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Blog: E-commerce chatbots: 4 ways chatbots can improve E-commerce sales and customer service


It’s a fact! Customer support and sales generation are two interdependent occurrences. If you want to run a successful eCommerce business, you inevitably need an effective customer support system.

For decades, businesses have been relying on the traditional medium of email support, and they have actually done their job perfectly. From answering sales queries to addressing grievances, emails have been and are still largely used for customer support.

How customer support evolved from emails to chatbots?

In 2019, the scene for customer support is no more the same as it used to be a few years ago. The market has gone enormously competitive, the leads have gone extremely volatile, and patience in customers has gone exceptionally impulsive.

Today, eCommerce businesses operate 24×7 and make sales around the clock. Thus, customers also expect them to entertain them 24×7. As a result, eCommerce business extended their support to live chats, where human executives answered the queries in real-time.

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However, this scene too changed drastically and soon even manual chat became inefficient to offer the best support in a highly competitive environment. Manual support was not possible in a 24×7 environment. Even if different executives were hired to handle 24 hours of chat support in shifts, they could not handle data extensive queries quick enough. Moreover, as chats were being handled by different executives, it was not possible to maintain perfect sync among the executives.

With the progression of AI into the mainstream, businesses received chatbots to fill the gap. With chatbots, not only customer support became so accessible, but they also helped businesses in sales and lead generation. Gone are the days, when manual chat support was the only option for real-time support and sales generation.

Though humans-based chat support is still required for many reasons, chatbots have now shared a major proportion of the loads. Now, even human executives can do their jobs more accurately and efficiently.

Perfect media for seamless live chat support in 24×7 mode

The ultimate requirement for 24×7 support was anyways being met by even the event-based non-AI chatbots. These chatbots offered response based-on keyword identification in the queries. In was a great way to offer support around the clock. However, keyword identification was not enough to handle all types of queries. Event-based chatbots could not manage context-based queries. Here is an example to explain the same:

What’s my order status? — It’s a keyword-based query that event-based bots can easily respond to after identifying the keyword “order status”.

Hey! I purchased an iPhone yesterday. Could you please tell the expected time of arrival? — This would be a contextual query. Though it’s an order status query, none of the keywords are directly linked to the same context.

Out of the two queries, the second is a complex one, which can be handled either by a human executive or an AI-based eCommerce chatbot. With Natural Language Processing (NLP) the AI-powered eCommerce chatbots can understand the contextual queries as well. With Deep Machine Learning, they can also learn new keywords and queries and how to put them together to understand any related queries.

AI-powered eCommerce bots are not only perfect for 24×7 support but also more efficient in saving the time of the customers. They are quick and error-free. Moreover, advanced chatbots integrated with apps like Facebook Messenger bots and WhatsApp messenger bots make your support system accessible to the masses, as almost everyone use at least one of these apps.

Share human load & provide data-extensive support quickly

It’s a fact that even AI bots have not gone that smart to replace human intervention entirely. Though AI bots sometimes offer better efficiency than human executives for some tasks, human intervention is still a required aspect for some of the tasks.

For example, many customers prefer talking to a human executive for sales related negotiations. Chatbots act as a bridge between AI and Human counterparts in such situations. You can program a bot to connect certain complex or human only queries for manual handling. Check out how intelligently this bot has transferred the customer to the concerned executive:

Chatbots work equally efficient in the vice-versa scenarios as well; i.e. when certain queries are handled by chatbots more easily than human counterparts. For example, data extensive queries, which require some time to dig in the CRM and fetch the required information. Of course, as a human, you need some time to dig the same.

While a chatbot connected with your CRM, Inventory Management System, and the website dashboard will look for the data on all the repositories more quickly and would offer the response in no time. For example, queries for order status offers on a certain product and finding an order invoice on demand, etc.

You can actually rely on a chatbot for customer support while you can deploy your manual taskforce to solve the issues that chatbots can’t.

Can not only generate leads but also encourage immediate sales

Various e-Commerce websites and mobile apps have integrated live chat support to offer guided shopping experience to the customers. The main aim is to engage the customers on the site and handle any query in the real-time so that customers do not flee the site out of any confusion or drawback on the site. Offering live is indeed a great way as it complements your website/app and helps you avoid any cart abonnement.

For example, a customer seeking a certain product and not seeing in the search results can directly contact the live chat and ask if it is available or not.

Such support will not only offer you a chance of conversion but would also mitigate the loss that could happen due to an error or fault on the site/app, like the faulty product search in the above example.

AI-powered eCommerce chatbots mimic the same and offer a similar experience to the customers. Using Machine learning and NLP, even they can answer the real-time queries and guide the shoppers into the conversion funnel.

Chatbots can automate the whole guided shopping environment and engage your customers with your brand. They can even send private messages or emails to the abandoned cart customers. In addition to that, they can communicate an array a message like new offers, new products, order status update, etc.

The solutions from best chatbot platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp can also communicate with phone numbers and send cross-platform messages to get maximum engagement. For example sending emails, SMS, or WhatsApp messages, etc.

Hence, eCommerce chatbots are not just customer support tools but also great in customer engagement, marketing, and sales generation.

Automate business processes & improve the overall efficacy

Besides being great for support, marketing, and sales generation, solutions from the best chatbot platforms are also capable of handling your business processing tasks. You can program a chatbot to keep a track of your inventory and alert you when it’s on short. Of course, you would need to give them access to your inventory management system.

In addition to that, a chatbot can assist you in automating many other business processing tasks that otherwise consume a lot of time, money, and effort with manual handling. Moreover, without any manual intervention, there remains no chance for error in the calculations as well.

They can capture leads from your lead capturing forms, send automated communications to your customers, launch programmed email marketing campaigns, send push notifications, generate an invoice, generate return slips, and much more.

Chatbots today have gone compatible with almost every eCommerce management tool from marketing, sales, human resource, shipping, to customer management. Just think of the error-free automation you can get after integrating an AI-powered chatbot with your website, mobile app, CRM, ERP, PIMS, Ticket Management System, and email marketing tool.

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Source: Artificial Intelligence on Medium

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