I read an article about using Virtual Agent to help keep eCommerce customers happy. Is it really needed? Does it give you more value and more value for your customers?
Is a Virtual Agent needed in online shopping?
This is actually an interesting topic. Ten years ago I was a fan of virtual representatives, intelligent machines that can serve and understand the most common questions directly on the website.
I remember a couple of implementations that were more or less successful. Currently almost of call centers are using such functionality, even banks have some hybrid solutions. Sometimes it is really good, sometimes it creates frustration if a machine doesn’t understand what your problem is.
- Do you really need it in your online shop?
- Is it a good investment for your e-commerce company?
There are some pros and cons. I see that it is widely used in chat machines like Olark.com or others.
They are also use an intelligent virtual agent that serves clients after hours.
eCommerce customers are really smart if you enable them to find what they are looking for.
What online shoppers are expecting
- your online shop should have a good navigation: menu, product categories, filters and a great search engine inside your shop
- the product descriptions should be very rich and contain of most important data as much as possible
- other information like delivery details, privacy, payment details, legal terms & conditions cannot be hidden – they should assessed from any page
- your contact data should be also visible and very easy to use
- you can implement a “thank you visiting us” page and ask for some recommendation or feedback why e-commerce customers are leaving your e-shop
- you should implement some recommendations and similar products suggestions to keep your prospect and finalize sales.
- you should implement the customized offer to better serve your customers. There are a couple of applications that can help like optimizely.com
- you should implement many types of contact channels, including chat application. Olark.com can provide very personalized answers even you are after work and nobody serves clients.
But eCommerce means a time saving for me. It is faster to use Google or Bing search and find solution.
On the other hand a Virtual agent can be very useful for:
- old people or people with disabilities that are very used to buying in offline shops. They need more support for step-by-step guidance how to buy and what to do
- professionals that are looking for very specific tools and details of usage
Let’s see if such solutions spread widely to small businesses.
It looks that a Virtual Assistant is really important. Even Mark Zuckenberg plans to start working on Virtual Assistant software in 2016.