At Vee24, we are constantly analyzing the market and evaluating what’s happening in the world of online customer experience. It’s important to understand where things were in the past, where we are today, and it’s always exciting to see where things are going.
In looking at the landscape, there are key aspects relevant to this discussion. It’s a well known fact that many consumers are doing their shopping online. Not too long ago, if a company offered live text chat on their website, they were perceived to be on the cutting edge of customer engagement. A customer could arrive with a question and after some back and forth keystrokes, they would leave the site with the answer they were seeking.
But consumer expectations continue to advance.
They expect their online experience to be as good as a face-to-face interaction. This is why live video engagement is so successful. Being able to converse over live video with a knowledgeable agent is extremely valuable. It improves customer satisfaction and increases the likelihood of customer conversion.
While video assistance is essential, it’s not the only key to success. The ability to guide a consumer through their experience with co-browsing takes the solution to the next level. Whether it’s showing a user what product would best suit their needs, sharing specifics about a particular item, or walking a user through filling out a form, co-browsing allows the consumer to feel they are getting first class customer assistance.
Another critical piece to today’s live assistance success is enabling mobile applications to leverage these capabilities. Whether on a mobile phone or tablet, consumers will expect to engage with live voice, video and co-browsing on any device in the same way they would on their laptop.
So what is the near future and where do we go from there...?
Consider the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, a computer program that continues to learn based on consumers’ behavior and designed to simulate conversation with natural language processing. If you are not already, then it is time to think about these, as consumers are already used to the likes of Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa. While it’s important to maintain the human interaction, chatbots can be used to handle basic requests and then programmed to transfer to a live agent for inquiries that are more complicated — a natural addition to live engagements. Consumers expect businesses to be responsive at all times, with the assistance of a chatbot, those needs can be met 24/7/365.
Augmented Reality is another progressive technology, with which customers can experience the products you offer in their own personal environment or transport themselves into a virtual reality to fully experience products and services from the comfort of their home.
How consumers will respond to these pseudo-live experiences is still to be determined. If they are getting the help they need, will they care if the experience is virtual or an AI-informed chatbot talked to them? Probably not. As long as live video assistance evolves and continues to allow companies to meet customer service expectation, it will keep consumers loyal and happy. We are eager to see how the future unfolds.