Chatbots have stopped being a “nice to have” and have become a “must have” for ecommerce sites. They aren’t, however, a panacea. While the goal is to have the vast majority of questions handled by the bots, there’s always a need to escalate calls. While not a purely artificial intelligence (AI) issue, the need to integrate AI better into the support flow is a key to improving business performance.

 

Copyright: forbes.com – “Integrating Artificial Intelligence Into Help Centers – It Is More Than Adding A Chatbot”


 

Chatbots are critical today on ecommerce platforms. They are also moving past the basics of having an icon in the lower-right corner of a window that visitors can click on if they wish, and then have a simple chat. Companies are doing two things to extend the power of the bots. First, the bots are gaining access to more information about the customer’s visits to the site, present and past, and that helps with recommendation responses. Second, they are becoming more active, gaining the ability to pop-up at key moments in a customer’s journey.

That second part is being enabled, as should be no surprise, through access to more data. Vendors are providing more information about their products, so that chatbots can address more pre-sales questions. In addition, data about the customer’s journey through the site can be analyzed to understand interest in different product categories. Combine that with studies about idle time and other typical visitor behaviors, and systems can find appropriate times to ask questions of the prospect.

“Using a context based approach,” said Shauli Mizrahi, CTO, Co-Founder, Rep AI, “chatbot systems can identify, with good confidence, when a prospect is considering leaving a site. The appropriate question asked of that person can help retain interest and increase sales.” For instance, if the prospect is on the home page, a general question about why she is there, followed by a pointer to the right products, can increase interest and customer retention. Idle time on a product page can be addressed with questions about product interest to see if there’s feature or comparison information that can be provided.

Mr. Mizrahi says that the industry average is a 3.3% conversation rate for visitors using chatbots. The goal is to reach 30% of visitors in order to improve interest and the attractiveness of ecommerce sites.

Pre-sale is only the start of the customer chain, and the area most amenable to bots. While some of the questions asked at that point can’t be answered by an automated system, the main use of escalation is in customer service. When a person comes to a site with a problem, that person is already upset, and quick service matters. Right now, there is often a long time lag to get to a life person, and that can increase frustration and lead to lost future sales. […]

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