Customer service chatbots are dominating the eCommerce world.
Gone are the days when customers had to walk into physical stores or call only during regular business hours if they had inquiries. Thanks to the advancement of technology, eCommerce was born. Customers can now purchase from the comfort of their homes—and they can ask their questions via digital channels too.
In fact, convenience has become a way of life, prompting eCommerce businesses to level up their own customer service operations. With the introduction of artificial intelligence, the possibilities are endless. In fact, nothing probably represents the power of AI-powered tools in the eCommerce sphere better than chatbots. The ability to provide timely round-the-clock support to your customers is their most obvious benefit.
In this article, we discuss the many benefits that customer support teams and service chatbots bring to eCommerce businesses, the top software you can explore, and best practices for implementing AI-powered customer support.
Understanding customer service chatbots
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty details of how machine learning and chatbots can revamp your eCommerce customer service, it’s important to grasp why customer service is a cornerstone for any eCommerce business. After all, it’s the heart and soul of what makes your customers stick around, recommend you to others, and return for more.
The importance of customer service for eCommerce businesses
In the eCommerce landscape, customer service isn’t just a feature—it’s the bedrock of success. It’s the difference between a one-time buyer and a loyal customer who keeps coming back. Exceptional customer service sets your business apart, building trust, satisfaction, and customer loyalty.
Check these out:
- According to a report by Microsoft, 90% of American consumers say customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand. Moreover,
- Helpscout reports that businesses can grow their revenue by 4% to 8% above their market when they focus on delivering better customer service.
- Forbes reports that a skyrocketing 96% of consumers will stop doing business with a brand after experiencing poor customer service.
Example: Imagine that a customer ordered a pair of shoes, and they arrived with a minor defect. A responsive and accommodating customer service team quickly addresses this concern, gives a sincere apology, and offers to send a replacement. This experience turns what could have been a negative situation or customer journey into a testament to their commitment to customer satisfaction.
The role of chatbots in eCommerce customer service
Chatbots are digital assistants that can handle customer inquiries, offer assistance, and provide information swiftly and efficiently. They can provide immediate responses and resolve issues faster than human agents in many cases.
The chatbot market is actually forecasted to reach $454.8 million in revenue by the year 2027. This is miles away from only $40.9 million back in 2018. Additionally, in 2022, 88% of users reported having had at least one conversation with a chatbot.
Example: An online shopper visits an online electronics store and has a question about a product’s compatibility. A chatbot instantly pops up, answering their query, and even suggests related accessories based on the shopper’s browsing history. It’s like having a knowledgeable store assistant at your fingertips.
How customer service chatbots can benefit your eCommerce store
There’s more to chatbots than their obvious function. Customer service chatbots can help your business on both the front lines and your internal operations. They are like the unsung heroes of the eCommerce world—working tirelessly behind the scenes to make your customers’ experiences seamless and enjoyable. Let’s take a closer look at the key benefits they bring to the table:
Instant customer support 24/7
Using chatbots allows you to provide round-the-clock customer support. So anytime your customers need assistance, they’ll get it as soon as possible.
Chatbots can provide instant responses to your customers’ inquiries. In turn, this leads to increased customer satisfaction. In a survey conducted by HubSpot, 90% of customers believe that getting responses within 10 minutes or less is very important.
Example: It’s 3 AM, and a customer has a question about your return policy. Instead of waiting until morning, they send a message, and the chatbot quickly provides all the information needed. The customer feels valued and appreciated, even in the wee hours.
Cost-effective & scalable
Hiring and maintaining a 24/7 human support team can be cost-prohibitive for many eCommerce businesses. Chatbots, on the other hand, are a cost-effective solution. They can handle multiple customer queries simultaneously and are always ready to assist—no matter how many customers you have.
In fact, chatbots can help you reduce your customer service costs by up to 30% by handling up to 80% of routine customer service inquiries themselves.
Example: Your eCommerce store experiences a sudden surge in traffic during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. A traditional support team would be overwhelmed and customers might be waiting for hours. Chatbots can effortlessly handle the increased demand, ensuring every customer receives prompt assistance.
Reduced cart abandonment
Cart abandonment is a common challenge in the eCommerce world, with many customers leaving their shopping carts before completing a purchase. In fact, the average shopping cart abandonment rate is almost 70%.
While cart abandonment emails can follow up with customers after they abandon their carts, chatbots can intervene during crucial moments, offering assistance, addressing concerns, and even providing discounts—reducing the likelihood of cart abandonment.
Example: A customer adds a product to their cart but hesitates at the final checkout step, taking a while to click the “Checkout” button. The chatbot detects this and offers a 10% discount, encouraging the customer to complete the purchase and reducing cart abandonment.
Efficient data collection
You can also use your chatbots to collect and analyze customer data and feedback, which will give you insights into preferences, behavior, and pain points. This data equips you with providing a more personalized shopping experience.
Example: Chatbots can collect website visitor contact information 24/7, making them a great tool for lead generation.
Improved user engagement and customer retention
Chatbots can engage your customers in interactive conversations and make their shopping experience more enjoyable and informative.
They can use customer data to further provide customers with personalized product recommendations and tailored experiences. According to Accenture, 91% of consumers are likelier to shop with brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations.
Additionally, chatbots can offer support in multiple languages. This would make it easier for you to expand your reach to a global audience. All this culminates in enhancing the customer experience, loyalty, and retention of your business.
Example: A customer receives a personalized recommendation from a chatbot based on their previous purchases.
Top 7 highly recommended customer service chatbots you should check out
A lot of chatbot platforms offer a lot of the same basic functions. However, there are some that have features that could help you stand out from your competitors.
Here’s a quick rundown of our recommended chatbots you can use right now:
Paid plans start at $11.99/month for Meta channels; $34.29/month for WhatsApp
With ChatFuel, you can easily create custom chatbots for various messaging platforms, especially on Facebook Messenger and Instagram. A no-code interface and free FAQ bot templates mean you won’t need an extensive programming background to start building your chatbots.
- Intuitive flow builder to make simple FAQ and Facebook Messenger bots quickly and easily
- Ready-made templates with the most popular chatbot use cases
- Built-in CRM feature to segment and qualify leads
- A hassle-free and low little to no learning curve means less time figuring it out and more time building chatbots.
Pricing is tailored for each brand’s specific needs
Giosg offers a range of chatbot and artificial intelligence-powered customer service solutions. Their AI-powered chatbots can help you improve your customer interactions. Additionally, they can also help you enhance customer service and drive sales live chat capabilities.
- Variety of pre-designed chatbot templates to quickly build chatbots that fit your needs.
- Real-time analytics
- Chatbot answers can be customized with videos, forms, and embedded content
Paid plans start at $49/month
Botsify specializes in multichannel conversation support. You can create conversations for Facebook Messenger, your website, WhatsApp, and more.
- Drag-and-drop chatbot platform
- Multilingual chatbot available in 100+ native languages
- Dedicated chatbot development team
- Seamless handover to live agents when needed
Custom paid plans available
Looking for more options when building your customer service chatbots? BotCore helps enterprises build custom chatbots that best cater to their target audience.
- User location-based responses
- Sentiment analysts
- Multilingual responses
- Trigger-based interactions
Start for free; paid plans start at $19/month
Flow XO is another highly flexible chatbot builder. Aside from your customer service chatbots, you can create chatbots for a variety of purposes like lead generation and engagement. You’ll have tools to design, deploy, and manage your chatbots across your different communication channels.
- A user-friendly dashboard with an intuitive interface
- Multichannel deployment for chatbots across websites, social media, messaging apps, and more
- Seamless transition to live agents
- Ability to accept payments
Paid plans start at $995 one-time payment
ActiveChat is an all-in-one AI-powered customer service app designed with eCommerce businesses in mind. This means it’s readily compatible with different eCommerce platforms for your convenience.
- Seamless integration with popular eCommerce platforms, giving it access to product catalogs and customer data
- Personalized product recommendations based on customer’s history, preferences, and other data
- Automated upsells and cross-sells
Paid plan starts at $19/month
Versatility and ease of use are the running theme for chatbot platforms. Pandorabots offers the same degree of user-friendliness as others, but this time it brings something new to the table.
- Custom animated live chatbot avatars
- Multilingual chatbots
- Ability to add speaking avatars to the chatbots
Tips and best practices to enhance your customer service experience with chatbots
Want to have your customer service chatbots go the extra mile? To ensure your chatbot becomes a valuable asset for your eCommerce store, consider these best practices:
Use clear and concise language
Keep your chatbot’s responses clear and concise. Ensure your chatbot communicates in clear, straightforward language that is easy for customers to understand. Steer clear of industry-specific jargon or acronyms that might confuse your customers.
Incorporate human-like conversations
Design your chatbot dialogues to mimic natural human conversations. Avoid overly robotic or scripted interactions. Incorporate natural language understanding (NLU) and generation (NLG) to make your chatbot’s responses more human-like.
Implement seamless handoff to human agents
Train your chatbot to recognize when a customer’s query is too complex to handle, and smoothly transition the conversation to a human agent. Ensure that human agents receive the conversation history, so they can seamlessly take over without repeating questions.
Have multi-channel support as a standard
Extend your chatbot support to your customer relationships across multiple communication channels. These multiple channels should include your website, mobile app, social media, and messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Practice proactive engagement
Use proactive messaging to initiate conversations with your customers. For example, you can offer assistance when a customer spends a certain amount of time on a product page or has items in their cart. Send order status updates and shipping notifications through your chatbot to keep your customers informed.
Optimize your chatbots for handling FAQs
Make sure your chatbot excels at handling frequently asked questions (FAQs). Create a comprehensive FAQ database and train your chatbot to provide accurate answers to common customer queries. Allow your customers to easily access the FAQ section during a conversation with your chatbots.
Collect customer feedback
Gather feedback from customers about their interactions with your chatbot. Use surveys or post-chatbot satisfaction ratings to gain more insights. Use feedback to identify areas for improvement and refine your chatbot’s responses and capabilities.
Conduct regular A/B testing
Conduct A/B testing on chatbot interactions to determine the most effective approaches in improving customer engagement and satisfaction. Test different conversation flows, greetings, and wording to optimize performance.
Use emojis and visuals
Incorporate emojis and visual elements where appropriate to give your chatbot’s responses more personality and expressiveness. Use images and product visuals to enhance product recommendations and descriptions.
Optimize speed and responsiveness
Ensure that your chatbot responds quickly to your customer’s inquiries. Long delays can frustrate your customers—which is the last thing you would ever want them to feel. Optimize your chatbot’s performance to minimize response times—especially during peak traffic periods.
Conduct regular maintenance and updates
Continuously monitor your chatbot’s performance and make regular updates to improve its capabilities. Stay up-to-date with the latest advancements in chatbot technology to take advantage of new features and functionalities.
Unlock the full power of AI-powered customer service
It’s evident that customer service chatbots are not mere tech gadgets but invaluable allies in the eCommerce landscape. AI can reshape the way your eCommerce business operates. By combining the efforts of both your AI tools and human staff, you can optimize your business for sustainable scalable success.
In this digital age, where customer service is a linchpin of success, embracing chatbots is not just a choice but a necessity. Their cost-effectiveness, scalability, and ability to assist customers offer round-the-clock support are game-changers for any eCommerce store.
Have your AI chatbots handle the routine customer service work. Then have your human customer service agents focus on addressing more complex inquiries. Overall, this should shape your business into a more efficient powerhouse of customer satisfaction and retention.
Want to take your customer service chatbots to the next level? Contact the AI whisperers at AIOperator now and revolutionize your own customer service chatbot interactions.