Conversational AI Will Play a New Role in Improving Customer Service for Retail in 2022
In 2022, the retail industry will have to significantly improve its customer service and customer experience (CX), which were severely impacted by the pandemic. Customer service is often the frontline for a company’s brand and reputation, and a third of consumers say that it’s worse now than prior to the pandemic.
We’ve all been impacted in some way or another by the current labor shortage. Unfortunately, natural disruptions and call spikes in customer service will continue to be prevalent in 2022 and beyond. However, technology will enable companies to make their CX a major differentiator — if done right.
Looking at the months ahead, conversational artificial intelligence (AI) in particular will move to the forefront as a means to improve customer service for retailers. More specifically, conversational AI will become:
- more scalable and efficient;
- more personal and proactive; and
- more central as the face of the brand.
Why is this shift so critical for retailers? Companies that prioritize CX will create better experiences for their current customers and attract new ones. As a result, we will see a rise in proactive customer service based on the insights and analytics provided by conversational AI for all industries, but especially retail.
In the past, companies have worked with the mantra of “wait for something to break and then fix it.” With the detailed analytics and insights provided by AI-based customer service solutions, companies can dig into what customers are calling for most and start to put solutions in place to reduce calls in the future. Sometimes the calls are regarding a product, while other times it's a customer experience complaint. With a better understanding behind why customers are reaching out to customer service, provisions can be made to improve the experience.
It has become standard practice for customers to be able to track their delayed shipment without an agent. Proactive service means taking that same delayed shipment information and improving the customer experience with automation resolution options that keep a personal touch. For example, when there's a delayed shipment, companies will begin creating a process for the customer to reschedule the delivery based on their preferences as a way to accommodate their schedule and help to improve the experience of the buying process. Whether it be by text message or voice, the issue will be resolved without having to deal directly with a live agent.
Additionally, the data reveals problems that product teams may not be tracking. There are still misconceptions regarding what types of customer issues are most frequently routed through call centers. Analyzing call center data will show what calls agents are fielding the most — and it likely will be surprising to teams. By having this information as it relates to product satisfaction, companies can proactively make changes to a product and/or offering as a way to eliminate the increased number of unsatisfied customers and reduce the amount of calls agents will have to resolve.
Prior to conversational AI, these types of metrics were provided manually at best. In 2022, AI will become an essential addition to a company’s product team.