Traditional (which most are) web sites are static. They serve only as a medium of publishing information to visitors and thereafter allow visitors to communicate via email with whoever are behind the portal. Replies typically take a few working days and the golden period of delivering the responsive experience to customer will be lost.
Then come the chat bot add-on where the bot will reply consumers with frequently asked questions. Most of the time, this feature will leave consumers even more frustrated. The chatbots keep giving standard replies for most questions. Much of taobao shopping is still based on chat bot with built in FAQ “AI”.
The best experience that consumers will have via website real time chats are where actual users sit behind a computer terminal, answering queries to what consumers have. I have encountered one with my web hosting company where IT support sit behind the terminal, answering and troubleshooting whatever queries I have. I had a great experience with them, ending up I hosted not 1 but 3 websites with them the past 2 years. Last year, I was exploring the option of signing up a data roam package overseas, I went to SingTel website to try to gather some info. The website were lacking in clarity but the live chat solved my query and I immediately signed up for their package.
I believed SingTel with its financial prowess will be able to afford dedicated call center staff to answer queries and concurrently utilize its chat features. How about for SME without the financial resources? Will they be able to deliver the same i-experience with online chat technology. Definitely!
Just today, I experimented with one of the newest chat technology that can integrate your mobile phone with the online chat. Through a bit of configuration and programming, “AI” chat via FAQ could also be realized. SMEs will still be able to deliver this essential online customer experience and grow their business. One of the greatest advantage I saw was that relevant staff can be linked up with customers to answer their queries, and not keep them waiting.
An example below: I got a query from a potential customer who could not make the typical payment method for one of the experience package and I offered her an alternate method, and she was pleased with the result. The company got a new customer, perhaps a life-long customer as she is pleased with the responsiveness.
Customer service staff do not need to be in front of their desk 24×7 to answer queries from potential customers. They can just reply to queries immediately on their mobile and deliver the great customer experience (CX) immediately. They can also greet potential visitors after they have browsed through a few pages. This is similar to bring in a retail shop, except its online. The best part is, a lot of this technology are available for free.
The only adoption hurdle to clear is just some education and awareness of the technology available.