January 31, 2019 | By

AI for All: How Bots Are Helping to Level the CX Playing Field for SMBs

Major online retailers like Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target and others have an undeniable edge on small and medium-sized businesses when it comes to eCommerce. But one thing SMBs can do to beat the behemoths is compete on customer experience—and AI chatbots are a great way to do it. Especially when it comes to one of the biggest challenges SMBs face: seasonal fluctuations.

Seasonal shifts pose major challenges to SMBs, in everything from budgeting to inventory management to staffing. The winter holidays are the most common scenario, with the weeks between Thanksgiving and the new year accounting for as much as 30% of sales for certain types of businesses. But other times of year can also be tough, depending on the industry: Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day for florists and jewelers, Halloween for businesses that sell costumes and décor, even entire seasons for businesses that sell outdoor or sporting goods.

Traditionally, when it comes to meeting the changes in demand, smaller businesses either have to scramble to recruit, hire, and train temporary employees, or subject customers to long wait times and frustration. But by using chatbots to complement and support their customer service representatives instead, SMBs can deliver a responsive, high-touch customer experience that’s easily as good (and maybe even better) than that of the retail giants, any time of year.

Scale up or down instantly

With chatbots, it doesn’t matter if your business can’t afford to hire an army of seasonal employees. Chatbots can handle as may or as few visitors come your way during a given month or moment. With chatbots one board, the customer team is free to focus on the situations that require a human touch. Case in point: LogMeIn customer Edible Arrangements saw a 78% reduction in live chat volume over Mother’s Day 2018, even with an 87% increase in total engagements. Chatbots made that possible.

Give customers a consistent experience

Timelines and resources are often strained when it comes to training temporary employees. As a result, customers may not get a consistently high-quality experience, depending on whose queue they end up in. Chatbots can help by either intercepting routine inquiries and issues with consistent, accurate answers or can work on the backend to assist new or temporary employees get up to speed on  with assistance that will never vary in professionalism, accuracy or brand personality.

Offer customers the chance to provide feedback

The great thing about chatbots is they never take customer feedback personally. Customers know it and are more likely to be honest as a result. Chatbots can be a great, convenient way to gather honest intel from customers about their experience when things are at their busiest, so you can fine tune your service for next time or even in real time.

SMBs may not be able to compete with large businesses when it comes to staffing up with live agents for seasonal swings, but thanks to the power of AI – all companies can deliver fist-class customer experience.

Want to learn more?  Check out our latest Whitepaper:  Customer Expectations and Experiences with Online Shopping

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