Chatbots have become a hot topic, and it looks like this trend is set to continue. Juniper Research even estimates that by 2023, 70% of chatbots will be from retail brands.
Many retailers have introduced the humanoids into their online and mobile customer service strategy to offer customers the human touch in real time, which has become desirable in the digital age. According to Accenture, 77% of individuals still want human interaction when they require guidance and advice, which can be a challenge for retailers to provide when more customers are online shopping and requiring immediate re day or night.
The use of chatbots has become invaluable to retailers to tackle this problem. Consumers are spending most their time on no more than three apps, despite having many downloaded onto their device, and a quarter of people delete apps after one use. Retailers need to target their customers through the apps they are already using regularly, like messaging apps.
Chris Messina, a former developer at Uber, describes chatbots as ‘conversational commerce’ which delivers convenience, personalization, and decision support while people are on the go. Bots also collect massive amounts of data, helping the retailer to offer their customers a far more tailored and personalized experience each time they communicate with the brand.
The assistance that chatbots can offer in the decision making process reduces the time spent scrolling through search results, and means there's fewer steps to complete a purchase. Ultimately, this means there are less points during which a customer could change their mind.
Here are three examples of leading brands using chatbots to revolutionize their customer experience:
Nordstrom is often highlighted as an industry leader when it comes to customer service. So it’s no surprise that they are hosting chatbots on both Facebook Messenger and Kik.
These were launched right before the 2016 holiday season, and came in handy when customers were shopping for gifts. The bot is trained to ask several questions about the gift recipient before making gift suggestions.
Nordstrom also goes one step further with their customer service by also sending the request to a member of store staff who offer curated suggestions to the customer.
2. Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut has tapped into their customer base by using chatbots to make the customer purchase easier. Food orders can now be taken through Facebook Messenger and Twitter which are linked to the customer’s Pizza Hut account. This allows the bot to suggest recent orders to the customer and take payment from the messaging app, targeting the applications that their customers are already using and massively reducing the steps to purchase.
Uber is also using messaging apps to target their customers. Uber users can now hail a ride through Facebook Messenger directly with the Uber chatbot, where they will receive notifications on the status of their booking, or within conversations with friends when a location is communicated. This again reduces the steps to completion for the customer and allows them to make purchases without leaving their preferred app.
Bots here to stay?
It looks like the bots are here to stay. But how can businesses strike the right balance between bots and human interaction in order to deliver a seamless customer experience?