Chatbots Assisting Retail both Internally and Externally

  • December 15, 2017

    Chatbots get a bad reputation in customer service. They either don’t provide real value-adds for customers or they’re known as job killers. While chatbots certainly will reduce the number of customer service-type jobs, they can also be used as collaborative technologies. In other words, they can enhance both the customer and employee experience.

    FierceRetail delineates the various ways that chatbots can assist with training, onboarding new employees and providing pertinent information to employees about returning customers in an interview with Dave Campbell. Campbell is the Vice President of customer engagement at LogMeIn, a remote access tool company.

    Chatbots in Backend Customer Service

    We tend to think of chatbots in the ways in which we are accustomed. They help us change our password, maybe answer a simple question or lead us to a product we’re looking for online. However, companies can leverage this technology in non-customer facing ways to enhance the customer experience.

    When a customer calls or walks into a store, an associate can ask the chatbot to call up the name and customer profile via CRM or existing customer data. The employee can then tailor the service they provide the customer on a more personal level. Campbell sees this as an opportunity to offer coupons, upsell offers or specific products that ultimately generate revenue.

    Chatbots in Staffing

    Customer service is not an easy job. Customers, particularly in B2B or high-end markets, can be difficult, demanding and expect the best service at a competitive price. For newer customer service representatives or retail associates, chatbots can help answer questions quickly, mid-conversation to prevent pauses in conversation to look up information.

    Chatbots can also assist with pulling up customer data quickly to provide a snapshot to provide context for an employee. If a customer calls about a billing dispute, the employee can quickly pull up information about the customer’s service history, credit terms or other pertinent information without having to dig through disjointed systems.

    In non-customer contexts, chatbots can provide quick access to useful information that frees up internal resources. The first thing that comes to mind is simple IT questions. Busy sales people in the middle of closing a deal may not have the time or patience to search for Microsoft Office support to fix their slideshow. What do they do instead? Frantically call IT. Instead, a chatbot can answer these types of questions quickly and simply allowing IT to work on more constructive projects.

    Overall, chatbots don’t need to kill the personal-touch in retail. Rather, they can enhance the customer experience and personalize shopping in ways that will provide retailers who deploy chatbot technologies a competitive edge.

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