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Boost Customer Experience in eCommerce with AI Assistants: A Guide to Modern Support Channels

Author: Marketing Team
Paul Campillo

We’ve come a long way since the early days of customer service – the days when customer queries and issues were punctuated by endless transfers, week-late emails, and horrible on-hold music. 

But if you look at the current state of the customer service experience, particularly for eCommerce, it’s hard to say things have improved. As a matter of fact, online retail has experienced a much sharper drop than brick and mortar since the pandemic: 

Instead of waiting on-hold with a customer service rep or shipping a question to the company email, customers now connect with service teams through DM’s on social media accounts or first-gen chatbots that spit out generic answers. 

What Customers Really Need from Your Support Team

It’s not a hard answer, it’s in the name: your customers need support

Not in a few weeks, days, or hours, but now

Instead of pre-packaged messages from some template or CRM, your customer support team needs to focus on improving the customer experience in the following ways: 

  • Instant Support: Most customers don’t wait around in stores forever, same goes for online shopping. Providing in-the-moment support drastically increases customer satisfaction and the chances of a sale. 
  • Feedback Collection: By storing and deriving feedback from customer service teams, businesses can provide a customer experience that truly aligns with expectations.
  • Post-purchase Support: The jobs not done after your customers click buy — you need to assist with order tracking, returns, exchanges, and follow-up queries to ensure customer satisfaction.
  • Proactive Support: Intervening when your customers are about to leave the page,  jumping in with timely, proactive support that makes the shopping experience more memorable and enjoyable.

Think about how much better the in-person shopping experience is at a luxury fashion retailer like Jimmy Choo, electrical appliance store like Best Buy, or even a Home Depot. You have knowledgeable, personable staff whose sole purpose is to address your questions and concerns — and, yeah, make a sale too.

With eCommerce sites improving constantly and new technologies like AI and VR entering the mainstream, there’s no excuse to drop the ball on customer experience. 

How to Improve Customer Support — Quickly

It’s all well and good to know what your support team needs to do to improve customer experiences in theory, but actually bringing it to fruition is a different story. 

To bring down those wait times, improve customer experiences, and ultimately rescue revenue from lost transactions, you need to focus on the following: 

  1. Leveraging Customer Data for Personalized Experiences

Every visitor to your site leaves their own unique digital footprint. You already know this and likely have a CRM, CEM, and other tools in place to use that information. Unfortunately, it’s not enough. 

Online retailers need to hit customers with a curated experience as soon as they hit the page — even if it’s for the first time. This means getting in touch with them while they’re on your site, finding out exactly what they’re looking for, and setting them on the right path.

Then, even if a sale falls through, you can use that data to fortify your customer experience and help rescue revenue down the road. 

  1. Continuously Adapting to Changing Consumer Trends

Consumers' interests and desires are constantly changing. Whether it's a new social media platform, trending song and dance, or hot new product, we’re always looking for the next great thing. 

But, from a customer service perspective, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time a new trend emerges. What you do need to do is make sure that your approach to customer service is in line with the interests and desires of your target market. You want to provide consistent, omni-channel support that meets customers where they are and helps strengthen their relationship to your brand.

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  1. Embracing New Technology 

If you need to improve customer support now — and we’re betting you do — this step is critical. No matter how good your support team is, they won’t be able to meet the needs your customers without the right tools in hand.

Technologies like augmented and virtual reality or voice command shopping are on the come-up and will take the online shopping experience that much closer to its in-person counterpart. It’s close, but its not there yet. 

Thinking about those pressing customer needs like instant, proactive, and post-purchase support, the technology you truly need to embrace now is already available: artificial intelligence.

Enhancing Customer Experience with an AI Concierge

Picture this: A customer named Jane is browsing an eCommerce site in search of the perfect gift for her friend's birthday. She comes across a product she thinks her friend would love, but she's uncertain about the sizing options. Jane attempts to find an answer in the FAQ section, but there's no clear information about sizing.

Feeling slightly frustrated, she tries to use the site's live chat feature, only to find that the customer support team is offline due to limited operating hours. Jane then decides to send an email, hoping for a swift reply. No luck – a few hours pass and she still hasn't received a response. 

With her friend's birthday just around the corner, Jane abandons her shopping cart and purchases a gift from another site instead. Can you blame her?

Unfortunately, this hypothetical happens all too often: eCommerce brands lose a potential sale due to ill-equipped customer support. These teams simply aren’t set up with the right tools to provide the timely, proactive support that drives good customer experiences.  

But with the right tools, that can all change. Here’s how an AI concierge could transform Jane's shopping experience and close the sale. 

Take Two: Jane’s AI-Assisted eCommerce Experience

An AI-powered chatbot, or AI concierge as we like to call it, could easily (and cost-effectively) transform Jane’s shopping experience. 

As soon as she hits the page, she’d be greeted by an AI chatbot that proactively initiates a conversation with her in an engaging (dare we say human) tone and style. After the formalities, this eCommerce concierge would help Jane navigate the product catalog, giving her information on what’s popular, on sale, or out of stock. 

Once Jane finds exactly what she’s looking for, the AI provides all relevant information on sizing and even connects her with a live customer support representative if necessary.

The AI concierge can even boost the customer experience post-sale, providing data on the other products she viewed while shopping so the marketing team can reach out with a personalized promotional message.

Key Features of Your Automated Customer Support

So, you know you need an AI concierge to empower your support team and drive better customer experiences on your eCommerce site. But we’re in the AI boom — everyone and their mother has a tool available. 

You need one that’s purpose built for your store that makes online shopping experience better, and here are the features you’ll need to accomplish that: 

1. Customizable look & feel

Automated customer support tools that adapt their style to match the brand's identity and user preferences create a consistent and personalized experience, which helps foster trust and connection with the customers.

2. Customizable Voice and tone

By employing a voice and tone that resonates with the target audience and reflects the brand's personality, automated support tools can make interactions feel more engaging, human-like, and relatable, enhancing the overall customer experience.

3. Contextual Conversations

High-quality customer support tools deliver accurate and relevant responses, addressing customer concerns effectively. This contributes to customer satisfaction and reinforces the brand's image as a reliable and dependable source of assistance.

4. Speed

Imagine employing an all-knowing brand ambassador who's an expert in just your business. This team member is ready to answer any question at a moment's notice—every product, every FAQ, shipping policy, etc. People want answers now? You don't have to worry about that anymore, with AI.

5. Coverage

Of course, AI doesn't sleep. 24/7 availability, automated customer support tools ensure that customers receive assistance whenever they need it, regardless of their time zone. This continuous coverage helps maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty.

6. Process

Streamlined processes integrated into automated customer support tools help guide customers through their journey, from troubleshooting to making a purchase. This seamless navigation results in a frictionless experience, increasing customer satisfaction and promoting brand loyalty.

Join the Future of eCommerce Customer Experiences with Rep

So, what are you waiting for? Embrace the digital revolution and transform the way your customers shop online. 

With cutting-edge technology at your fingertips, there's no reason not to elevate the retail experience for every visitor to your online store. Through the power of AI, you can now:

  • Provide seamless support around the clock
  • Cater to a global audience with ease
  • Curate an interactive shopping journey
  • Engage shoppers with context-driven interactions

Driven by next-generation AI solutions like ChatGPT, Rep will help your conversion rates soar, sales skyrocket, and customer inquiries shrink by up to 90%.

Welcome to the age of AI-assisted eCommerce, where your virtual concierge is always on hand to deliver the ultimate personalized shopping experience. The future of online retail is here – don't get left behind.

Find out just how much Rep’s AI concierge can save you with our ROI Calculator.

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Shoppers deserve a better experience—so let's give it to them. Conversational Shopping is the future of commerce. Join us.

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