By Ashu Dubey Co-founder & CEO, Gleen
Customer service is critical to successful retail and eCommerce businesses. As competition intensifies, companies are continually seeking innovative ways to enhance the customer experience and build customer loyalty.
One such approach is the use of chatbots for customer interaction. While many eCommerce sites have implemented chatbots to automate customer service, the reality is that consumer dissatisfaction remains high due to several limitations. Generative AI will revolutionize the chatbot industry and, as a result, dramatically increase customer satisfaction and loyalty for retail and eCommerce businesses.
The Limitations of Traditional Chatbots
In a recent survey we conducted, 75% of retail/eCommerce respondents indicated that they have already implemented a chatbot.
However, 50% of all consumers are frustrated by their chatbot experiences, and these poor chatbot experiences drove 30% of them to competitor’s products/services.
In other words, current chatbots are actually decreasing instead of improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. Here’s why.
Inability to Comprehend Complex Questions: Imagine asking a chatbot about a product’s compatibility with specific accessories, only to receive a generic answer like, “We sell a variety of accessories.” Traditional chatbots often struggle to understand complex, nuanced queries, leading to frustrating experiences for customers.
Inability to Take Action: Many chatbots can answer simple queries but lack the functionality to perform actions like placing or modifying orders. Customers end up being redirected to a human agent, negating the purpose of automated service.
Lack of Understanding of User’s Context: Context is king in customer service. Traditional chatbots commonly provide irrelevant answers because they lack the ability to understand the context in which a question is asked, or simply fail to maintain a history of prior questions asked by the same customer.
Lack of Personalization: Traditional chatbots often typically offer a one-size-fits-all approach, lacking the ability to provide personalized advice or product recommendations.
Infinite Loops: Perhaps nothing is more frustrating than being caught in an endless loop, where the chatbot keeps asking the same questions, leading nowhere. This is a common issue with less sophisticated chatbots.
Generative AI: A Paradigm Shift
Generative AI represents a transformative leap in technology that promises to revolutionize chatbot functionality in retail and eCommerce.
Generative AI chatbots are powered by Large Language Models (LLMs), which are much more sophisticated algorithms that can understand and process language in a much more nuanced manner. As a result of this shift to generative AI, retail and eCommerce companies can dramatically improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. They can also have their customer support agents focus more on escalations and help their businesses scale more efficiently.
Key Generative AI Chatbot Benefits in Retail & eCommerce
Better at Understanding Complex Questions: Generative AI chatbots are much better at comprehending complex queries and providing extremely specific answers. As a result, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty will improve. For instance, ask a generative AI chatbot about product compatibility, and it will provide a detailed, precise response.
Ability to Take Actions: These chatbots go beyond mere conversation; they can execute tasks like placing orders or issuing refunds within the context of a regular conversation.
Maintaining the Full Context of Conversation: Generative AI chatbots excel at maintaining the context of the discussion. They can remember past interactions, offering a more cohesive and satisfying user experience.
Fluency in Multiple Languages: By being fluent in multiple languages, generative AI chatbots can cater to a global audience, thus expanding the market reach for businesses.
Integration with CRM Systems for Personalized Responses: When integrated with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, these chatbots can offer highly personalized interactions based on a user’s past behavior and preferences.
Empathy: Generative AI is, ironically enough, more empathetic. In a recent UC San Diego study, researchers took medical questions from Reddit and had qualified medical professionals answer the questions. They also had a generative AI chatbot answer questions. Responses were then selected randomly and judged by a panel of experts. The generative AI responses were more thorough, more accurate, and interestingly enough, more empathetic. Empathy is critical in retail and ecommerce customer support, especially when dealing with a frustrated or angry customer.
Immediate Escalation to Live Agents: Generative AI chatbots can detect when a customer is frustrated and seamlessly transition the conversation to a live human agent.
Potential Cons of Generative AI in eCommerce & Retail
Bias in Product Recommendations or Customer Interactions: Generative AI is not free from biases. The algorithms can inadvertently perpetuate existing societal prejudices if not properly managed.
Hallucination: Generative AI can sometimes generate incorrect or completely fictional information—a phenomenon known as “hallucination.”
Security Concerns: As a new potential entry point for cyberattacks, the security of generative AI chatbots cannot be overlooked.
Choosing the Right Technology Partner: Choosing a technology partner with a proven track record in minimizing biases, preventing hallucination, and maintaining robust security measures is crucial.
Generative AI chatbots are a significant paradigm shift for the retail and eCommerce sectors. By offering advanced features like understanding complex queries, performing tasks, and maintaining conversational context, they have the potential to dramatically improve customer loyalty and Net Promoter Scores (NPS). As technology matures, we can expect to see these advanced chatbots not only on eCommerce platforms but also in brick-and-mortar stores via kiosks or smartphone apps, ushering a new era in customer service excellence.
About the author
Ashu Dubey is the co-founder and CEO of Gleen – the hallucination-free customer support product leveraging generative AI. Previously, he was a product leader at LinkedIn – where he was responsible for driving user growth and launching new products, the most notable of which is LinkedIn Events. He is a serial entrepreneur and in his previous company 12 Labs, he built AI modules that recommended personalized dishes and exercises to people looking to lose weight.
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