The customer’s expectations have changed!
During the health crisis, the digital channel was the only way for retailers with physical shops to keep in touch with their customers remotely. As a result, consumers have bought more over the internet than before and this craze for online shopping is unlikely to diminish in the post-COVID period. Constraints linked to social distancing have become common place today and consumers now favor e-commerce, which is less restrictive and faster.
Alexandre Sagala, a partner at Pertinence Media confirms: “Demand is high and will remain high. The part of the population that was not yet buying online has been forced to try it and has taken a taste for it. Besides, several health measures will remain in place for a very long time, so many will continue to buy online”.
To meet these expectations and be present on all channels (omnichannel), companies want to modernize their internal/software equipment, whether it is the automation of support and the implementation of interactive FAQs (Botmind), analytical tools such as accounting (iPaidThat), or the automation of certain functions. According to a study conducted by Umanis 80% of companies will use conversational interfaces to manage their customer interactions starting this year. Faced with the main problems of managing deadlines, deliveries, loyalty, and monitoring the activity of e-merchants, it is above all customer support needs to become more automated and efficient. Indeed, as these problems are linked to human resources and field constraints, a solution must be found that is not dependent on these factors to help internal teams.
Reducing costs by using automated customer service support
Today, customer experience has become indispensable and occupies an essential place in the strategy of companies. With the change in consumption habits due to the COVID crisis, more people have shifted towards buying online. 82% of Internet users believe that they are more reassured if the online shop has a live-chat system (Markentive). To stand out, brands must offer a unique e-commerce customer experience with qualitative and very efficient service. To achieve this, the support must adapt to all digital channels and be omnichannel which will allow customers to contact the brands easily through social networks, telephone, email, FAQ, live chat, chatbot, etc. Dedicated to handling customer requests, customer support plays a key role in the relationship between brands and customers. According to a study conducted by Gartner Inc., 72% of customer interactions will involve new technologies, such as chatbots or mobile applications, by 2022.
Even if the telephone remains a privileged tool, e-commerce today gives a fundamental place to new communication channels. E-merchants seem to have understood the importance of talking to their customers online to reassure them more and make them more involved. This is why, with the arrival of artificial intelligence, the automation of customer services is developing more and more. Many brands are opting for the new “self-care” solutions, i.e. dynamic FAQs in the form of chatbots. This automated service allows e-merchants to save time and achieve economies of scale. For example, according to Chatbot Magazine, the implementation of a chatbot would generate an average decrease in customer support costs of around 30%.
Among customer service examples, Amazon and Netflix are ranked among the best as they are now considered to be pioneers of providing an incomparable customer experience. Both companies rely on their extremely strong brand image to build customer loyalty. They benefit from a very positive word of mouth due to their unique and differentiating offer and their multi-channel service. They have therefore become references for customers, which enables them to attract more visitors and build customer loyalty.
According to a study carried out by IDC and Easyvista, (companies specializing in IT management and customer relations), only 13% of customer and IT teams consider that the service is “of the same level” within their company as at Amazon or Netflix. To achieve this, customer services must be provided with multiple channels to interact through.
An omnichannel customer experience
The age of digital transformation has forced a lot of companies to reconstruct their customer journey to optimize all of their points of contact, especially the digital ones. According to Deloitte, 60 % of customers interact with a company through multiple channels and expect a consistent user experience regardless of time, place, or device. The omnichannel approach combines digital channels (mobile, social media, chatbot…) and traditional channels (call center, store…) where the customer experience is thus more fluid because brands are easily accessible by customers. This increases customer satisfaction and prevents them from abandoning their shopping cart.
We noted that 54% of consumers surveyed would like brands to be more innovative in the way they use digital technology to improve their experience (Future Shopper WPP study led by Wunderman Thompson). The customer experience should be enriched by the quality of service offered, both in physical shops and on e-commerce sites.
For e-commerce sites, automated and efficient customer support is a source of customer loyalty and conversion. Among other things, it allows the customer to stay in contact with a brand at all times. It is one of the favorite points of contact for visitors with two main advantages: rapid response to questions and 24/7 presence. These rapid responses are not efficient but also personalized giving customers a sense of human touch and more trust and since the automated support is available all the time it has become an essential criterion for the e-commerce website owners. Automated support is therefore an important part of an omnichannel strategy that complements the other points of contact, providing a synergy between all available channels (social networks, live chat, telephone, email, etc.). Customers can move from one channel to another with the same quality of service and a response that is always adapted to their request.
If you are an e-commerce website owner and have not yet automated your support, now is the right time to implement this solution to improve your customer experience. With an omnichannel strategy coupled with support automation, e-merchants have every opportunity to improve their service, and therefore their relationship with customers. By using multiple channels and communicating with customers wherever they are, e-merchants can create a positive image of their brand which in turn enables them to get genuine feedback from their customers/shoppers which can also be seen and reviewed by the potential shoppers. As a result, customers receive an accurate response and have a good experience, and e-merchants increase their customer knowledge, save time due to support automation, and reduce costs while creating customer loyalty.