Chatbots, Conversational Channels and the Customer Experience.

The impact on the customer experience during social isolation.

Written by Rodrigo Passeira — Head of solutions at Sinch

The pandemic has impacted our personal and professional lives, social isolation has brought about changes in habits and impediments that we could not imagine we would live. Who would bet at the end of 2019 that this would all happen? We are living in a time of change that is accelerating digitalization in many companies and, due to the isolation, all of them had to face changes in rules, some of which had variations in sales volume upwards, because they have products that fit the moment or for being more prepared for online sales, while others had sudden downward variations, for being very dependent on physical purchases, not having adapted products and being absolutely unprepared to fulfill online orders.

From the perspective of the end customer, we have a scenario where the way of shopping has been constantly transformed: users who would prefer to go to a physical store to make a purchase found themselves in a situation where the only option was to believe that a digital service would meet their needs; and, at the same time, people who only bought in big stores, had to adapt, finding stores in neighborhoods that had the products they were looking for, or the like, avoiding large displacements and also thinking about helping local stores.

With that, then, changes in people’s behavior and lives have greatly changed the way they relate to companies and brands. The customer experience has completely changed, users have been looking for the simplest way to communicate and interact with brands.

Thus, the experience of relationship with customers through channels such as e-mail and telephone had their efficiency put to the test in this moment of social isolation, since, to scale the service for both channels, there are obstacles that today are even more evident. . For this reason, the operations that depend on or have these channels as the main channels are going through difficult times, delivering, in many cases, a bad experience for customers. In this scenario, the search for conversational service channels using WhatsApp Business, Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, chats on websites and applications, and the technology of chatbots has grown exponentially.

In the new scenario, companies have accelerated the process of opening these channels, for some reasons:

1. Standardization of service

With chatbots, companies have control over the information that will be passed on to the customer, and if any changes or updates to the responses are necessary, in just a few minutes it is possible to change all the rules and service returns. So, what could last a few hours by email or phone, and depend on many people in more traditional operations, using the chatbot can take a few seconds for the company to deliver the best response to the customer.

2. No queue

Using chatbots the company is able to offer an agile service, being done for all the people that come in contact, at the moment that this happens. This type of benefit provides a much better experience for customers, in addition to helping the company to have a better organization of the type of user calls. It is possible to automatically concentrate answers to simpler subjects, and, at the same time, pass them on to more complicated human attendants, who need human intervention and consideration.

3. 24x7 service

Even before social isolation, many consumers have already had the bad experience of having to speak to a company’s call center, but they came across an automatic phrase that the service was only available for a certain period of the day. Currently, this type of problem has an even greater weight, and, with this, companies that provide service via conversational channels, using chatbots, can have a great leap and scale increase for being able to meet more demands automatically. This is because the end user wants to be served the moment he is able to communicate with the brand, and the company adapting to this factor can be essential to deliver a good experience.

4. Customization

With chatbots, the service offered can be personalized from the first message: more than using the person’s name to talk to them, the chatbot is able to use all of their purchase history and interactions with the company. For this, it is necessary that the company has a base of registrations with the correct phone number of the customers and updated information, which reduces the need for questions so that the virtual assistant can make a good service.

5. Multiple channels

Knowing that customers want to speak through the channel they prefer to use, and not through those that the company prefers to receive them, delivering a customer experience across multiple channels can be a major challenge for the company. If the intention is to deliver a better experience, it needs to adapt quickly, and the use of chatbots in different conversational channels helps and streamlines this process. Taking advantage of the channels that customers already use every day, it is possible to perform the service using the same automation for the various channels and reducing the need for maintenance, in a practical way for the company and the customer.

6. Less need for transfers between attendants

Using conversational automations in customer service channels means that there is less need for transfers between agents in the service. This is because the chatbot is capable of solving problems that exist throughout the customer’s journey with the company — from the first contact, until after-sales — offering answers on various subjects and carrying out processes that were not previously automated, leaving human attendants the cases that need judgment and decisions.

Thus, the alternative of implementing the virtual assistant brings benefits to both the consumer and the company, since the user can count on personalized, uninterrupted, instantaneous and skip-the-line service on multiple channels — all safe and reliable environments, with low risk fraud — and less need for transfers and even standard, speed and information in attendance.

For the company, the biggest advantages are cost reduction, standardization in contact, greater capacity for simultaneous services scaling the operation, better engagement, in addition to transforming contacts into sales in an automated way. Other great advantages for the company are also the increase in customer satisfaction, as well as an understanding of consumer behavior through data on interactions, factors that help to achieve better results in the short and long term.

And from these solutions, companies in all sectors can benefit from automation in conversations and, thus, improve the experience of buyers. Restaurants, for example, can maintain an open channel of communication with their customers and, thus, answer general questions, capture orders, or even make sales only through conversational channels. These businesses may also have a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions), which explains to consumers the changes in opening hours and stores, as well as the ways in which customers can find products.

It is clear the importance of understanding the customers’ needs and delivering solutions that help at all times of the purchase journey, and that is what we do here at Wavy. Our solutions help to deliver this revolution to business in a simple way, also guaranteeing a better experience. Through chatbots, we are able to provide quicker responses and increase the service potential of companies, always thinking about how to customize the content according to their target audience and need for operation. We boost sales, open new channels and automate processes.

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