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Humanizing the Shopping Experience with Chatbots

It’s not about mimicking humans, but actually offering a human experience. Nailing your chatbot strategy will unlock an exceptional customer experience that exceeds customer expectations.

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David Feng
Co-Founder and CRO

Re:amaze is a helpdesk, live chat, and customer messaging platform designed for eCommerce brands, serving 5000+ brands around the world.

In our always-plugged-in world, consumers’ expectations of customer service continue to expand. Not only do they want 24/7 support, they want it on their platform of choice, whether it’s through social media, email, or chat.

In this chapter, we’ll dive into how bots can help you humanize eCommerce and increase conversions.

Why more eCommerce brands need a chatbot

Chatbots have become the preferred front-line customer service solution, and with good reason. They’re always on, and they can be integrated with many different platforms. In fact, chatbots are estimated to save businesses up to $11 billion in support costs by 2025, according to Business Insider.

When businesses think about implementing chatbots, they should be setting out to do so to improve customer experiences for specific scenarios. There are several key assumptions business owners must make when deciding to implement chatbots:

  • My existing customers and potential new customers will be okay talking to a chatbot in exchange for immediate service.
  • My customers will be okay with talking to chatbots as long as they know they can still reach my team.
  • I have a very good idea about what I want to automate through the use of chatbots and I believe chatbots can serve customers better in those situations.
  • My team is okay with chatbots occasionally under-performing and upsetting a customer.

When looking through these assumptions, it’s clear that it’s not the chatbot that’s humanizing the experience but the business owner.

Business owners must fundamentally believe chatbots can improve their customers’ experience under specific use cases, either due to a high confidence level in the accuracy of a chatbot’s responses or due to the speed of service when delivering a simple answer.

A mistake that many brands make is wanting their chatbot to appear like an actual human. The idea isn’t to trick your customers into thinking they’re interacting with a real human though; it’s to provide them with a human experience.

Chatbots are not designed to mimic humans. In fact, any business that uses chatbots in this fashion is doing it wrong. The “humanizing” part about chatbots is the human-driven and human-derived intent.

5 perfect use cases for a chatbot

If the key to making a chatbot seem human is to provide a good experience for your customer, then it’s important to consider how a bot will help you accomplish your goals. Here are a few scenarios for eCommerce brands where a chatbot is an excellent solution.

Direct customers to educational resources

If you have a lot of FAQ articles that customers never read, you can program a chatbot to use this content. A chatbot that can learn from your FAQ content and then surface those answers to customers who ask relevant questions can help solve a problem instantly and help reduce overhead, saving time and resources.

Help customers find what they’re looking for more easily

A concierge-like bot can help customers find the right product through intelligent data, and it can pass things along to a human when its options are exhausted.

Provide order status updates

Many customer service teams field a lot of questions about order statuses, and this can divert time away from more valuable conversations that require a human to handle. A chatbot can easily detect a question such as “where’s my order” and immediately provide a friendly, yet timely, response. If the customer needs more info, then they can progress to a live agent if needed.

Collect pertinent information before a human steps in

Even in situations where a customer needs a human to help out, a chatbot can still streamline the experience by collecting useful information that can improve the experience once an agent is available.

How to humanize your chatbot

While it’s not advisable to try and program a chatbot that seems like an actual human, that doesn’t mean that it has to sound like an actual robot either.

There are a few ways that you can ensure that the language your chatbot uses conveys a friendly, approachable, and helpful tone as that first touchpoint with the customer. Here are some pointers:

Start off with a greeting

Just like in life, it’s polite to start a conversation with a salutation. Even if customers initiate the conversation, your first response should begin with a friendly hello.

Give your bot some personality

Even small touches of personality throughout a conversation can go a long way to making the chatbot experience more enjoyable for your customers — and this is much easier to do if you think about your chatbot as an actual person. It might seem silly at first, but creating a fleshed-out persona for your bot will make it easier to write exchanges that seem less cold.

Tap into your brand voice

It’s important for your chatbot to be cohesive with your overall brand voice, so the customer experience doesn’t feel disjointed. Think about how you communicate with customers across other channels and find ways to infuse your bot with some key references to this voice. This will make your bot an extension of your brand, rather than just an AI tool.

Choose a name

Giving your chatbot a name that aligns with its personality and your brand is an easy way to make it more relatable.

Give customers conversational options to choose from

Typically customers will select predetermined options when interacting with a chatbot, and rather than making these basic “yes” and “no” phrases, consider opting for more conversational responses. This starts to create the sense of an actual conversation, and it makes it easier to craft copy for the bot that “responds” to these exchanges in more natural ways.

Avoid formalities

You might have strict rules about grammar and style across your site, but a chatbot can easily get weighed down by formality. Don’t let the rules prevent you from creating a relatable exchange with your customers.

Don’t shy away from emojis

With more people communicating via short messaging, emojis and gifs have become a common way to communicate in succinct ways. Not only does an emoji make the exchange more playful, it can also be a quick way to add personality without excessive characters.

How to increase conversion with a bot

In a recent survey conducted by Audience, MyClever, and Drift, thousands of customers were asked to evaluate their online experience with businesses and to detail their frustrations. These were their top answers:

  • The site is hard to navigate (34%)
  • Can’t get answers to simple questions (31%)
  • Basic details about a business are hard to find (28%)
  • Takes too long to find services (27%)

What do all of those complaints have in common? They can result in a consumer leaving the site without making a purchase. Another thing they have in common is that a chatbot can alleviate them. By helping customers find what they’re looking for and answering their questions, those customers will have a better shopping experience, and they’ll be more likely to stick around and buy something.

Another way you can increase conversions is by using a chatbot for cart abandonment. Chatbots can remind customers before they leave the site that they have items in their cart, and ask them if they need help. You can also use chatbots to deliver upsells and information about promotions.

There are a multitude of ways that you can use chatbots to directly improve conversions, but there are some indirect ways they can benefit your business, too. Without having to invest time and money into the first level of customer service, you’ll be able to pour those resources into other new and innovative ways to grow your business.

Conclusion

Chatbots shouldn’t be thought of as “robots who talk to my customers.” The fact is, true artificial intelligence doesn’t exist yet. Most of the “bot” experience is driven by data. Therefore, merchants have control over a bot’s conversational patterns and have lots of opportunities to inject a humanizing experience that is simply augmented by automation technology.

Brands shouldn’t shy away from bots; instead, they need to embrace bots for their many benefits and use them to create experiences that work for their customers.

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