Learn the Top Ten Use Cases For AI Chatbots in Your e-Commerce Automation Strategy
It’s fair to remember the days of old when chatbot interactions were more of a hindrance than a help. Unintuitive virtual assistants that couldn’t handle the most simple of tasks often led to more frustrated customers than happy ones, and this antiquated viewpoint made the use AI Chatbots a somewhat taboo subject.
But the truth is;
modern automated chat solutions, powered by innovative conversational artificial intelligence (AI), are proving to be the most foundational and necessary aspects of current CX strategies.
These next-gen AI chatbots are now able to handle an unprecedented number of use cases, and coupled with existing live customer support teams, are delivering some of the most positive customer experiences we’ve seen in history.
But before we explore the many e-Commerce use cases of these AI chatbot solutions, let’s look at what led us to rely on them in the first place.
When Did Customer Experience Become So Important?
Obviously, a good customer experience-CX has always been important- no one likes bad service, after all.
But since the monumental rise of eCommerce during the Coronavirus pandemic, brands quickly learned one thing:
Great customer service is now the biggest competitive differentiator.
Almost overnight, our shopping habits were completely transformed in the wake of the pandemic-induced shutdowns. Where once eCommerce was largely considered an option of convenience, it suddenly became the only way consumers could access the products they both wanted and needed.
In fact, total e-commerce sales in the U.S. jumped from roughly $160B to $230B in the first two quarters of 2020 alone, and this upward trend only continued into 2021.
As consumers adapted and became more comfortable with online shopping, they quickly began to scrutinize brands that failed to adapt with them. Retailers who scrambled to overhaul and modernize their digital customer experience found new levels of success compared to those that didn’t.
Customers developed greater expectations for their digital experiences and became more loyal to the brands who invested in making their lives easier- so much so that a recent analyst report from PWC discovered 86% of buyers are now willing to pay more for their products if that brand offers a great customer experience.
This initiative to improve customer experience across the digital landscape has brought a plethora of new services flooding into the market. Things like contactless payments, in-app ordering, and curbside pickup are all on the rise, but perhaps the most important service adoption has been automated AI chatbots.
How Did AI Chatbots Re-Shape The Customer Experience?
AI Chatbots, specifically, saw drastic increases in usage, with almost 90 percent of customers using self-support tools between March and May of 2020.
Recall back to the beginning of the pandemic, when the shift was happening. Stay-at-home orders were issued and suddenly everyone was at home. At the same time, online orders skyrocketed.
E-commerce platform Big Commerce reported an increase of 100% or more in online sales for 4 of its 9 top categories, when compared to the same week a year prior. Increased orders equated to higher customer service inquiries and shipping delays.
Stay-at-home orders moved vital customer service staff to work at home, which, in many cases, required lengthy setup periods and led to reduced capacity. Additionally, Warehouse staff were unavailable due to daycare closures and other impeding factors.
Rather than pick up the phone, customers increasingly used live chat and AI chatbots to get their questions answered.
Customer relationship management (CRM) Salesforce reported a 426% increase in weekly chatbot sessions for April 2020.
However, all the operational and logistical challenges created by the pandemic affected the customer experience as well. Customers reported long waiting times, and at times were even informed by retailers of significant delays.
Customer service employees immediately felt the strain. According to an April 2020 survey by Kustomer, Inc.,
…almost 80% of respondents said their organization was significantly affected by covid. Nearly half said wait times were longer, and over two-thirds reported a lack of resources required to do their jobs.
Over time, retailers were forced to adjust their approach to combat the surge in orders and it was quickly apparent that automated chatbots were the solution to alleviating their inundated contact centers.
Now, nearly two years into the pandemic, automated AI chatbot solutions are being employed by almost every retailer that wishes to remain competitive in this new landscape of eCommerce. But how exactly are they being used?
Top Ten Use Cases for AI Chatbots in eCommerce
As we said before, these next-gen automated AI chatbot solutions we are working with today aren’t your grandfather’s AI chatbots.
Powered by innovative conversational AI, these modernized highly advanced chatbot solutions are able to handle a variety of e-Commerce use cases both by automating the resolution of customer inquiries and by empowering customers to resolve their issues themselves with self-service features, all while working seamlessly with live agents and customer support teams.
Most importantly, it enables brands and retailers to engage with their customers any time that’s most convenient for them through the conversational channels they prefer to use.
Delivering this level of flexibility is the new standard of customer experience and is expected by modern consumers across the board.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways automated AI chatbot solutions can assist businesses in driving a superior e-Commerce customer experience.
1. Provide On-Demand Assistance and Engagement
The primary reason a business should adopt an automated chat solution is simple. Modern consumers no longer wish to be tethered to a company’s hours of operations to do their shopping, have their questions answered, or resolve their issues.
The rise in eCommerce has enabled customers to do their shopping whenever, wherever they want, and they expect the same level of service and assistance that a company provides in person when they shop online.
Automated AI chatbots, like Linc’s suite of Digital Workers provide 24/7 customer support and engagement for inquiries pertaining to:
- Product or service details
- Post-purchase order support and shipment tracking
- Purchasing questions and check-out barriers
- Returns, exchanges and make-goods situations
2. Empower Live Agents and Customer Support Teams
As was stated above, AI chatbot solutions became the saving grace for live agents and contact center employees who became inundated with the massive influx of inquiries that resulted from the shift to eCommerce first online shopping.
AI Chatbots and similar solutions, such as Linc’s Digital Workers, are not designed to replace live agents, merely to empower and assist your customer support team.
By deflecting and resolving common, menial inquiries through automation, your support organizations can focus on the business-critical issues that only a real person can resolve. Chatbots assist live agents by:
- Acting as first responders to assist the end-customer on behalf of your business, offloading over 85% of eCommerce use cases.
- Providing a seamless hand-off to live agents, or creating tickets for offline agents, when necessary by understanding a customer’s tone and intent
- Freeing your live agents to focus on business-critical inquiries or use cases that only a human can resolve
3. Automate Post-Purchase Order Support Inquiry Resolution
Any brand will tell you that the most common inquiries their support agents receive pertain to post-purchase order support. It’s understandable – no one likes to play the waiting game, and a lack of visibility or communication on the status of an order can become very frustrating, very fast.
But the truth is, live agents are rarely needed to resolve these inquiries.
Modern AI chatbot solutions, like Linc’s Holistic Post-Purchase Order Support Digital Worker, can offload various post-purchase inquiries through automation, such as:
- Answering questions like “Where Is My Order” (WISMO)
- Providing proactive shipping update notifications and real-time track and trace capabilities
- Streamlining order modification and split-shipment management
4. Deliver Personalized Assistance During the Research Process Through Consultative Selling
The conversational AI powering today’s modern chat solutions is truly groundbreaking.
Solutions provided by companies such as Linc no longer act as simple gatherers of customer information, but rather, they’re able to take on roles that more closely resemble a personal shopper or concierge.
For instance, Linc’s Consultative Selling Digital Worker is able to provide out-of-the-box support for 300+ eCommerce support services, such as:
- Providing a tailored shopping experience at the individual level
- Answering complex product detail inquiries during the research-before-you-buy process
- Provide individualized product recommendations based on historical customer purchasing patterns and a nuanced understanding of a brand’s product catalog
5. Eliminate Barriers During The Buying Process With On-Demand Support
Customers are now shopping during the times that are most convenient for them, and these times don’t always align with a business’s hours of operation.
Modern chat solutions, like Linc’s Buying Assistance Digital Worker, enables businesses to provide the dedicated service and assistance their customers expect on-demand, 24/7, eliminating any barriers or disruptions that could break a potential sale.
Automated AI Chatbot solutions can drive e-Commerce revenue by:
- Provide intuitive buying and checkout support by answering questions that would otherwise lead to cart abandonment
- Seamlessly guide your customers throughout the buying journey
- Deliver insight to product availability at in-store locations
6. Drive Revenue And Increasing Customer Retention and Loyalty
Modern AI chatbot solutions can even double as always-on Sales Executives that drive further revenue by turning one-time buyers into lifelong customers.
Solutions like Linc’s Customer Retention Digital Worker leverage customer habits and purchasing history to engage with customers about the product and services they care about and purchase the most.
An automated chat solution like Linc’s Customer Retention Digital Worker can:
- Increase the sign-ups of auto-delivery and subscription services
- Rapidly resolve loyalty and membership program inquiries
- Deliver fast warranty registration and claim resolution
7. Master Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store (BOPIS)
With the proliferation of BOPIS Buy Online Pick Up In Store and BOSS during the pandemic, businesses have begun to utilize chatbots to streamline their in-store pickup services.
Where once in-store pickup was a difficult and confusing fulfilment option, solutions like Linc’s Store Pickup Assistant use automated chat to make the process completely stress-free.
By applying a chatbot to your BOPIS strategy, retailers can:
- Automatically notify customers when their orders are ready for in-store pickup
- Provide proactive notification and 2-way communication pertaining to what a customer can expect when arriving at the store
- Automatically gather basic identification information upon arrival
- Seamlessly forward customer information to a store associate for fulfillment
8. Empower Customers To Resolve Their Own Issues With Self-Service Features
One of the primary drivers of increased customer satisfaction in modern CX strategies is giving customers the tools to help themselves.
Automated chat solutions can not only answer questions and resolve inquiries, but they can also guide customers through self-service processes that let them solve their problems on their own time through the method they prefer.
AI Chatbots that leverage self-service features can:
- Can enable seamless returns and exchanges
- Modify existing orders awaiting fulfillment
- Manage multiple orders or split-shipment deliveries
9. AI Chatbots Enable Seamless Make-Good Resolutions
Mistakes happen. But how you rectify those mistakes is what matters the most.
When an item arrives damaged or ends up not being what that person ordered, a customer only ever wants a rapid resolution to this error.
AI chatbot driven CX automation solutions, such as Linc’s Make Good Digital Worker, provides immediate assistance by:
- Automatically responding to Make Good situations using a brand’s most common reason codes
- Providing rapid support according to a company’s policies
- Quickly resolving issues without involving a human agent
- Driving further customer satisfaction and loyalty by offering a discount on a future purchase or credit to the customer’s account
10. Increase Customer Satisfaction Through Automated Promotion Assistance
Unintuitive promotion support is a primary driver for dissatisfaction in the customer experience. It can break a sale if a customer can’t understand why a promo code can’t be applied to a certain product at checkout.
Automated AI chatbots, like Linc’s Promotion Support and Awareness Digital Worker, can easily resolve promotion inquiries, such as:
- Providing real-time assistance identifying and applying active promotions
- Providing concise explanations for why a promo code is inapplicable (I.e. expiration or inapplicable items in the cart)
- Identifying active promotions, ensuring customers get the value they expect
Is It Worth Adopting AI Chatbots To Improve Customer Experience?
There is a common misconception that overhauling or modernizing a brand’s existing customer experience offerings and adopting an automated AI chatbot solution is a difficult and costly undertaking.
The truth is that it’s never been easier or more cost-effective.
Customer experience-CX automation companies, like Linc, have designed our solutions to work with our client’s existing CX strategies, with zero additional lift required. Whether an organization has their own customer service platform or is utilizing platforms such as Gladly, Zendesk or Kustomer.
Linc’s AI chatbot driven CX automation solutions seamlessly integrate to empower brands to deliver a stellar digital customer experience.
Linc is able to fully deploy and integrate their CX solutions and reach over 85% of use case automation in just a few weeks, and our clients see the benefits almost immediately.
The most common CX automation results:
- Reduced support costs
- Significant rise in revenue
- Massive increases to customer satisfaction
The CX automation case study results speak for themselves.