Conversational commerce — in which retailers deploy text and/or voice messaging in service of meeting consumers’ shopping and customer-service needs — is the next era of e-commerce. According to HubSpot, 71% of people are willing to use messaging apps to get customer assistance.
“The consumer behavior of messaging brands is here to stay,” said Ryan Mannion, Area Vice President of Strategic Retail Accounts at LivePerson. “A few of the top five big-box retailers are literally saving tens of millions of dollars a year and also driving $500 million to a billion dollars worth of revenue through these channels for their e-commerce businesses, so this isn’t a future discussion. If you’re not doing conversational commerce, then you’re missing the boat because your customers already want to communicate with you in messaging channels.”
“Customers want to get answers quickly and easily,” said Mannion. “Texting is how most of us communicate in our regular day-to-day lives, so the extension of messaging into the retail shopping experience is kind of a natural progression.”
Already, survey results from LivePerson have found that 83% of customers said they would browse and buy from brands directly in messaging channels and over three-quarters (78%) of consumers said they wanted the ability to securely message any business.
But retailers can’t win at conversational commerce without delivering a great customer experience. Customers have come to expect top-tier digital experiences across all their touch points with retailers, and service is more essential to their purchase decisions than ever. According to the 2022 Achieving Customer Amazement Study, 58% of customers said they believed great customer service was more important than price, and the same percentage said they would pay more if they knew they would receive great customer service.
As conversational commerce grows more essential to meeting customers’ needs, delivering great customer service requires delivering a more human digital experience than the chatbots of the past were capable of.
“There are plenty of really bad bot experiences out there that feel robotic and are not personalized, not conversational and not really enjoyable,” Mannion said. “But brands can now develop experiences that feel like the customer’s talking with a store associate with all the expertise necessary to identify what that customer wants, have a conversation with them, and help them in their time of need.”
Helping customers feel understood
Humanlike digital interactions drive increased value in commerce and customer-care relationships. LivePerson recognizes that for brands to truly win at customer engagement, they need to deliver artificial intelligence (AI) that helps customers feel seen, valued and heard through experiences that are more Curiously Human™.
Curiously Human™ AI leverages vast amounts of data and customer intent information to shape customer-bot conversations and support a great experience. Intent information helps Curiously Human™ AI deliver on customers’ needs. The best kind of conversations, for example, start from a clear understanding of what the consumer is trying to accomplish or get out of the conversation’s intent.
In addition, conversations should be personalized based on customers’ preferences and experiences with the retailer or brand.
“If a customer feels like just one of many, that obviously has brand implications that can affect things like customer loyalty, brand perception or their willingness to shop again at that place,” Mannion said. “But ultimately, as you drive personalized experiences, you can increase conversion rates, you can increase average order value, you can increase brand loyalty and customer lifetime value.
“What we’re designing for our customers are really personalized curiously human experiences that make their customers feel like they’ve been heard, that the brand understands what they’re after and that messaging is the best option to help them get what they need,” Mannion said.
Better outcomes, powered by data
Helping a brand’s customers get what they need isn’t just about understanding their order history. It’s also about understanding how the consumer is feeling — and responding in the right way — based on the language they’re using. LivePerson’s Meaningful Automation Connection Score (MACS), for example, allows AI to understand the sentiment of a customer-bot dialogue.
“Based on that score, certain actions can happen in real time,” Mannion said. “If the conversation isn’t going the way that it’s supposed to, for example, it can be routed to a better-suited bot or to a human agent if need be.”
The best conversational AI is capable of all of these things because it’s trained on real-world data from thousands of contact centers and billions of calls.
“The scale of our data is really what differentiates a lot of our outcomes for the brands that we work with,” Mannion said. “Our solutions power a billion conversational interactions a month and that number just continues to grow. Tests also show that our AI is about 20% more effective than that of any of our competitors, because of the scale that we have. We have the ability to self-learn and self-heal and we’re continually pushing the envelope from a product standpoint on how we can leverage our vast dataset to further build better products and services for our customers.”
LivePerson’s Curiously Human™ conversational AI is a leading innovation driving the next era of e-commerce. And retailers that have yet to begin their journey toward conversational commerce are wise to get started now.
LivePerson’s AI-powered Conversational Cloud™ helps brands build meaningful relationships with their consumers, while delivering real business outcomes. To learn more, click here.