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Q&A with Pranay Jain, CEO and Co-Founder of Enterprise Bot

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How does conversational AI help e-commerce companies improve their business model?

The rapid transformation of technologies, changing business landscape, heightened competition, and increasing customer demand have pushed businesses to revamp their business model to stay ahead of their peers. 

As subscription-based purchases are increasing in e-commerce across various channels such as Google Business, Whatsapp Business, Facebook Messenger etc., customer-brand interactions are becoming even more critical than ever. Conversational AI will carry out these interactions intelligently on customer-preferred channels and drive engagement. It shows subscription offers to customers analyzing historical data of previous customer purchases or interests. It also provides options to customers to manage their subscription form changing, to editing, to stop, or to reactivating their plans. 

According to a report by McKinsey and Company, over the past few years, the subscription-based e-commerce market has risen by a whopping 100% percent every year. 

While the global pandemic has accelerated the digital-fast engagement, companies have struggled and are still struggling to meet the unprecedented demand in customer support. A recent study by Zendesk reveals that they observed on average a 48% rise in support ticket requests Since February 2020. 

Now the question is how businesses can ride through this unprecedented demand without overburdening their IT help desk or customer support. Conversational AI has the power to transform help desk operations while ensuring business continuity and high employee productivity. It offers round-the-clock self-service platforms in the form of a chatbot, voice bot and email bot fueled by natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML) to automate customer interactions significantly. It ensures that most of the customer issues are resolved on the first level without any need of communicating with agents. It reduces the pressure on employees and also boosts customer engagement during this challenging time.

Deploying conversational intelligence to customer interactions is not merely an easy method of communication; it also helps to get an in-depth understanding of each customer journey enabling the development of a closer customer engagement.

What differentiates modern chatbots from the glitchy, difficult to use bots of the past?

Chatbots are used globally, from retail to delivery to consulting, finance, banking, travel, etc. But not all chatbots can simplify and drive customer engagement to the same level. Just speeding up the interaction and providing accurate responses are not enough; it needs to make it natural as much as possible.  

Click-based chatbots are a thing of the past. No, we’re not exaggerating. Click-based chatbots, though they save time, lack in-depth contextual understanding and flexibility. These chatbots automate specific situations based on their previous learning, such as order status, refund status, or product or services catalog. They function on pre-programmed keywords or U/X features or suggested responses to take the conversation forward. It shows up options to choose from and limits the interactions only on button clicks. This lack of free-form communication impacts the user experience significantly as they don’t prefer having interactions following a linear path. 

AI chatbots come into the picture here as it allows free-form communication. Powered by Natural Language Processing (NLP), it performs real-time sentiment analysis to understand context and send natural responses to users. It carries out unique conversations, providing solution-based responses to boost customer satisfaction. 

Can you discuss the benefits of chatbots both internally and externally? For example, how do they help existing customer service agents to do their jobs? And how do they contribute to customer experience?

The benefits of chatbots are multifaceted. While it is becoming an integral tool for easing customer service operations, its benefits for internal communication often go unnoticed. 

An internal chatbot equips your employees with self-help. They don’t need to go by the old way of dropping an email and waiting for responses for days, and again following up. Implementing virtual assistants in your internal process will help employees get answers to standard queries within a second. It also reduces pressure on the HR team by eliminating redundant tasks from their plate. A company-wide virtual assistant makes accessing information super-fast and super-efficient.

The conversational AI-powered by natural language processing (NLP) and robotic process automation (RPA) amplifies the efficiency of HR teams by automating repetitive HR operations with accuracy and speed. AI-powered chatbots analyze the intents without any prior context to ensure multilingual communication with employees addressing their queries real-time. Empowering HR with AI not only enhances your employee experience but also saves your time and budget. – Enterprise Bot

AI-Powered HR Workflow Automation – A Win-Win for HR and Employees

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An internal chatbot helps individual team members work according to their schedule, distributes the responsibilities to avoid clash, and helps with documentation. 

Chatbots also play a significant role in uplifting employee productivity. Let’s discuss this with the scenario of Covid-19 earlier this year. The unprecedented demand in digital channels since the lockdown has created significant challenges for businesses, especially in customer service. As a result, companies have implemented cloud-based technologies to successfully run their operations amid this crisis. In a time when employees are overburdened, they lack sufficient time to learn, adapt and utilize the new technologies. Trying to do many things at a time negatively impacts employee productivity. Chatbots function as a personal trainer to guide the employee throughout the training process. It splits the materials systematically in different modules based on priorities to make the learning effective and fast, also not hurting the productivity of employees. 

Looking at the job of live agents in customer service; most of the work is redundant. This impacts the cost-efficiency of an organization significantly. If the team is working hard, but they don’t have the right technology and applications in place, the work is not giving you enough value. Enabling conversational AI applications can automate responses to 80% of the customer queries by taking off the mundane, repetitive, low-value tasks from live agents’ plates. It allows help-desk agents to concentrate on resolving critical queries and boosting customer satisfaction. Conversational AI learns from previous interactions, and it goes through continuous updates, and the same response is automated for future interactions. 

To briefly touch on the external benefits of chatbots in customer service, as businesses are more familiar to this:

  • Provides round-the-clock support to employees
  • Boosts the issue resolution speed by quickly tapping into the database and sending instant responses 
  • Cuts down operational costs by reducing resource staffing needs
  • Drives customer engagement by providing omnichannel support
  • Offers multilingual support across regions
  • Gathers data from every interaction to bring out actionable insights
  • Reduces IVR frustrations among users by engaging them in natural, personalized conversations
  • Boosts the scalability of support
  • Eliminates the chances of mistakes from manual conversations
  • Delivers consistent and accurate support

What are some of the customer experience/customer services challenges that e-commerce companies face?

Global e-commerce sales are growing by leaps and bounds, especially in post-covid situations, when everything is going virtual. 

Shopping couldn’t be any easier for consumers. Though online shopping has drastically transformed the buying experience for consumers, it has brought unique challenges for ecommerce companies. Multichannel sellers face the difficulty of managing customer communications across various sales channels. It leads to poor customer experience and hurts brand reputation. 

Challenge #1: Providing real-time answers to customer queries

Customers expect a faster resolution to their issues. A survey conducted among 3000 buyers reveals that 80% of customers seek responses to their emails within 24 hours. Late responses frustrate customers and violate SLAs when you are on a big marketplace like Amazon, tagging you as an unreliable seller. 

Conversational AI applications are enabled with NLP and ML that understand human language and shoot up appropriate responses to users in seconds. 

Challenge #2: Delivering Omnichannel Customer Experience

Customers today reach out to a brand via any channel, be it a website or social media or live chat etc. Companies need an integrated application to manage customer interactions effectively across all platforms. AI-powered chatbots and voice bots integrate and optimize across these channels to provide personalized responses to users anytime. 

Challenge #3: Getting a 360 Degree View to Customer Journey

Companies miss critical insights into customer behavior and buying patterns. Deriving actionable insights out of customer data help in developing the right strategies for business growth. AI-powered chatbots capture customer information, store it and bring out critical insights. 

Another challenge companies face with proper segmentation of user data. The right segmentation will help companies identify and segregate users into specific groups based on behavioral similarities and carry on communication based on user preferences. AI chatbots communicate with users based on their past conversations, understand their needs, and offer personalized services.

The challenges don’t end here; there are many more. Let’s take a look at those precisely: 

  • Sustaining through the competitive business landscape
  • Reducing shopping cart abandonment by simplifying the process
  • Strengthening customer relationships by building trust and loyalty
  • Ensuring data security 
  • Keeping the product price lower than competitors
  • Dealing with higher product return rate and refund

Conversational AI solutions leverage sentiment analysis to measure the satisfaction rate of customers. In case it fails to understand the query, it immediately passes the issue on to a support agent. 

How has COVID-19 impacted the demand for chatbots, particularly in e-commerce?

In a post-covid world, consumer behavior and expectations have drastically changed. It has led to rising demand for e-commerce services worldwide, be it grocery or clothes or other essentials. Gradually adapting to the ‘new normal,’ wary consumers turn to online purchases while maintaining social distancing and ensuring safety. 

  • In March 2020, the US has noticed a 58% growth in e-commerce sales from the previous year. 
  • 20% of consumers said they have ordered groceries online for the first time ever. 
Source: Boston Consulting Group, 2020

Source: Boston Consulting Group, 2020

Now the question is do the businesses have the right technologies and applications in place to run smoothly amid this growing demand while at the same time keeping up to the customer expectations. 

In March, when the lockdown was announced, essential stores noticed an all time surge in demand. While managing that gigantic volume of customer requests, the call center costs crossed the predefined budget. It also created backlogs in processing customer requests. To successfully win through such a situation, companies needed to find an efficient and cost-effective solution to increase their customer handling capacity in the long run.  

The hour’s need is to formulate an effective strategy to manage the growing influx of requests they receive daily without causing a delay in responses. Moreover, when speed and convenience are driving the consumer agenda over product and pricing, conversational AI will help you catch up to the speed by automating responses to 80% of customer queries and freeing up your customer service team to concentrate on more complex issues. To streamline customer service and meet consumer expectations, more and more retailers are turning to chatbots.

These virtual AI-powered assistants are enabled with advanced NLP and ML that frame personalized responses to make the conversation natural and boost customer satisfaction. Chatbots never sleep; they engage customers 24/7 by offering instant responses. 

Previously, e-commerce lacked one-on-one interaction. Thanks to conversational AI, personalized interactions are bridging the gap. More and more companies are deploying chatbots, making them the first point of contact in customer interactions. The intention is to resolve the maximum number of issues during interaction with chatbots so that live agents don’t get overburdened.  

Before deploying chatbots, Nykaa’s customer service executives spent 32,000 hours in a month addressing user queries. The table turned entirely when they integrated chatbot into their systems. They engaged 99.7% of their customers within 1 minute, and it was a significant cost saving.  

Just making an online presence is not good enough in today’s context. Thousands of companies out there are struggling to acquire customers despite having an online presence. You need to ensure personalized experiences for consumers to engage them. And there is no better alternative than AI-powered chatbots in achieving this.

 Have you seen a change in the way e-commerce companies interact with customers? How has this impacted their business model?

Over the past few years, there have been drastic alterations in how e-commerce businesses interact with customers. As technology has taken over almost every facet of the business, customer service is no exception. The constantly changing customer expectations, the surge in demand, the highly competitive business space, etc. have pushed e-commerce businesses to revamp their customer engagement strategy. 

Modern e-commerce cannot succeed if they concentrate only on sales or taking orders on websites, it is more about having interactions with customers and building relationships. 

Today customers expect to interact with a brand anytime per their suitability. To provide support outside business hours while the customer base is spread across time zones, companies are leveraging AI’s power to ensure self-help support for customers 24/7, automate responses, and eliminate wait times. 

Convenience today plays a critical role in driving purchase decisions from the consumer end. Ecommerce leaders are leveraging Conversational AI to extract consumer data.  AI helps companies engage consumers by showing related items of their interest and offering discounts based on their purchase and browsing history. This creates a great customer experience and boosts sales.

E-commerce companies no longer limit their customer engagement initiatives within the website. They have developed a multi-channel engagement strategy to connect with consumers from chat, email, phone to mobile apps, online marketplaces, and social media.

Global Banking & Finance Review


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