Retailers of all sizes are pivoting to ecommerce today and facing a huge surge in traffic on their online store. As a result, customer care teams have their work cut out for them—support more customers and sell more products.
However, when brands do not triage customer requests, the impact is felt deeply by support teams that are left tending to repetitive queries like shipping policies, order status, exchange policies, etc.
Retailers like yourself can increase agent productivity and efficiency with the help of sales automation chatbots. These AI chatbots have the capability to replace live agents for certain tasks such as FAQs. But, their primary goal is to augment your human teams to deliver the best experience to your customers.
In fact, by embracing chatbots, brands can collectively save up to $8 billion annually by 2022, according to a study by Juniper Research.
In this article, we share the different ways in which retailers can use chatbots to:
- Generate and qualify leads
- Automate frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Provide personalized recommendations
- Schedule appointments
- Turn boring web forms into conversations
- Add data to your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution
- Connect leads with your sales team in real-time
- Route incoming queries based on skills
- Automate customer win-back campaigns with notifications
- Send automated CSAT surveys
Let’s dive right into it!
How chatbots can drive sales automation for your brand
1. Generate and qualify leads
Store owners should treat all traffic as potential leads, and nurture these relationships.
Just the other day, I landed on the website of a popular beauty brand, looking to buy a perfume. However, I found a better deal elsewhere and chose to shop there instead.
Was I a shopper with high purchase intent?
Yes, but the beauty brand didn’t know. I was “traffic” that could’ve turned into a paying customer with a promo code.
With a chatbot on your website, your business can potentially convert these website visitors into paying customers via round-the-clock engagement, even outside business hours. You can also collect email addresses to ensure you have a way to reach your customers.
2. Automate frequently asked questions (FAQs)
In the past, businesses have worked from 9 AM to 5 PM and supported their customers during these hours. However, today, shoppers don’t stick to this schedule. This report reveals that ecommerce shopping peaks between 8 PM to 9 PM from Monday to Thursday. In fact, evenings are a prime time for customers to make online purchases.
Your support team doesn’t have to work around-the-clock, and you can still lend a helping hand to shoppers when they land on your website.
By automating FAQs inside a chatbot, you help your customers find answers themselves. The chatbot acts like a first line of defence, automatically answering repetitive questions while maintaining a personal and interactive experience. Over 50% of shoppers are likely to choose this self-serve conversational experience over talking to a human or navigating to your FAQ page (if it exists) that may be buried somewhere on your website.
The chatbot answers these FAQs around-the-clock, only routing complex and sensitive queries to your support team. With mundane support queries out of the way, your human team is more productive and has bandwidth to focus on conversations that drive a sale.
3. Provide personalized recommendations
In-store assistance plays a huge role in the buying process. In my case, I shy away from purchasing skincare products online. I like to speak to an expert, discuss what I’m looking for, evaluate suggestions and then make a purchase.
This holds true for so many shoppers who need the assurance that their purchase aligns with their unique needs.
With a chatbot on their website, retailers and ecommerce merchants can provide this level of personalized service 24-7. Shoppers engage with the chatbot, answer a set of questions and only see a few shortlisted items that are specifically tailored to their needs.
For example, the MAKE UP FOR EVER chatbot gathers information on my complexion and skin combination before making a product recommendation. It’s way easier than sifting through an online catalogue of 1000 or more products, trying to shade match.
4. Schedule appointments
Once the lockdown was lifted, long lines were reported outside stores in several countries. Experts predicted this, citing pent-up demand.
By allowing your customers to schedule appointments, you can take a step towards building sales automation efficiency. You are in a better position to manage store visits by limiting the number of customers inside the store and also avoid losing out on those shoppers who don’t like to stand in a queue.
Moreover, appointment scheduling is a safer alternative to waiting outside a store. This way, you provide a superior customer experience that prioritizes customer safety in a secure and uncrowded shopping environment. As emphasized by McKinsey’s retail report from June, providing safe experiences for shoppers will continue to be paramount for months, and possibly years, to come.
5. Turn boring web forms into conversations
Filling out lengthy forms is a tedious exercise for shoppers. They want to get answers immediately, not jump through multiple hoops. With immediacy key for the optimal customer experience, it is not surprising that retailers are replacing web-based forms with conversational AI or chatbots.
By offering a chatbot experience on your website, you:
- Build trust with your shopper through meaningful interactions
- Support customers in real-time
- Gather customer data by talking to your shoppers
- Adjust questions based on customer responses
- Increase customer attention with targeted questions and clear Call to Action (CTA)
Chatbots can qualify and convert your visitors into customers by engaging them in a conversation, so they spend time shopping and interacting with your brand rather than filling out forms.
If you’re wondering how you’ll collect customer data in the absence of a form, fret not! Chatbots can collect customer information like email addresses in a conversation and push the details into your marketing automation tool like MailChimp. That way, you establish a long-term customer communication and engagement strategy for your business.
6. Add data to your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution
Syncing your systems is a key piece in the sales automation puzzle. You can integrate your chatbot into your CRM, such as Salesforce, Zendesk CRM or Hubspot, to ensure a seamless flow of data.
For example, if you connect your CRM to Heyday’s customer messaging platform, your team can access customers’ contact details, conversations, and additional customer insights such as browsing paths and interests. You can also enrich your sales and marketing outreach campaigns with this customer data for better results.
7. Connect leads with your sales team in real-time
Your chatbot can pre-qualify the conversation and ascertain the shopper’s purchase intent before routing the query to your sales team.
Once the live agent takes over the conversation, the chatbot remains on standby and assists the rep by suggesting responses.
You can also transfer high-purchase intent customer queries from your online-store to the sales staff on your shop floor. All they have to do is have the customer messaging app on their phone to answer incoming questions right away.
By focusing your sales reps on such high-value sales conversations, you shorten the sales cycle and achieve sales automation efficiency.
8. Route incoming queries based on skills
Shoppers look for expert assistance before making a purchase decision and you have an option to bring the expertise of your in-store experts online. You can route and assign customer queries based on the expertise of your agents
Decathlon, a sporting goods retailer, does this remarkably well. They connect the customer with a sports advisor, depending on their purchase interest. This way, shoppers are certain that they receive expert advice and can make an informed purchase decision.
9. Automate customer win-back campaigns with notifications
To revive dormant leads, many retailers like yourself invest in marketing automation solutions and trigger emails directly to customers.
But how many of us actually check these emails? Emails are often lost in the inbox, and the open rate is abysmal at less than 2%.
You can initiate customer win-back campaigns on Facebook Messenger by notifying shoppers through a restock alert or a price-drop notification.
While email is a tried and tested way to communicate with customers, bear in mind that you are competing with other brands to get your message across. Instead, you could be using newer messaging channels like Facebook Messenger and Google’s Business Messages to establish a more well-rounded and interactive experience for your customers.
10. Send automated CSAT surveys
CSAT or customer satisfaction surveys are an invaluable tool to gather feedback from your customers on how they feel about your product(s) and service. Not only can you use CSAT surveys to gauge the pulse of your customer, but can also identify areas of improvement.
Whenever your reps close a conversation with a lead, the chatbot can trigger a CSAT survey automatically and you can track and measure results inside the solution.
Here’s an example of what that might look like:
By investing in chatbots to increase sales automation and improve agent efficiency, you ensure that every customer conversation is:
- Omnichannel: If a customer writes to your business on Messenger, then drops and email, you will log that as one conversation and respond with context.
- Logged: You have full visibility into the number of customer queries that are received, pending and resolved.
- Enhanced: The chatbot learns from every conversation, turning your dataset from an “order number” to “customer preference.”
There is only one question left to ask—are you ready to increase your revenue with sales automation? Click here to get started.