity to make decisions.
Krissie is passionate about e-commerce, cutting-edge tech, the internet of things and Artificial Intelligence. Krissie is a keen surfer and spends her spare time travelling or at the beach.