Chatbots have already proven in the past that they simplify customer service. Thanks to the advancement in artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots were lifted to a level where they can revolutionise the entire customer journey. But how can Conversational AI be used along the customer journey? This article will give you insights on navigating AI technology together with facilitating a positive customer experience.
What is a customer journey?
The customer journey represents the customer’s interaction touchpoints, from the first contact to the purchase decision. During this process, customers go through different stages, have different needs, and are looking for different answers or solutions to their problem. During this process, the customer repeatedly comes into contact with a brand or a company. These points of contact, so-called touchpoints, can be an ad, a social media post on Facebook or a search result on Google, to name a few examples.
In the past, this customer journey was relatively linear and mainly characterised by push marketing measures such as TV advertising or print ads. However, digitisation has changed the customer journey significantly in recent years. The touchpoints are increasing, trackable to a certain extent and, at the same time, becoming more complex.
The task of a company is now to pick up the dialogue with potential customers along these touchpoints, respectively addressing the current stage. But what does that mean in concrete terms? A prospective customer who is at the very beginning of the customer journey is probably only looking to solve a particular problem. Once a potential solution for the problem is identified, customers start to compare the advantages and disadvantages of individual products.
Thus, companies must address potential customers with the right content at the right time in order to further advance the customer journey. AI-based chatbots can support this process at different stages, improving the customer experience.
How Conversational AI improves the customer experience
It is true that the use of conversational AI brings many advantages for the company itself. However, both the company and its customers benefit from it. After all, by using AI-based chatbots, you can improve the customer experience immensely – and in a number of ways.
Because Conversational AI uses Natural Language Processing (NLP), consumers can communicate with a chatbot as they would with a human. The AI-based chatbot can analyse consumer input on its own and provide a suitable answer without error messages or the need for human intervention. In particular, simple enquiries, such as FAQs, can be easily answered without tying up valuable staff resources.
The right expertise for every customer
Customer service tasks can be challenging, especially when skilled employees have to answer the same simple queries over and over again. This is not only exhausting for employees, but also does not match their expertise. It’s much more efficient to automate repetitive queries with Conversational AI to reduce customer wait times and free up staff to spend more time on the queries that require human empathy. This way, every customer gets the expertise they need and service quality is improved.
Unlike humans, a chatbot is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So customers can get information about a product or service around the clock. The chatbot always gives them an answer and can also be reached outside normal opening hours. This way, customers do not have to wait for an answer, but receive it immediately at any time of the day or night.
Support in the buying process
To simplify the buying process, chatbots can provide further information for each product or offer a discount code. In addition, they can also provide customers with concrete support during the purchase process to make it as easy and pleasant as possible for them. This makes abandoned shopping carts or long waiting times for answers a thing of the past!
Less stress for consumers
Reaching customer service is often an unpleasant experience for customers. Either they have to wait days for an e-mail response or they spend hours in an automated telephone queue before they even get to speak to a human service agent. Especially for simple enquiries that can be resolved quickly, this is more annoying and inefficient. Conversational AI is able to solve several queries simultaneously in real-time. Chatbots are also much easier to reach than traditional support channels, where a chat window can be embedded on a website or on social media. This facilitates the communication between customers and companies and turns it into a positive experience.
Conversational AI for lead generation
Prospective customers should not have to spend a long time searching for products or services on a website. With an AI-based chatbot, this process can be significantly simplified for the customer and visitors can be welcomed on the homepage and quickly led to desired information or products thanks to intent-based dialogues, thus, increasing lead generation. At the same time, relevant customer data can be stored and analysed to further optimise the customer journey. A win-win situation for both customer and company.
How Conversational AI can be integrated along the customer journey
With AI-based chatbots, companies can generate added value for customers at various points in the customer journey. The AI combines the various prerequisites that are needed at the respective touchpoint. Conversational AI can pick up the customer individually at the respective touchpoint and guide them through their customer journey according to their needs.
As first contact
AI-based chatbots have proven to be practical touchpoint, especially during the first customer communication. They can initiate the first contact via the website or social networks and collect valuable customer data for a personalised approach. In contrast to cold calls, a prospect can obtain the desired information at his or her own pace. This increases the likelihood of a conversion in the long run.
For customer support & appointments
A chatbot is always available and provides answers in real time. Further product information can be gathered via a chatbot independent of opening hours or agent availability. Conversational AI delivers all the requested information and at the same time automatically saves valuable customer data. This is particularly useful for expensive products or services, as the purchase decision process usually takes longer here.
At the same time, Conversational AI can query specific needs and then make individual product recommendations or hand it over to sales. Through AI-based chatbots, prospective customers can receive the desired information more quickly or make a personal appointment with a sales employee directly in the chat.
In customer service
Especially during the support process, AI-based chatbots have already proven to be a sensible investment. They require less effort and offer instantaneous support for customers. As a first-level agent, Conversational AI acts independently in customer service and answers simple requests. It takes complex concerns, analyses them and forwards the request to an employee. This hybrid approach, which e-bot7 offers with their Agent+AI® solution, brings in the best advantages of both sides. On the one hand, the chatbot can offer first-level support around the clock while, on the other, if the AI cannot answer a question or the customer wants a personal contact, it can forward the request to support staff, including the collected information.
Fostering customer relationships
When integrating with CRM, Conversational AI can send out personalised greetings and product recommendations to increase customer loyalty. Conversational AI can also relay the customer’s intents and interests to the customer service agent to target a customer. Meanwhile, cross- and up-selling offers can be advertised in the chatbot to offer customers suitable upgrades to their already purchased products or services.
Better customer experience thanks to AI
The benefits of Conversational AI are not limited to support anymore, but are valuable for the entire customer journey. AI can pick up customers and prospects specifically at the respective touchpoint and provide them with relevant information. Essentially, Conversational AI becomes a salesperson, marketer and support employee in one, in order to optimally accompany the customer on their journey and to make their buying experience as positive as possible.
To learn more about e-bot7’s solution, schedule a demo here.