How to optimize your e-commerce customer experience thanks to virtual agents?

64% of consumers expect their e-commerce brand to provide a real-time answer when they have a question. The use of a virtual agent is a real revelation in the field of customer support: faster answers, availability during every hour of the day and night, and saves time. The creation of virtual assistants helps to optimize the customer experience on a daily basis.

By
Jonathan Kam
Created
January 27, 2021
Modified
April 8, 2021

New technologies have changed the way consumers interact with each other but also with e-commerce brands. The French spend an average of 2,26 hours per day on the Internet, mostly on messaging applications. 

With the evolution of their activities, e-merchants are increasingly responding to the demands of their customers or potential customers. The problem? Managing responses can be both time-consuming and costly from a brand perspective and frustrating on the customer side. 

To meet this challenge, chatbots have become very popular among e-merchants. For 80% of consumers, receiving a quick response has a positive impact on their customer experience

In this article, we will see how the use of a virtual agent can bring relevant answers to visitors faster, improve the efficiency of the customer support team and thus optimize the customer experience.

What is a virtual agent?

A virtual agent is a solution that allows you to respond in an automated and personalized way to your customers' requests from your website.

In general, your small virtual assistant takes the form of a chat that appears at the bottom of the screen when someone logs on to your site: 

Contrary to traditional chatbots, the virtual agent processes only the requests he understands and can answer using artificial intelligence. It will redirect those that are complex or with high added value to your customer support team.

For example, if you sell men's accessories, and you have 2 questions that appear in the chat on your site: 

  • The first one, "Do you have any stock of the product "pair of blue socks,"will be answered directly by your chatbot. 
  • The second, "I have a problem with my order, a product is missing. Can I speak with an advisor?" will be immediately referred to your customer service.

This solution allows you to automate the assistance you provide to your customers, which has two positive consequences: a significant improvement in the customer experience and an improvement in the management of requests

Purchase assistance:

1.1 Engage in conversation with your visitors:

Just like an in-store salesperson, the virtual agent allows you to engage in conversation and interact with your customers during the purchasing process. 

One of the most effective ways to get the attention of your visitors is the use of chat triggers throughout your e-commerce site. 

Chat example

But what is a trigger? 

It is a notification displayed by the virtual agent on your site. You can decide to display it immediately at the opening of the page or after a defined time so that your visitors don't feel assaulted. Notifications stimulate customer interaction, and this will help you maximize your engagement rate. 

Vertellis example

It can be as simple as a red dot or as a small text displayed above the chat bubble.

You can also use these triggers to highlight one of your selling points: free shipping, a promotional code, a best-seller back in stock, etc.

This proactive approach is an excellent way to make your visitors understand that you are listening and available to advise them.  

1.2 Create customized buying paths: 

Personalized buying paths example

One of the major features of virtual agents is the creation of personalized buying paths. In other words, it will accompany and advise your future customer throughout his visit. Depending on the answers collected, the virtual agent will provide personalized advice to the visitors, for example: on product sizes, new products, availability, etc. 

For example, if your customer is looking for a gift for Valentine's Day, the virtual agent will propose a selection of gifts: from a pair of socks to a special Valentine's Day package.  

The use of shopping pathways is an excellent way to engage the customer throughout the process. It allows you to increase your conversion rate and your average shopping cart, thus boosting your sales.

Customer support assistance:

2.1 Automate your customer support: 

According to Zendesk, 52% of consumers have made an additional purchase after a positive customer support experience. 

Customer support can therefore make the difference between you and your competitors. To do this, they will need to respond to two keywords: efficiency and speed. 

The virtual agent is all the more relevant because while your customer support team will have more time for complex tasks, it will be busy answering frequent and repetitive questions, for example:

  • Where is my order?
  • What is the return process?
  • Do you deliver to Switzerland?

Thus, the use of the virtual agent will not only improve your customer service KPI's (Key Performance Indicators), such as average response time, first contact resolution rate, satisfaction rate, etc., but will also reduce support costs. 

2.2 Monitor the performance of your virtual agent: 

In addition to being an essential guide for your customers, the virtual agent collects essential information for you following his conversations: 

  • The number of automated conversions
  • The commitment rates 
  • The average number of messages per conversation 
  • The most frequently asked questions

Thanks to this data, you will be able to immediately see if your agent is efficient or if there are friction points.

Botmind example

Let's take our example again. If 2 of your customers inform you that it is not possible to add the size M of the "indomitable" boxer shorts model to the shopping cart. Your virtual agent will forward the information to the teams in charge of the e-shop, who will be able to act pro-actively on this bug. 

One of the other strengths of the virtual agent is that you can also use it to generate leads. For example, if you decide to organize a Valentine's Day contest and offer a socks/boxes package to the winner, the virtual agent will retrieve and store the names, email addresses etc.

In brief:

Faced with the increasing demands of consumers in terms of customer experience, the implementation of a virtual agent is one of the most effective strategies to meet the expectations of your visitors. It allows you to combine the effectiveness of artificial intelligence and the expertise of your teams in the same channel to offer efficient support and a personalized customer experience.

Guest post by Jonathan Kam, co-founder at Botmind.io

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Jonathan Kam
COO & Co-founder at Botmind
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