As consumers search for more personalized experiences online, retailers need to find strategies to leverage technology as people care about value. Forrester predicts that more than 25% of all U.S. retail sales will be online by 2024. This figure is a real challenge for retailers to change their business model to provide a world-class customer experience on that scale.
Given this speed of change, it is now necessary to study how people and technology can be connected to the e-commerce environment, using artificial intelligence chatpots to add human agents. I want to think of this as the value of people’s talent multiplied by the amount of technology capacity that provides a customized service while reducing service costs.
According to Gartner, the three main challenges companies face when it comes to deploying artificial intelligence are staff skills (56%), fear of the unknown (42%), and finding a starting point (26%).
Attendees supported this at the iMedia Retail Summit in Rotorua in 2021, where the most pressing questions for retail executives about artificial intelligence were ‘where and when to start?’
I believe that New Zealand has sufficient in-house and sales skills to close the gap identified by Gartner. In most cases, using small quick starts with quick iterative improvements is a smart strategy and winning ‘we don’t know what we don’t know’. For some retailers, such as Noel Leeming, the lock provided a catalyst for the introduction of artificial intelligence when its stores were closed, but they were in significant demand.
Launched in just 12 days in May last year (2020), Nola chatbot (actually a “digital worker”) helped Noel Leeming’s customers click and collect claims, find branches, returns and exchanges, and take the load off customer support.
The discussions were designed using a supervised machine learning model to ensure that Nola remained in the brand with tone of voice, protocols and engagement.
Nola now handles 89% of conversations, currently priced at 47 cents per conversation and drop. Although Nola was implemented as a solution to deal with Noel Leeming increasing customer service volumes, not long before they realized the power he had in increasing their sales capacity.
It turns out that Noel Leeming consultants together with Nola are good at extending warranties and getting close to store prices.
Nola’s experience shows that artificial intelligence is not impersonal, but because of its presence, it becomes familiar and is reliable, ready for your customers day and night.
It doesn’t mean the need to lose what’s good about human interaction: artificial intelligence is intuitive, and by providing a guided sales experience, it actually listens to customers. Finding customers for a live representative for expert product advice and assistance, if needed, shows how both can work together.
Brands don’t need something as catastrophic as a national retail closure to start their AI journey. – discuss artificial intelligence platforms who do not require code, it is easy for in-house teams to start small and build their experience and business practices.
Natural language processing is evolving and chatbots are improving their understanding of the feelings and emotions of today’s customers to provide increasingly sophisticated levels of service.
More than 148,000 customers chose to interact with the Nola network in the first seven months, and 39% of these conversations took place after an hour. This means that four out of ten conversations have responded to customer needs and brought in new revenue outside of real-time agent opening hours. A figure that shows more than anything else why conversational artificial intelligence should be implemented now to cover these opportunity costs.