Customer experience aka CX is now one of the defining factors in eCommerce success. By definition, customer experience constitutes every single interaction that a customer has with your organization through the various stages of the buyer’s journey.
Not only does it affect their likelihood of making a purchase right now but also their tendency to spread a good word about your brand to others and stay loyal.
In fact, in response to a Salesforce CX research, 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. eCommerce giants like Amazon are giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “good customer experience”.
The good news is that 66% of customers are now willing to pay a premium for great and consistent CX. So you have a concrete opportunity to boost revenue by providing outstanding customer experiences.
However, when you’re running a multifaceted eCommerce business with several interconnected teams, delivering a consistent customer experience is far from easy.
The struggle in rendering a consistent customer experience
There is no shortage of customer service tools and software that aid front-end customer interactions, and yet many businesses still struggle to render a consistent CX — and you can’t blame them.
Why? Because in the behind-the-scenes of a smooth-running eCommerce business are a lot of moving parts. With various departments and teams involved, the back-end operations can easily become fragmented.
For example, if a prospect inquires about a product’s availability, a customer service agent may need information from the procurement department to return with an accurate answer. Similarly, if a customer wants to know the exact delivery date of their order, the agent needs information from the shipping department to respond correctly.
This means rendering a consistent customer experience demands timely and accurate collaboration between various departments, and even a slightly siloed structure can lead to delays and/or inaccuracies in customer service.
If the different departments have different priorities and processes that aren’t tied to a single overarching CX-first approach, then delivering a consistent CX will remain a challenge.
So, a lack of standardization and misalignment of internal processes — which is fairly common — results in inconsistency in customer communications which consequently leads to confusion for both the customers and the customer service team, hurting the overall CX.
Now, the same Salesforce research shows that 69% of customers expect a connected experience when they engage with a company. 78% of customers expect consistent interactions across departments. For instance, they expect a service rep to know the details of their recent eCommerce transactions, and engage accordingly.
The first and biggest step your eCommerce business can take is to adopt an omnichannel and customer-first approach when setting up internal processes throughout the company — from procurement to marketing automation and post-purchase customer service.
And automation (with AI and machine learning) — as counterintuitive as it may sound — goes a long way in doing that. It helps tie everything together and break down silos to establish a CX-first business strategy.
How automation can help deliver a consistent customer experience
There are quite a lot of ways AI helps improve customer experience. Let’s take a look at the top three ways how experience automation can deliver a consistent and excellent customer experience.
Personalized product & content recommendations
Recent Epsilon research indicates 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. Furthermore, 31% of consumers want their shopping experience to be more personalized than it currently is.
Clearly, effective personalization is vital to render a top-notch customer experience.
With AI, you have the power of predictive personalization wherein the system analyzes past behaviors, purchase history, and various other data points to automatically deliver dynamic on-site experiences and product recommendations that are most likely to engage individual customer segments.
For example, Amazon’s AI-powered product recommendation engine (which brings in 35% of the company’s revenue) uses data from purchase and browsing history, along with related items that are frequently bought together, to display a personalized list of products that customers are far more likely to be interested in.
Personalization applies to your website content as well, so you can display different content to different visitors, based on their preferences and behaviors. This will enhance the on-site customer experience and drive meaningful customer engagement.
Consider using an AI-powered eCommerce personalization tool like Dialogue to present personalized messages and relevant product recommendations at every step of the buyer’s journey. The tool analyzes customer behavior as they make their journey on the website and builds a dynamic, real-time profile for each customer.
With such comprehensive personalization on your eCommerce store, customer churn at each stage of the funnel will go down, and engagement and conversion rates for each stage will shoot up.
Round the clock & consistent customer service with chatbots
Another notable way in which automation enhances CX is how it helps to increase the speed of customer service.
In the not so distant past, customer service interactions involved customers having to wait for the next available support agent on the phone, use a contact form and wait for a response over email, submit countless helpdesk tickets, and so on.
However, all that is simply unacceptable to the modern customer — whose patience wears thin at just 10 minutes. In fact, 90% of customers rate immediate response from businesses as “important” or “very important” when a customer service issue comes up.
Sure, live chat enables customers to have faster communication with your business. For 41% of consumers, in fact, it is the preferred channel for contacting support teams. Live chat strengthens trust with your brand and makes customers feel that someone on your end is always ready to assist.
But it’s not realistic to have a customer support team sitting behind the chatbox 24/7.
Enter AI-powered chatbots. While they’re not a replacement for human agents, chatbots are a nifty customer service tool to provide swift answers to your customers’ commonly asked questions, so they don’t have to wait for an email response, call you, fill out a contact form, or lodge multiple helpdesk tickets.
There are many more concrete CX benefits of using chatbots. A chatbot:
- Is available round the clock so your business is approachable 24/7.
- Doesn’t get frustrated while interacting with disgruntled customers.
- Provides instant and accurate answers (no blunders!).
- Can route customers to the right customer service agent for the best support.
- Can sync your customer’s shipment with real-time delivery updates.
- Can point customers to the various parts of your website based on what they’re looking for.
- Engages website visitors who might otherwise leave without an initial proactive touchpoint.
Above all, a chatbot automates repetitive aspects of customer service so your support team can focus on solving tricky customer issues and ensure a satisfactory experience.
Easier & actionable customer feedback capture
The most surefire way to continually grow your eCommerce business and learn what your customers want is to get feedback from your customers. However, unless their experience is exceptionally bad, most customers won’t take the time to give feedback.
Automation helps facilitate the feedback process for both customers and your business, so you can constantly learn and exceed customer expectations
With survey tools like Omniconvert, you can generate the NPS automatically, so you don’t have to do the math and just interpret the NPS results and take action based on the survey insights. You can set the survey to show up automatically as a popup or widget on your website, or send it at regular intervals via email.
In doing so, you measure a customer’s sentiment towards your brand or products over time and gain actionable insights on how you can improve your eCommerce experience.
Thriving as an eCommerce brand in today’s ultra-competitive landscape essentially comes down to nailing your customer experience automation. With ever-increasing customer expectations, there’s not much room for error and inefficiencies — in each and every customer interaction.
75% of organizations using AI have enhanced their customer satisfaction by more than 10%, as per Capgemini’s research. So AI and automation are a key piece of the CX puzzle.
And yes, customers still and will always need the human touch, but automation facilitates many of the routine or repetitive interactions so human agents can focus on giving the valuable personal touch in complex scenarios.
Long story short, while automation isn’t the definitive answer to delivering outstanding customer experiences, it certainly has a huge role to play in providing a consistent CX that streamlines customer interactions, builds stronger customer relationships, reinforces trust, and raises the bar for your competitors.
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