The powerful tool whose potential so many businesses are neglecting

It’s widely known that good customer service is fundamental for a successful business and imperative to building positive brand reputation, loyalty and trust with consumers. Focus has moved from developing the newest and most innovative products to emphasising the importance of communications and technology channels. In the ever-changing digital world, the pinnacle pillar of success for small businesses will be in the delivery of forward-thinking and consistent customer experiences integrated online and offline.

Recent studies* have shown that a staggering 77 per cent of customers won’t make a purchase on a website that doesn’t have a live chat function. This reinforces the huge revolution Live Chat has had as a leading customer service channel. The same study revealed almost 80 per cent of consumers prefer live chat over other communication channels for the immediacy it offers.

We are in the age of the “now” generation, where customers need answers fast and on their terms. Whereas phone and email rely on the company’s responsiveness and stock standard responses between nine and five, Live Chat puts the customer in control and enables them to receive an instant response that is researched and personalised, 24 hours a day.

Soon enough, however, even the full capacity chat functionality won’t be enough for consumers – so what’s next? We are already heading towards a more futuristic and exciting shopping experience with retailers adopting new AI technologies. For example: Cue’s “Endless Aisle” displaying inventory across all physical and online stores; and Seafolly’s interactive “Magic Mirror”. Specsaver’s has taken this technology trend further with a “Virtual Try On” feature using facial scans to display different glasses on customers.

Omnichannel deployment is an innovation that will win the hearts and wallets of consumers moving forward. This allows a conversation to be initiated on one platform and continued seamlessly on another. Not only is this easier for the consumer, but it also keeps your brand front of their mind when switching platforms.

As virtual assistants and AI in virtual stores rise, voice search is not far behind.

The likes of Apple and Google are already utilising voice search with their virtual assistants – however, this function is predicted to rise within the shopping space. Utilising the popularity of chat, soon enough we will see a voice responsive chat feature that has the same immediacy, research and personalisation that live chat offers – without the need to type a conversation.

For businesses

From a commercial point of view, the cost to adopt these technologies can appear quite substantial at the forefront, however, the return on investment is huge. At the very least offering extended hours in Chat can be an easy and affordable driver to driving revenue. The potential for AI to improve sales and customer experience has been showcased through the wider adoption of chat in recent years.

For consumers

The internet is your domain – there is no need to leave the comfort of the house to go shopping anymore. Everything is available in the palm of your hand. Utilising the current technologies available in the marketplace will ultimately drive retailers to continue to develop.

From current trends, it can be predicted that in the near future you’ll be able to ask your device to find a pair of shoes that match the new pants you bought last week.

Alan Moore, Digital Expert and Director, RANDEM

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