Today’s successful companies place a premium on quality customer service. They recognize that digital support for online shoppers is the best opportunity to build a sustainable relationship with would-be buyers and motivate them to make that purchase.
The data backs up the value of having a customer-first strategy. Even though the majority of shoppers still prefer support from a real human, chatbots have increased sales by over 60% for e-commerce brands.
It’s interesting to note that those insights were collected near the end of 2019, which predates COVID-19. The pandemic caused a massive spike in demand for online shopping as people were confined to their homes and shops had to close amid lockdowns. That means companies had to manage even higher volumes of traffic, increasing their reliance on chatbots to manage large numbers of enquiries. As a result, those chatbot-driven boosts in revenue have spiked even further since the pandemic and will continue to do so long after the pandemic is over.
Why do companies use chatbots?
Chatbots are a great resource to enhance the customer journey and provide shoppers with value-added assistance that motivates them to buy new products. According to research into the performance of chatbots, 77% of successful businesses generating leads with chatbots are online stores.
This is the net result of conversational commerce, the practice that enables brands and e-commerce companies to create a conversational shopping experience across online shops that reflects the personalisation found during the in-store shopping experience. Implementing this practice correctly results in more purchases and revenue for your brand.
How are companies using chatbots?
So what are the most common examples of how companies use chatbots? Studies show that most companies use chatbots to enable sales, automate customer support, and function as a demand generation tool for marketing purposes. However, there are a handful of strategic ways you can implement chatbots into your website experiences and motivate more shoppers to buy.
Let’s look at some of those examples below.
1. To automate customer support
Most e-commerce businesses have a dedicated team of customer support representatives. However, e-commerce brands often take in orders from all corners of the world. Buyers can live in any number of timezones that are outside the standard working hours of your in-house customer support teams.
By implementing AI-powered chatbots onto your website, you can maintain the level of quality customer service that shoppers expect. A chatbot is a 24/7 support representative, capable of responding to common enquiries and providing directions to the most useful information to help guide shoppers further in their journeys with your brand.
2. To optimize conversion rates
Chatbots can also be used to enhance your conversion rate optimization strategy. Conversion rate optimization utilizes value-added messages, product recommendations, and behavioral data to profile your various shoppers. You can use those profiles to craft your various messages and select the optimal products that will motivate shoppers to buy and increase their average order value (AOV).
With your profiles in hand, you can use your AI-powered chatbot to present product offers and messages that align with the interests of your most popular users. If your profiles are accurate, the chatbot will incentivize shoppers to take advantage of the presented offers by completing a purchase then and there. This can have a direct positive effect on revenue for your business.
3. To provide a better customer experience
When shopping in a traditional retail store, it’s always an easier and more enjoyable experience when a helpful representative guides you to the items you need. The experience is smoother, faster, and may even help you find additional accessories that you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.
That’s the type of shopping experience that chatbots recreate for online shoppers. Chatbots are one integral piece of a Virtual Shopping Assistant, which combines a suite of conversational AI solutions into an integrated system that creates outstanding shopping experiences and helps improve revenue for e-commerce brands. Collectively, the Virtual Shopping Assistant encourages customers to come back again on another day.
4. To increase revenue
The bottom line goal for your business is to engage in the types of activities that will help drive revenue. Chatbots are a great tool to drive that revenue by providing the types of online support, CRO, and customer experience initiatives that can have a direct impact on the performance of your company.
A fulfilling customer experience is more likely to bring people back to your website to do more business, which increases the lifetime value (LTV) of that customer. Similarly, by using your audience profiles to improve CRO, your chatbot should motivate some of your buyers to increase the AOV of their purchases. Chatbots can also help reduce the cart abandonment rate on your website by encouraging more shoppers to complete purchases rather than abandon the experience. The chatbot can directly influence these and other KPIs that have a direct net positive effect on the revenue generated by your company.
Companies using chatbots for customer service
One of the most common use cases for chatbots is to automate customer service. With potentially thousands of people on your e-commerce site at any time of day, chatbots can function as a real-time 24/7 support agent to handle the bulk of customer enquiries.
Since many customers ask versions of the same types of questions, the chatbot can be programmed to answer each of these questions so your in-house support team is not overwhelmed by too many enquiries. This allows your support staff to shift their focus towards big picture solutions for the business.
Here are some examples of companies that used chatbots to improve their own customer support operations.
Helthjem is an online shipping and logistics company that makes customer support one of the core pillars of their brand. As they expanded the roster of their services and the areas that they conducted business, Helthjem implemented an AI-powered chatbot to help shoulder the weight of increased demand for customer service. The investment proved highly worthwhile as the chatbot became responsible for 30% of all customer enquiries after only 4 weeks to deploy.
Thon Hotels is the third largest hotel chain in Norway with satellite hotels in Belgium and the Netherlands. They rely on their website to handle bookings and customer enquiries for each region, but the demand for greater service expanded as their locations grew in size. As a result, Thon invested in a chatbot to alleviate some of the burden on their in-house support team, which led to a 30% reduction in call centre referrals as well as customer emails sent to reps.
Norwegian Airlines is one of the fastest growing low cost airlines in Europe, and many travellers check in before, during, and after their flights to get accurate information from the airline. This high call volume became too much for their in-house support team to manage alone so Norwegian built an AI-powered chatbot to alleviate some of the burden. The chatbot proved very helpful for the business, resulting in an 20% reduction in live enquiries handled by agents.
Kahoot! is a Norwegian game-based learning platform with up to 2 billion participants since the platform’s launch. Users are based all over the world, and the platform is especially popular in the United States. Given that so many users are in different timezones from Kahoot! headquarters, they developed a chatbot to manage customer experiences. Since the initial chatbot was launched, Kahoot! Released two additional bots to improve their services.
Elkjøp is the largest consumer electronics retailer in the Nordic countries and they handle nearly 5 million customer enquiries every year. As their business grew beyond the means of their in-house support team to manage enquiries, Elkjøp built an AI-powered chatbot to take most of the enquiries off the in-house team’s workload. This led to the chatbot automating 50% of all enquiries and resulting in an 80% user satisfaction rate.
Companies using chatbots in HR and recruitment
In addition to traditional customer support, companies like Adecco use chatbots to support potential new hires for open positions. Their recruitment chatbot engages with candidates, learns more about their personalities, and makes calculated decisions as to whether or not the candidate would be a good fit for their company clients. This helped improve transparency with potential recruits and reduced the number of live chat enquiries as well as employees required to handle those enquiries by 75%.