By implementing a self-service artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot solution, TechStyle Fashion Group (parent company of JustFab, Fabletics, ShoeDazzle) saved more than $1 million and was able to reduce the overall number of calls to its contact centers for transactional and traditionally self-service issues. In addition, the chatbot’s proactive, context-inclusive handoff of more complex chat sessions to live agents enabled quicker resolutions. As a result, TechStyle customers now have 24/7 availability to self-service features like checking on the status of an order, billing questions or skipping a month (for its subscription services).
TechStyle has implemented NICE inContact's CXone AI Self-Service Solution, including integrated SmartAction Omni-bot, which has helped to improve the fashion subscription retailer's operational efficiency, enhance customer experiences, and reduce operational costs.
In an interview with Total Retail, Mike Gamez, GMS member solutions manager at TechStyle, and Chris Bauserman, vice president, segment and product marketing at NICE InContact, detail how the fashion retailer is boosting its bottom line with the use of AI for customer service.
Total Retail: Why did TechStyle decide to invest in AI as a customer service tool?
Mike Gamez: Customer expectations are rapidly evolving in today’s fast-paced retail landscape, and TechStyle saw an opportunity to leverage AI as a way to meet and exceed those expectations. We had been offering conversational voice self-service for several months, but our chat channel was where we needed it the most. Before implementing the NICE inContact solution, chats were directly routed to a live chat agent without any authentication or self-service features. This caused spikes in volume and made it difficult to staff appropriately. The chatbot as part of CXone helps us achieve incredible return on investment and customer experience benefits driven by AI, such as a 45-second reduction in average handle time.
TR: How is the AI-driven chatbot integrated with TechStyle's live customer service agents?
Chris Bauserman: The CXone AI Self-Service Solution lets TechStyle automate complex, repetitive inquiries through natural language voice or chatbot self-service. If an AI-powered interaction needs to elevate to an agent, the chatbot provides the agent with the full customer context, case summary and chat history to create a seamless hand-off. The customer will not have to repeat any information to the agent.
TR: What issues are customers using the self-service AI solution for?
MG: Our chatbot is exceptional at handling repetitive tasks such as authentication and order status, which reduces call volume and valuable agent time, enabling agents to focus on more complex, in-depth interactions.
CB: The CXone solution, with proactive elevation to live agents as needed, enables TechStyle to have a real win-win. Its customers achieve fast resolutions and 24/7 availability to self-service features like checking on the status of an order, billing questions and skipping a month. Furthermore, it plays a key role in helping TechStyle achieve a 25 percent increase in agent productivity through deflecting those simpler interactions to the CXone AI Self-Service Solution.
TR: What are the business benefits that TechStyle has realized from implementing the self-service AI solution?
MG: Through the launch of our NICE inContact CXone chatbot, we’ve achieved many business benefits, both in terms of immediate costs and also helping us to deliver better customer experiences that help us secure long-term, loyal customers. Some specific benefits include:
- $1.1 million in savings for 2017 (calculated per agent reduction, average handle time decrease, and containment);
- 18.5 percent overall containment average, meaning fewer calls to live agents;
- 45-second reduction in average handle time; and
- 77 percent member satisfaction, which is consistent with historical averages.
TR: What advice would you have for other retailers that are looking to use AI, particularly for customer service?
MG: Go with a contact-center platform that's open to swapping in or out multiple AI technologies and is in the cloud. AI self-service products tend to work best if they focus on specific use cases or industries, so you many need to use multiple tools or change the ones you’ll need over time. The flexibility and openness of your contact center platform is critical.
A study by Forrester Consulting revealed a swath of benefits resulting from the transition to the cloud, including a payoff of $25.9 million over three years and a rapid payback period of just over three months for a representative 1,100 seat organization. Choosing the NICE inContact CXone cloud platform gives us the scalability, flexibility and cost effectiveness we need to drive better customer experiences. For businesses operating on legacy systems, making this transition may not seem like an immediate priority, especially when the systems purchased years ago have completely returned on the initial investment. In many cases, however, these systems are obstacles in delivering best-in-class customer experiences. In today’s retail environment, where the competition is just a click away, customer experience can be the differentiator that makes or breaks a consumer's decision to purchase. Leveraging AI via a unified cloud customer experience platform ensures we’re being as competitive as possible by providing exceptional, memorable customer experiences.
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