Consumer behaviour has changed. Gone are the days of browsing for good exclusively in store, feeling the materials between your fingers, or thumbing through the pages of a book in a bookstore.

According to a recent ANZ-Roy Morgan Survey, consumer sentiment at the start of 2022 has cratered due to the uncertainty provided by the spread of Omicron. This has meant that businesses have needed to employ more innovative tactics to provide an exceptional and agile customer experience to keep their edge in the increasingly digitised retail market.

Convenience and experience 

With newly formed habits of online shopping, customers are looking to replicate as much of their in-person shopping experience online. Whether it’s a simple enquiry into the specificity of a product, or the availability of an item in stock before venturing into the store to minimise the risk of infection, customers are looking for fast and simple interaction points to aid their purchase journey.

We also know that consumers need to communicate with businesses outside of the head office hours, and without providing greater access businesses face the prospect of losing customers to more agile competitors. Organisations that do not bend to this trend and adopt automated and innovative solutions risk losing out.

Cloud based communication technologies can orchestrate highly flexible solutions with the customer at the centre of the experience. Organisations need to place a higher value on these multi-channel AI platforms that create personalised, branded communications and solutions to customers, allowing the business the agility to meet the customer wherever they are.

Artificial Intelligence

A report from WSJ states that global spending on Intelligence (AI) is set to double in the next 4 years, as companies realise that AI can help them boost innovation and improve their customer service. 

While many online consumers still want the option to be able to speak to a human, the reality is that consumers are looking for fast solutions to their enquiries and do not want to be waiting on hold in a call-centre queue for simple matters.

The implementation of chat bots in businesses has risen due to their cost-effectiveness and the broad customer reach they provide. As AI continues to develop, we have seen chat bots evolve to become more sophisticated and personalised, providing simple solutions and guiding customers to their desired outcomes.

Using messaging services like Whats-App, Instagram Business and SMS, businesses and AI chatbots can meet with their customers on applications they already trust and use, breaking down barriers to communication and expanding interaction beyond the 9 to 5.

The human touch

Utilising AI to get sales across the line and provide star studded CX is more important than ever. Leaning on automation and AI within call centre environments can provide agents with the most up-to-date information for their call, automate simple tasks and allow the agent greater ability to understand the customer’s needs, and provide clear, precise solutions.

Call centres that implement an automation system to support their agents gives employees easy access to information, minimising time spent on-boarding and skills-gaps. This advantage of keeping expertise easily accessible in a business has great benefits to customer experience, as customers will have greater success in gaining their desired outcome quicker, and simpler.

Time is precious, and sparse, so by reducing time to resolution for customers, businesses gain their positive reviews, greater return business rates and loyalty.

Multi-channel communication

Businesses that opt for a broad range of AI through multi-channel communications give their customers control over the way they want to interact with the business. With such easy access to solutions and answers, customers can feel more confident in their purchasing decisions, as they get the information they need, and know that the business is always available should a problem arise.

Consumers have become reliant on on-demand frameworks in their everyday life; TV is on demand, information is on demand through Smart devices, navigation is on demand through in-built car GPS’s, and even food is on demand through simple delivery services.

If businesses don’t keep up with providing on-demand customer service, they risk being left behind.

Jonathan Ryan is regional manager for Australia & New Zealand at Infobip.