The Role of Chatbots in Conversational Commerce

No doubt you’ve heard the buzzword ‘Conversational Commerce’ being touted around in various marketing spheres, but what exactly does the term mean?
In fact, ‘Conversational Commerce’ is not such a recent fad. It has long been a prerequisite for business success around the world. In this article, we’ll explain what conversational commerce is and the important role chatbots play in successful conversational commerce.

Communication Business Avenue has been helping some of the world’s largest companies to integrate call center systems and digital communication tools for the past 16 years.

Table of Contents

What is Conversational Commerce?

Conversational Commerce is the use of various tools by companies to communicate with their customers and support the purchasing process.
Conversational Commerce is one of the most popular forms of multi-channel marketing and, needless to say, benefits both companies and customers.

The principle that “communication drives commerce” is proven when companies communicate with consumers. Communication is essential to building good relationships with consumers. Communication with customers in business is part of a customer engagement strategy. Especially nowadays, personalized engagement is necessary depending on the situation.

Widespread use of Conversational Commerce

Conversational commerce itself has existed for some time, but its value has been reviewed and reintroduced as an important aspect of marketing, sales and service respectively, and the term ‘conversational commerce’ was coined by Chris Messina in 2015.

Interestingly, he was also the inventor in 2007 of the ‘#’ (hashtag) that we all use so much on social networking sites.
Unlimited digitalisation and the sudden availability of multiple platforms for shopping has also led to a much higher level of competition between companies. It is no longer just about selling products. Each brand has to be both friendly and professional, and in this context, delivering a customer experience that goes above and beyond expectations.
Commercial businesses have had to undergo significant change, with customer support becoming more intelligent, contactless, efficient and digitally focused. And messaging has also changed. It is no longer a communication, but a transaction.

From 2022 onwards, it will be clear as day that omnichannel engagement strategies that meet customer expectations will become the norm. Customers are now at the ‘crossroads’, so to speak, of multiple touch points… through apps, AI, bots, messaging and other technologies used by companies. Despite these developments, customers want communication that feels human, and is smart.

Chatbots increase customer satisfaction

Chat is vital for business growth and is also very important for service teams. Virtual assistants, AI-powered chatbots and support via text and messenger platforms are tools that can help customers on their ‘journey’.
As such, this can have a direct impact on the customer satisfaction score (CSAT) of the entire business organization.

The evolution of conversational technology

Customer support is evolving from automated chatbots to conversations. Interactions are not limited to chat interfaces, but include a wide variety of email correspondence, automated follow-up messages, AI-driven communication technologies, data, machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP) and virtual assistants that use a variety of input signals, from text and touch to voice. Today a wide range of messaging platforms & channels exist.
These technologies make great use of AI to mimic our human conversations and attempt to accompany customers through their brand journey.

Consumer-centered conversations

Consumers these days know that a company’s strategy is consumer-first. That’s why the consumer’s “I want it now!” attitude can be supported by conversations with chatbots.
For example…
Joe is browsing an e-commerce site to buy a laptop. A problem arises during payment and he decides to empty his product cart once. If an AI-powered bot predicts the customer’s (Joe’s) behavior and provides an appropriate solution, it can support him through the entire sequence of completing his purchase. The company would then actually benefit financially and at the same time earn customer loyalty.
In this case, if a smart assistant can pop up and ask why Joe is emptying his cart, offer an automated solution such as a simple payment link, change of delivery address, next-day delivery, etc., and then suggest a better product than the one Joe has selected, he is likely to make the purchase, and the experience will be very satisfying.

Conversation tools in the spotlight

As technology evolves, so naturally do business strategies. While rule-based and decision-tree chatbots – which function based on predefined rules – are the basics, they are slowly, but steadily being replaced by more sophisticated chatbots.

We are now living in the era of ‘predictive omnichannel customer service’, where technology is used to anticipate customer needs in advance and provide as personalized an experience as possible.

Take Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri, for example. All of these are digital assistants with human-like intelligence. They are adept at recognizing a variety of inputs, including voice, and following diverse instructions, extending services and delighting customers.

Using such smart chatbots in your support strategy can not only increase operator satisfaction, but also provide a better customer experience (CX). In fact, modern chatbots can integrate with websites, apps and social networking sites to complete product discovery, payment and shopping in one place for customers.
Chatbots can take the place of operators and intelligently guide customers towards resolving support cases. It is no exaggeration to say that chatbots have the potential to further improve the capabilities of companies. They could be used to handle surging ticket volumes, respond to customer enquiries and even support teams working remotely.

Chatbots engage consumers

Chatbots can now provide smart, humanized communication to everyone, and the familiarity, comfort and convenience of platforms such as WhatsApp, Messenger and Viber have made customer service available to everyone through their smartphones.

Smartphones are not only an excellent channel for customer engagement, but also a tool that can significantly reduce contact center call volumes. Through rigorous training and the study of vast amounts of data, chatbots can use AI and deep learning to determine user intent and resolve customer queries efficiently. This allows for intuitive operation in the shortest possible customer response time, while also increasing operator satisfaction.

Final thoughts

It is clear that Conversational Commerce is essential for companies. This can be seen from the number of companies that have already implemented automation and smart conversational touchpoints.
Modern chatbot platforms and enquiry management systems allow you to support your customers across multiple channels and increase productivity while reducing operational costs. As a result, customer satisfaction can be increased.
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