In early July, the BBC 1 television programme Watchdog launched its #CantComplain investigation, highlighting how companies across Britain are simply not responding to customer enquiries.
Three weeks later, the consumer outrage that sparked the initial investigation is only growing stronger.
Many retailers around the world are struggling with surges in customer enquiries, as more shopping is shifting online, and logistics systems come under strain operating in a pandemic. CS teams can quickly become overwhelmed, and thousands of shoppers who need more information are being left in the dark.
What is really irritating many customers, and the producers of Watchdog, is the solution many retailers have implemented: removing email, telephone calls, or online chat as options for customers to get in touch. Customers literally “can’t complain.”
Instead of removing communication options, retailers should be looking at adding new channels. Specifically, adding a Virtual Shopping Assistant from Envolve Tech reduces the number of inbound enquiries for customer service teams, and allows them to focus on the most urgent cases.
STEP 1: lighten the load on your Customer Service team
The first step any retailer experiencing a spike in inbound enquiries should take is to remove the simple, easy-to-answer questions from the queue. Inbound questions will grow in number during any major crisis, but not all enquiries will be related to the crisis itself.
For example, if a new government-mandated lockdown impacted the logistics company which supplied your orders, you should expect to see online chat requests from lots of customers wanting to know where their order is. But, not every online chat request will be about unfulfilled orders. There will still be plenty wanting to know if you are open, if you offer a discount to NHS staff, or if you carry the colour of dress, lipstick, paint, or phone case they are looking for.
The Envolve Tech Virtual Shopping Assistant is designed to handle these routine customer service enquiries automatically without any input from your human customer service team.
Automating the customer service responses which can be automated is not a panacea,, but it will certainly help in two very important ways:
- Accurate automated responses means fewer frustrated customers overall. Shoppers do not have to be grappling with a major issue to get annoyed by poor response rates. During a difficult situation it makes sense not to create new customer service issues.
- Reducing the number of inbound enquiries to your customer service team makes it easier to address the enquiries which do need urgent help. Yes, there will still be difficult problems to solve, but there will be more time and space to address them properly.
STEP 2: Don’t forget about sales!
Our Virtual Shopping Assistant is equipped to handle routine, repetitive customer service enquiries, but its primary role is converting customer enquiries into sales.
This means it will not only make life easier for your customer service team - it will also add revenue to your bottom line!
During normal times, over 60% of online chat enquiries are from customers considering a sale. Identifying and converting potential sales is not the easiest job for customer service agents in the best of times. It only gets harder when there is a surge in enquiries.
Having a Virtual Shopping Assistant in place to field routine enquiries and convert sales simply makes sense.
STEP 3: get in touch with Envolve Tech
The Virtual Shopping Assistant has been developed to sit within whatever online chat system you are currently using, and our onboarding team can integrate it onto your site quickly and painlessly.
If you are interested in learning more, just ask our business development team for a demonstration. There are no setup fees, no subscription fees, and no commitment required.
Even if your online business is flying during the pandemic (as many are), there is no way to predict what changes to our lives might be coming soon.
Add a Virtual Shopping Assistant to your website now, and reduce the strain on your customer service team!