Tag: natural language processing

28 Nov 2017

It’s Officially the Holidays! Are You Ready to Support the Retail Madness?

On Black Friday alone, shoppers spent about $5 billion online, and these numbers skyrocketed on Cyber Monday, with consumers spending about $6.6 billion online. The holidays are in full swing, meaning crazy deals and even crazier shopper expectations — and retailers must ensure their websites are equipped with the right technologies and resources to handle the chaos now and throughout the holiday season.

Here are the three biggest customer experience issues retailers might run into this December — and tips for how they can use artificial intelligence technologies to get ahead of these challenges to ensure they’re spreading holiday cheer, not leaving their customers with a grinch-like experience.

Don’t leave customers in the cold — Providing consistent support across every touchpoint

Today’s shoppers are engaging with retailers across a variety of touchpoints — from browsing a mobile app to seeing the newest products on Instagram to actually trying out items in-store. Therefore, brands must ensure they’re implementing the right tools that make support accessible and consistent across every touchpoint.

Take, for example, a shopper who completed a purchase through a retailer’s mobile application. A couple of days later, she might come across a Facebook post displaying the product she bought, prompting her to go looking for an update on the status of her order — and forcing her to rummage through email or log back into her account on the mobile app.  AI-driven chatbots on the Facebook platform can instead, access the customer history and provide the most up-to-date alert on the shipment and expected arrival date. This removes the need to flip between different channels, therefore mitigating customer frustration and making for a happy holiday shopping experience.

Don’t let the chaos take control — Ensuring support processes are efficient

One of the biggest issues customers face during the holidays is difficulty in getting answers to questions. Whether they want more information about a specific product or upcoming promotion, finding the answers to these simple, yet important questions can be a frustrating task. And waiting on hold for a representative can make customers feel like their issues don’t matter to a brand.

Chatbot technology solves this major issue, especially during the holidays where retailers face a high volume of questions from shoppers. With a knowledge base of information on retailer policies, products and promotions, as well as natural language processing capabilities that help them understand the context of almost any customer situation, bots create a strong channel for customers to self-serve and find fast answers to their quick questions.

Don’t forget to create a connection — Personalization is the best present

There’s nothing worse than feeling unappreciated. The holiday season is all about being grateful and spreading cheer. This is why it’s important that retailers create connections with the shoppers, who are the lifeblood of their business.

Personalization is a term that is often thrown around in the retail space today, but it’s so much more than just offering recommendations on products to buy. To create a truly tailored shopping experience, retailers must ensure they have the right technologies in place to really get to know each customer and their preferences. Using this detailed information will allow them to provide a tailored engagement every time they come to a brand’s website or connect with one of their CX team members. Take for example, a customer who always pays extra for expedited shipping on their orders. Should something go wrong with a specific package and they speak with a customer service representative, the agent can understand this preference (and the customer’s loyalty to the brand) and improve the situation by offering free expedited shipping on their next five orders.

This holiday season, retailers won’t wow customers by just providing killer deals and discounts — the key to success — even beyond the holidays — will be in creating a strong customer experience by recognizing shopper needs and providing the right tools to keep shoppers happy and loyal.

20 Nov 2017

Holiday Travel Chaos – Are Airline Support Teams Prepared to Handle the Rush?

Last year, more than 6 million Americans took airplanes for their end-of-year holiday trips. With such high volumes of passengers and inevitable winter weather issues, it’s not a matter of if something will go wrong during the holidays, it’s a question of when.

To prepare for the holiday chaos and deliver a stellar travel experience through wind, sleet and snow, airlines must have a strong support strategy in place. This includes gaining a comprehensive understanding of the issues of holidays past, implementing smart technology that provides customers with fast and accurate information, and empowering live representatives to handle the complex situations the holidays inevitably bring.

Ghosts of Holidays Past

Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it — the old saying rings especially true when it comes to customer service. Before the holiday madness begins, it is essential that customer service teams know what the most common issues and most asked questions associate with past crises, and ensure they are prepared to answer them this time around.

A comprehensive and centralized knowledge management system can help track which questions are more likely to be asked during the holiday season. For example, customers may be more likely to ask about rental car options if a flight is cancelled on Christmas Eve because they are less willing to wait for a later flight and miss out on family memories. Travel companies can tap into their historical data to prepare their digital channels and customer support teams to handle these unique situations and make sure customers get the answers they need, fast. Being caught off guard by a customer question is not the kind of holiday surprise CX teams want, and this is something they can curtail with the implementation of smart knowledge management tools.

Get Smart with AI — The Gift that Keeps on Giving

With so many people traveling during the holiday season, customer service agents are tasked with resolving thousands of questions — many of which are repetitive and may take less than a minute to answer. The problem is that these simpler questions quickly pile up and take time away from customers who are dealing with complex situations. This is why a lot of travel companies are looking to chatbot technology.

Equipped with natural language processing (NLP), modern chatbots can understand context and provide quick and accurate answers to customer queries. For the traveler looking to confirm a gate change or even start the process of rebooking a flight, chatbots create a convenient channel that can quickly and effectively resolve these issues. During the holidays, time is of the essence in these situations and chatbots help cut out much of the waiting on hold, ensuring a customer’s needs are efficiently taken care of.

When the Human Touch is Needed

Although chatbots can resolve many customer questions, sometimes situations call for escalating to a live agent. Even in these situations, chatbots play a critical role, recognizing when a situation requires the human touch and seamlessly transitioning the customer to the right agent to address their specific needs. This ensures that customers are not bounced from representative to representative looking for the right person to resolve their issue.

Furthermore, implementing chatbots as an internal tool provide agents with a wellspring of customer information to better do their jobs. Acting as a resource, chatbots give live reps the information they need to provide a highly personalized experience and ensure customers don’t have to repeat information or re-explain their problem when they are transferred. Ultimately, this mitigates any customer frustration and makes them feel like their issues are truly being heard.

Holiday travel can be extremely stressful — with passengers wanting nothing more than to get to their destination and airlines trying their best to support them. Travel companies will need to improve their CX strategy with smart technology like chatbots to ease the stress of both customers and employees, and therefore ensure everyone is home for the holidays.

09 Nov 2017

Using AI to Help Customers Avoid Information Overload

Ever feel overwhelmed when you go onto a retailer’s website or mobile app? Today’s ecommerce experiences put massive amounts of information at shoppers’ fingertips — but oftentimes this influx of data can be harmful to the customer experience.

Navigating all the available information on a website can be both frustrating and create a roadblock for consumers shopping for a particular item or looking for a specific answer. Luckily, artificial intelligence technologies are helping solve this problem, empowering shoppers to cut through noise and quickly find the right information without having to comb through all the text. Here’s how AI-driven chatbots can help minimize information overload, making for seamless, intuitive customer experiences:

Getting to the root of customer needs

A big issue customers face when interacting with brands online is the feeling that their issues and needs aren’t accurately understood. With so much information now available, customers can be forced to search for answers on their own — taking extra time and effort to find relevant information that impacts their demands.

Chatbots help to mitigate this qualm. Equipped with cutting-edge natural language processing (NLP) capabilities, these tools have the ability to dig down into customer issues and truly understand the intent behind their queries to, in turn, provide the most relevant and accurate response and/or escalate the customer to the best resource. Ultimately, this not only ensures customers questions are accurately answered, but gives them the feeling that their issues and situations are being heard.

Pinpointing where online support falls short — and fixing it, fast

With AI, brands can monitor how their customer experience strategy is actually performing and whether they’re efficiently supporting customers. Embedded within chatbots, retailers have the back-end capabilities to pinpoint repeated semantic clusters of phrasings, and understand where their support isn’t accurate or helpful to customers. From there, they alert CX managers to these problems and prompts them to address them by adding more information.

Another key part of this equation is the ability to quickly update all of the company’s knowledge across every platform the chatbot exists on — be it social media, a mobile app or website. This multi-pronged integration ensures the company’s channels offer consistent support no matter where a shopper is looking for answers.

Personalizing the experience

Personalization is a major buzzword in today’s hyper-digital retail space. But the fact of the matter is that tailoring the customer experience is a valuable way minimize information overload for customers.

In the customer service realm, chatbots can ensure customers get information that is most relevant to their particular situation. Specifically, by allowing the chatbot to dig into a specific customer’s profile on the retailer’s website, they can understand previous interactions or purchases and ensure they are providing insight that aligns with these historical insights. Understanding an individual customer’s needs is crucial to providing a seamless and supportive digital experience.

Today’s retailers are tasked with not only having the most interactive ecommerce experiences, but they’re expected to present information in a way that is valuable for their specific customers. Leveraging AI technologies, retailers can ensure their digital properties minimize information overload and provide a top-notch shopping experience.

22 Jan 2015
How to Win Travelers’ Next Mobile Moment

How to Win Travelers’ Next Mobile Moment

It’s commonplace today: Your customers shop and require customer service when and where they want and often in situations that require immediate attention to their needs. Take Olivia, a 32-year old web designer who finally puts her feet up after another long and stressful day. It’s 11 p.m. and Olivia grabs her tablet from the nightstand to browse through her Facebook newsfeed.   Her sister’s update startles her. Can’t wait to see Olivia this weekend for Uncle Steve’s 6oth birthday party.

“Wait,” she thinks. “I need to prepare for my trip.”

Olivia opens ThomasCook.com where she originally booked her flight. She clicks on “Manage Booking” and the screen asks for her “Booking Reference.”

Oh no!  I don’t know if I have it.

She clicks on “Help” and sees a search box “powered by nanorep.”   Olivia types in “i dont know my booking number” without caps or punctuation.  An answer appears as she types.

Thomas Cook Self Service nanorep

Perfect, she thinks. Now I know where to look.

Olivia locates her email confirmation, finds the booking reference, logs in and a few clicks later discovers that her flight from JFK to Manchester leaves at 10:00 p.m. the next evening and arrives at 9:55 a.m.  Great, I’ll have time to pack in the morning.

Remove Customer Effort

According to the J.D. Power 2014 Online Travel Agency Satisfaction Report, price may be an important factor driving customer satisfaction with online travel agencies but the highest-performing agencies excel by providing a superior website/online store experience. “If the site does not function well or provide the kind of information customers expect, they will either move on to a competitor’s website or phone the agency’s call center, costing the agency time and money.”

Olivia wants rapid, helpful answers to a variety of questions about her trip.  Will there be a meal on the flight?  How early do I need to get there?   She may not remember a login password or other personal information. Thomas Cook has an opportunity to provide easy, relevant answers that don’t require much effort.

Olivia returns to the search window and types in a question:  “is there a meal.” The auto-complete function pops in Do I receive an in-flight meal? and gives her a detailed answer with prices, meal times and the menu.

Her next question:

“how early does it get to airport.”

Olivia looks down and realizes she typed in something close to gibberish.  Nonetheless, an answer pops up:

Thomas Cook Self Service nanorep 2

It knew what I really meant to say, she thinks.

Answer Their Questions the First Time

Crafting a great customer experience includes the ability to answer customer questions the first time they ask. Recognize familiar language such as, “How does it work?” whenever, wherever and on whatever device they use.  Answering questions instantly keeps customers on the site, engenders their loyalty and delivers delight.

“Problem resolution has a substantial impact on customer satisfaction,” J.D. Power notes.  “When problems can be resolved quickly via website, satisfaction can be salvaged,” improving scores by more than 23%.

Focus on the Important Moment

In the time it takes to read this paragraph, ThomasCook kept a customer satisfied and it did so by focusing on a subtle yet important moment in the online experience:  Answering crucial customer questions instantly.  Olivia had no need to read the FAQ, send an email or call a representative (which is also the most costly and time-consuming method).

Since it deployed its search powered by nanorep, ThomasCook has seen impressive results including,

  • A 20 percent drop in contact center volume
  • A 10 percent reduction in agent interaction time
  • Meaningful lift in engagement, conversion and customer satisfaction

Do you lack the ability to answer customer questions instantly? If so, consider 5 to 10 scenarios for their behavior on your site. What questions will they have and how will they prefer to receive answers? What’s at stake for your customers and how can you help them resolve their needs? For Olivia, she not only got the information she needed, she got the peace of mind that allowed her to have a good night’s sleep and a relaxing flight to see her sister.  And that helps build repeat business.