Five ways voice assistants can improve CX in retail

January 25, 2024

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In the competitive retail landscape, achieving exceptional customer service levels is often challenging. Limited budgets and the perception of call centers as cost centers can make meeting customer expectations feel like an uphill battle.

However, by adopting a customer-led approach to automation, retailers can stay competitive and surpass customer service expectations.

Here, we explore how voice assistants can help you improve customer experience in the dynamic retail environment.

1. Be available 24/7/365

Customers can expect to be put on hold for an average of 14 minutes and 17 seconds when calling customer support, with many waiting upwards of an hour to speak to a representative.

This is not the experience brands wish to offer, but the costs and operational efforts included in hiring and retaining staff (if they’re even available!), outsourcing to BPOs or hiring temp agents to cover busy periods are often prohibitive, leaving brands little choice but to leave customers on hold.

Using a voice assistant, you can answer every phone call immediately, 24/7/365. A strong, customer-led voice assistant can speak with customers in much the same way that your representatives can, handling common queries in a way that feels intuitive and supportive to customers while freeing up your people for calls where they can add more value.

2. Deliver personalized shopping experiences with customized product information

A voice assistant can integrate with your customer database to offer customized product information and special offers instantly. By suggesting products and offers that align with a customer’s preferences, the voice assistant can act much like a personal shopper, creating sales and loyalty opportunities within the customer service center.

What’s more, the contact center will be able to roll out marketing campaigns and experiences at the drop of a hat, ensuring the customer experience over the phone is a match for other channels.

3. Streamline complex tracking requests

Despite comprehensive online tracking systems, customers continue to call about their orders.

While some customers simply prefer to phone, others believe they can bargain with customer service representatives to get more favorable responses. For example, a customer may want to explain why their delivery is so urgent in the hope that the agent can pull strings to make the delivery faster.

Tracking inquiries can also be more complicated than allowed for by simple order tracking systems. Perhaps the customer ordered two items at once, and only one has arrived. Perhaps the information on the tracking system is confusing, and the customer can not find the relevant information online.

Voice assistants offer a way to automate even the most complex WISMO requests over the phone. What’s more, smart customer-led voice assistants can talk customers through certain processes and reasoning, empowering them with accurate, up-to-date information while keeping representatives free for the customers who need them the most.

4. Prevent PR nightmares

Factors like extreme weather, natural disasters and even staffing shortages due to illness can interrupt service levels, resulting in massive peaks in call volume.

These unexpected instances where masses of customers turn to you for support are make-or-break moments for your brand.

Ensuring that you have enough CSRs available, and training each of them adequately on crisis procedures is an operational nightmare, but failure to respond instantly leaves you vulnerable to bad press and bad reviews.

By implementing a voice assistant, support can be scaled instantly, even during periods of volatile call volume, reducing wait times and ensuring that customers, especially those in an emergency, get a quick response.

5. Proactively address customer issues using call data and insights

Every customer call tells you something about friction points in their journey. The challenge is structuring these insights and data in a way that enables you to improve their experience.

For example, customers repeatedly complain about their orders not turning up on time. However, on closer examination, you discover each caller has missed a form field on the order page of the website due to a technical error.

Without this insight, you might optimize the process to help customers fix the issue. However, it doesn’t address the root cause, resulting in continued frustrating experiences.

Voice assistants automatically gather first-party customer data, such as call transcripts, during every call and turn it into structured, usable data. Retailers are presented with clear information about trends, why customers are calling, and which products have been highlighted for negative and positive reasons. By introducing a voice assistant, you can proactively address issues before they become complaints.

Conclusion

From smoothing out call peaks to managing complex WISMO requests, integrating call center voice AI is a crucial solution to improving customer experience.

The access to valuable customer insights through structured conversational data empowers retailers to address root causes and optimize processes. At the same time, the customized product information adds a unique touch to the shopping experience.

By adopting these strategies, you can stay ahead in the competitive world of retail.

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