Conversational Commerce isn’t a new buzzword anymore. Rather it’s a business imperative in the post-pandemic world that has transformed how people shop.
The axiom ‘communication drives commerce’ is proved right when businesses start a dialogue with consumers. It’s the conversations that cement your bond with them.
This includes contextual and personalized engagements as part of an overall customer engagement strategy.
The Popularity Of Conversational Commerce
Conversation-driven commerce has always been in existence, however, it was re-introduced as an important aspect of marketing, sales, and service, and the term conversational commerce was coined by Chris Messina in 2015.
Fun fact: He’s the inventor of hashtags (#) in 2007 which all of us so liberally use on social media.
Unrestrained digitization and the sudden availability of multiple platforms as shopping avenues for customers have upped the level of competition among businesses. Selling merchandise isn’t the sole objective anymore. Brands are strategizing harder than ever to tailor experiences that are both intimate and professional to make customers go wow!
Commerce has transformed – service and support have become intelligent, contact-less, efficient, and technology-driven. Messaging has transformed. It is no longer about communication, rather it has become transactional.
For 2022, and beyond, you don’t need a crystal ball to see that an omnichannel engagement strategy that meets customer expectations is the way forward. The customer of today is at the intersection of multiple touchpoints where brands meet tech through apps, artificial intelligence (AI), bots, messengers, etc. They demand smart communication with a human touch, that’s the bottom line.
Also Read: What Are Customer Touchpoints – And Why They Matter
Conversation Bots Boost Customer Satisfaction
Instrumental in business growth, conversations are very important for service teams too. Virtual assistants, AI-powered chatbots, Live agent support via text and messenger platforms are tools that aid customers through their journey. Hence they have a direct impact on your organization’s overall customer satisfaction (c-sat) score.
Evolution Of Conversational Technology
Customer support has evolved from automated chatbots to conversations – where the interactions are not just limited to chat interfaces, but also include various messaging platforms like smart email responses, automatic follow-up messages, AI-driven communication technology, virtual assistants that make use of data, machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP), a variety of input signals ranging from text and touch to voice. Such technology uses AI a great deal to mimic human interactions and tries to remain with the customer through their brand journey.
Conversations Revolve Around Consumers
Consumers today know that business’ strategies revolve around them – and why not? considering the adage “Customer is supreme”. Their immediacy of requirements or in simpler terms ‘want-it-now’ attitude dictates terms of service delivery.
Scenario: Joe is browsing an eCommerce site to buy a laptop. While making payments he faces a problem and decides to abandon the cart. Having an AI-powered smart bot that can predict customer behavior and offer appropriate solutions to help Joe complete the purchase. Thereby, the eCommerce company profits financially as well as gains the customer’s loyalty.
In this case, a smart assistant pops up and inquires Joe why he is abandoning the cart and offers automated solutions like easy payment links, change in ease of delivery address, one-day delivery, or even suggests better products than the one selected by Joe, chances are he will make the purchase and be very satisfied with the experience.
Conversational Tools Gaining Prominence
Technology has evolved and so have business strategies. Rule-based or decision-tree chatbots that function on pre-set rules are basic and are slowly but surely getting replaced by more sophisticated conversation bots.
Today, we are in the age of ‘predictive omnichannel customer service’ where technology is used to predict customer needs and deliver personalized experiences wherever possible.
Scenario: Let's take the example of Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ or Android’s ‘Ok Google’, or even Apple’s ‘Siri’. All of them are digital assistants that possess near-human intelligence. Both recognize a variety of inputs including voice and are adept at following a variety of commands, scaling service, and delighting customers.
When you use smart conversation bots in your helpdesk, not only do you drive agent satisfaction, but also deliver an improved customer experience. Conversation bots today are capable of integrating with websites/apps, social media, and bringing product discovery, payments, and shopping together at one place for the customer.
Virtual customer assistants or conversation bots fill in for live agents and intelligently guide customers towards case resolution. They have the potential to augment your organization's capabilities. You can use conversational bots to address soaring ticket volumes, address customer inquiries, and even help your teams work remotely.
Also Read: Contact Center’s Secret Formula To Ensure Excellent Customer Experience
Conversation Bots Engage Consumers
Conversational bots have made smart communication with a human touch accessible to all. The familiarity, comfort, and convenience of mobile-based messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Messenger, and Viber among many others have made customer service accessible to everyone – through their mobile phones.
Not only do they serve as excellent channels for customer engagement but also significantly reduce your contact center’s call volumes. With rigorous training and the study of huge sets of customer data, conversation bots make use of AI and deep learning to determine user intent and resolve customer queries efficiently. When that happens, your business delivers the fastest customer response times, improves agent satisfaction through the highest possible automation, and exhibits intuitive operability.
Conversational commerce has become a necessity for businesses and that can be seen by the number of companies that have ramped up the adoption of automation and smart conversational touchpoints.
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