How NLI Brings Customer Service into the Digital Age

Cyber Monday might have seen record sales this year, but is it just as easy for customers to query, complain or return something as it was to buy the product in the first place?

With Retail Week reporting that UK retailer John Lewis “broke its record for a single day’s trading on on Black Friday and mobile orders tripled the record for a single day”, it’s clear that buying online is going through a transformation. Smartphones and tablets are changing the way we purchase everything.

From the daily commute to sleepless nights, mobile devices make it possible for us to use our time productively such as shopping for presents or choosing what to what to wear to the Christmas party. Mobile devices also give a wealth of choice for customers as to how they interact with brands – social, mobile web, apps, email and, of course, the good old fashioned telephone.

But when it’s 1am and you’re tucked up in bed with your partner sleeping soundly beside you, picking up the phone to ask about something isn’t an option, even if the call centre was still open. Email takes too long, you want to make the purchase now whilst you are thinking about it and the website FAQ is a logistical nightmare.

Most customers are prepared, in fact they are very willing, to solve their own problems from technical issues or pricing queries to obtaining a returns reference. However, enabling this over multiple channels, in multiple languages, 24/7, in a way that makes it easy and fast for customers to access can prove a challenge even for the biggest of brands.

NLI helps to bridge the gap between complex online knowledge bases and impersonal online customer self service by providing an intelligent, sophisticated, humanlike, automated interaction. From answering questions directly to seamlessly integrating into delivery systems to automatically arrange collections, NLI delivers the artificial intelligence missing from most online retail operations.

Typically deployed as a virtual assistant capable of adapting to different channels, it can answer email queries before the customer presses send; respond to social media messages when an automated response is acceptable; be part of a mobile app or simply a friendly face on your website, ready to leap in and help your customers whenever they have a question.

Online interaction shouldn’t stop the moment a purchase is made, with 70% of companies saying it’s cheaper to retain customers than to find new ones, it should be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Andy, who lives with his family in the UK, is Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at Artificial Solutions. A regular speaker at industry conferences and events, Andy delivers insight on the rise of AI, the challenges businesses face and the future of intelligent conversational applications.

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