Retail Executive

SEP-OCT 2017

Retail Executive is the trusted advisor to top retail executives from the industry’s most profitable retailers. We help retail executives succeed in their job role and grow their business via exclusive, actionable, peer-driven content.

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chatbot interaction helps to improve the performance of the chatbot. A better-informed chatbot can deliver tailored answers directed at the user's experience. Not only do chatbots excel at collecting customer data and delivering personalized experiences, they can assist the agent in also delivering tailored information with the data they collect. 6. ENSURE THAT THE CHATBOT MONITORS, TESTS, TRACKS, AND IMPROVES. AI-powered chatbots will be- come a critical part of the customer journey, as automa- tion, omni-channel engagement, and personalization become key components in the path to purchase. Retail- ers must ensure the chatbot platform provides capabili- ties in areas such as integration, security, management, or monitoring, in addition to the ability to integrate with messaging platforms, enterprise systems, and NLU (natural language understanding) systems. Chatbots must provide monitoring capabilities to track different commands and responses of users. They should also monitor the customers' behaviors and actions and build up natural language flows to use in processes, while sub- mitting them to the knowledge management system. 7. CHATBOTS SHOULD INTEGRATE WITH MESSAGING APPS. Chatbots embedded into messaging platforms like Facebook messenger, Line, and Whatsapp lend them- selves to the types of conversations customers are accus- tomed to having with their friends and families, which are asynchronous. Such integration also allows consumers to revisit past conversations, and agents can have a single chat history at their fingertips, no matter where the cus- tomer leaves off. Chatbots integrated into messaging plat- forms enable retailers to engage in conversational com- merce, which involves the confluence of chat, messaging, artificial intelligence, and natural language understanding to enable shopping and transactions via messaging. It es- sentially brings the point of sale to the customer. For ex- ample, Sephora's chatbot allows Kik users who message the retailer to provide more information about themselves through a quiz and then offers personalized beauty tips, product recommendations, and reviews. It then allows them to purchase the products they reference in chat without leaving the Kik app. As AI-assisted chatbots position themselves to revolu- tionize the customer experience, enterprises must ensure they align tightly with their specific business goals and ob- jectives. To be truly effective and thrive in the long term, retailers must strive for their chatbots to be agile, scalable, and omni-channel in nature. Eventually, chatbots will transform the way retailers interact with customers and become a vital component to the shopping experience and an essential element to staying relevant and in business. R of conversing with their chatbots, retailers must ensure they proactively reach out to customers with informa- tion, insight, and advice — presented at the right time and location and based on predictive analysis of cus- tomers' individual needs. 3. THINK STRATEGICALLY ABOUT HOW TO REOR- GANIZE THE CONTACT CENTER AGENTS. Companies should build their chatbots to focus on the most perva- sive service issues and automate engagements without reducing customer satisfaction. Agents, in turn, should focus on more high-value tasks. Chatbots' current role is to augment agents, not replace them, essentially acting as an extension of the agent. Chatbots will only replace some of the low-level tasks that agents do, like answer- ing routine questions. This frees up agents to focus on more high-value, revenue-generating responsibilities. 4. ENABLE THE CHATBOTS TO DELIVER CONTEXT AND PRECISE KNOWLEDGE. This entails delivering context through an open and connected platform that contin- uously integrates behavioral data with historical and transactional data. Finding a solution that easily inte- grates into existing business processes, systems, and consumer care solutions can provide a comprehensive repository of data that the AI solution can use to better understand consumer sentiment, as well as customers' intent and nonverbal communication cues. H&M, for example, uses a chatbot that offers different outfits to consumers based on browsing cues and leads them to purchase through the messaging. 5. BUILD CHATBOTS TO INTELLIGENTLY FORMULATE A RESPONSE BASED ON CURRENT ONLINE BEHAV- IORS OR ACTIONS. Incorporating information about customers' digital behavior before, during, and after their If chatbots need to handle complex tasks, a blended AI model, in which agents are ready to step in, works best. M I L A D 'A N T O N I O P r i n c i p a l A n a l y s t , C u s t o m e r E n g a g e m e n t O v u m RETAILEXECUTIVE.COM SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 39

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