The next generation of AI-powered chatbot is helping retailers to transform the consumer experience.

As consumer demand for a personalised and convenient customer experience grows, chatbots are helping retailers to optimise the customer journey – like never before.

Ryan Lester, director of customer engagement technologies at LogMeIn, a leading chatbot software provider, told Retailbiz that there is huge opportunity for smart chatbots to redefine the customer experience.

Advances in technology have meant that chatbots can now offer much more than basic customer interactions – instead providing consumers the convenient and personalised shopping experience that they increasingly desire, according to Mr Lester.

“We see this as the next phase of AI where bots are less about traffic waiting for customers to ask questions and more actively engaging with the consumer to assists them in helping them solve problems or buy what want to buy,” he said.

While chatbots are still useful for simple tasks such as managing inbound requests like tracking orders or product queries, chatbots are increasingly being used in more advanced ways such as personalising product recommendations, Mr Lester said.

“We’ve seen a lot of different opportunity for companies to better engage, specifically retailers, to better engage with customers through chatbots,” he said.

But chatbots can also be used to help real-life agents work more efficiently by, for instance, providing suggestions for specific customers, or finding information such as the latest returns policy, he said.

“So behind scenes bots can help agents be more productive in the work they do,” he said.

It’s the immediacy of interaction, consistency of service and ability to personalise responses that makes chatbots so useful to retailers wanting to boost customer satisfaction,  he said.

“Because chatbots are AI-powered, they instantly have information so can give personalised answers based on geography or information the customer has given to the bot. It’s a really great opportunity to tailor the information in front of a customer in a unique way.”

But ensuring that a balance is struck between leveraging chatbots to enhance the customer journey and ensuring that customers aren’t harassed is absolutely essential, according to Mr Lester.

“There’s a balance – you want to make sure a chatbot doesn’t become like spam. There’s two things to consider. Firstly, are you engaging to deliver  value to customers. Secondly, are you collecting feedback on how the customer interacts with a bot. The power of AI is collecting data of the customer journey,” he said.

New chatbot technology

Just recently, LogMeIn launched its Bold 360 platform, a new software which offers a hyper-intelligent, personalised customer experience of chatbots.

According to the VP of Customer Care and CRM at IDC Mary Wardley, the new platform actually anticipates customer needs and promotes timely engagements based on customer behaviour – marking a new generation of chatbot.

“Artificial intelligence has already shown great promise in reinventing how businesses tackle customer service and support both in direct communications with the customer and in supporting agents,” she said.

“The next evolution is proactive AI, where customers can get timely and relevant information throughout their entire journey. As companies continue to implement AI, they have a tremendous opportunity to use the technology – not just for call deflection – but instead to offer the type of concierge-level service that breeds long-term brand loyalty.”