Growth of Conversational Commerce

Conversational commerce is changing the way customers interact with brands and companies. Younger generations, like millennials, look at the transition as a valuable one because it utilizes technology they rely on every day, their smartphones. Overall, customer culture is evolving, and consumers have a desire for more accessible communication methods that let them interact with businesses when they want and from wherever they are.

What is conversational commerce?

The term, conversational commerce, was initially published by Uber’s Chris Messina on Medium and since grown significantly. It refers to the use of messaging apps for shopping, communicating, and overall interaction with businesses. This method of communication gives consumers a way to chat, make purchases, ask questions, and get help from companies without having to call them during specific hours.

Some businesses have built-in message systems in their mobile apps, and others utilize Facebook Messenger and chatbots. Most recently, companies such as Dish and Capital One are partnering with Amazon Echo which acts as an interface with individual companies through voice commands.

Since the use of messaging continues to rise for personal and business use with more than 1.4 billion messages sent in 2015, conversational commerce is simplifying the customer journey. Businesses that are quick to embrace this new form of communication will quickly establish a loyal following and increase revenue as a result.

How will conversational commerce impact businesses in 2018?

While conversational commerce is a step in the right direction for consumers’ needs, there are areas of concerns for businesses to consider. To successfully implement a conversational commerce strategy, each of the below should be reviewed and a plan created by company leaders.

  1. Analyzing customer conversations at every touch point.

The increase of communication options makes it easier for more of your customers to connect with you, but it also increases the number of conversations your call center agents have on a daily basis. Depending on how you currently track and analyze calls, the influx may create a burden for your quality assurance team.

Companies that want to expand customer interactions to more than one user interface need to invest in a call center analytics solution that can automate the tracking process. Analytics solutions automatically capture every conversation including voice, text, social media, and emails and transcribe the information into a central database. The database stores 100% of these customer conversations so businesses can research and identify trends that occur over time.

When used successfully, businesses become more proactive at fixing product issues, increasing staffing when necessary, creating new services, and educating their team on best practices.

  1. An increased opportunity for fraud.

Hackers spend their days looking for new ways to make money. The introduction of conversational commerce gives them just that. But, now instead of trying to hack into an account online or via the telephone, they can now use messaging to access account details.

Call centers will need to tighten or create new security strategies to prevent hackers from accessing sensitive information. By establishing procedures including ongoing security upgrades for apps and account authentication by the user, they are less likely to experience a cyber breach. Speech Analytics can also help identify behaviors of fraudsters and prevent them from completing transactions.

  1. A need for new analytics.

In the past, your call center may have tracked customer satisfaction, first call resolution rates, or average handle time. With the increase of messaging to communicate will create a need for new metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs).

With this new technology, call centers will also need to track which communication methods create the happiest clients, first-message resolution, average response time, and the number of conversations via platforms to properly staff the customer service.

What steps can contact centers take to keep up with the transition?

Any business that wants to grow and expand in 2018 and beyond should be looking at conversational commerce today.  Decide how you want to or can integrate it into your existing procedures. Do you already have the avenues in place such as a Facebook business profile where you can build a chatbot through messenger to manage customer purchases and conversations?

From there it is important that your brainstorm with your customer service team, managers, and leaders on how it will impact you internally. Will you need additional personnel? Can you move current team members around to fulfill the needs? What type of training do employees need? Will there be any holes in the customer service strategy to consider?

Lastly, make sure you have a call center analytics system that lets you track, record, analyze, search, and customize reports that calculate overall contact center and agent performance. This is the one way to understand how conversation commerce impacts your customer satisfaction, revenue, and bottom line.

Conversational Commerce is here to stay. The digital avenue it opens for businesses to deliver personalized and speedy service will not go unnoticed in the future of customer service.

How have you/do you plan to incorporate Conversational Commerce into your business?