The customer-centric blog of Linc Global
As pressure mounts to differentiate with swift and superb service via interactive channels, more and more brands are turning to machines for help delivering that service at scale. Technology researcher Gartner predicts that by 2021, 7 out of 10 companies will rely on AI to boost productivity. Consulting firm McKinsey found that 47% of companies have already implemented some form of AI; within the retail sector, 52% of companies have implemented AI to help with marketing and sales, while 23% are using machine intelligence to enhance customer service.
In addition to responding instantly to customer service inquiries, brands are expected to fulfill orders more quickly than ever. Given that four in 10 customer service contacts are related to “WISMO” (“Where Is My Order?”), merchants striving to deliver superior customer experiences face pressure for speed on two fronts.
With chatbots and Conversational AI leading the charge for digital innovation and customer experience, businesses are swiftly learning how they can use and apply this technology to provide their customers with a holistic customer experience regardless of channel.
Conversational commerce is on the rise, and 2019 saw key developments laying the groundwork for one-to-one customer experiences to dominate shopping in the year to come.
If early 2019 holiday results are any indication, the time is fast approaching when mobile will dominate the peak season online. To prepare for that shift, retailers must retool mobile offerings for two-way conversational commerce.
The Internet has not only increased the importance of customer service as a differentiator; it’s changed altogether the way shoppers and brands interact. Whereas in the past sellers relied on mass communication to communicate offers and announce new products, with a single “800” number -- or even simply a mailing address -- available to field customer service inquiries, now customers expect to have an active voice in conversations with brands.
Over nearly three decades, Internet shopping has ushered in many changes to the retail landscape -- one of which is that a growing number of product categories are now commoditized. Whereas previously, shoppers wishing to comparison shop had to travel physically to other stores, or seek out new catalogs, now it’s easy to find multiple sources for even hard-to-find or niche products, all with a tap on a smartphone or click of a mouse..
Loyalty rewards programs that give shoppers perks based on spending are widespread and popular. More than 7 in 10 consumers belong to at least one loyalty rewards club, according to Forrester Research, with most participants holding an average of nine memberships.
Merchants have long known that transactional emails -- messages related strictly to fulfillment of existing orders, as opposed to promotions -- can be effective tools for encouraging re-engagement, and often drive higher open and click-through rates than routine marketing campaigns. Now, instantaneous chat conversations and SMS alerts powered by machine learning represent the next generation of transactional communication, and present new opportunities for customers to interact further with brands.