Lamps Plus is giving customers the ability to instantly track orders via conversational channels, such as Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Facebook Messenger, following the implementation of Linc Global's artificial intelligence-driven customer care platform, according to a press release.
Using that platform, the retailer's customers can track orders through channels that include live-updating emails, mobile SMS text, two-way chat via Facebook Messenger chatbots, and direct voice communication with the Amazon and Google virtual assistants.
Among other advantages, Lamps Plus will be able to lower customer care costs as tracking updates are expected to reduce customer support tickets and calls to customer service numbers manned by human agents, while allowing shoppers to receive on-demand, real-time customer care via chat, message and voice.
In addition to the advantages mentioned above, making order tracking part of a text, chat or voice assistant conversation gives Lamps Plus more opportunities to engage with the customer. When Lamps Plus orders are tracked on a platform like Facebook Messenger, for example, customers also can see images of the items, so both the retailer and the customer can verify that it's the correct item.
This is yet another example of how home furnishings retailers are leveraging new technology to improve the shopper experience. Shopping for home décor has proven very conducive to improvement via technologies like AI and augmented reality, the former being of prime interest to Ikea, among others, and the latter being the basis for new app features launched in the last six months by Wayfair, Houzz and others.
The move by Lamps Plus is a nod to the notion that post-purchase customer service interactions have expanded well beyond the phone calls to customer service centers and non-real-time e-mailing. Mobile text interactions with retailers are becoming more frequent, chatbots have become much more common and voice assistants are suddenly looking a lot like the preferred channel of the future thanks to the rise of Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, and the emergence of similar platforms.
Back in July, Linc Global told Retail Dive that the vast majority of retailers would turn to AI-enabled customer service within about two years. Not everyone is being as aggressive as Lamps Plus, but its experience with using an automated platform to open up order tracking to multiple channels will show other retailers what they might accomplish by looking into AI-based customer service apps.