Commerce is at a point of inflection. The proliferation of channels and increasing adoption of digital engagement has challenged the traditional customer journey. Experiences are designed for the channel, not the customer, and journeys are still thought of as a linear progression. However, customers don’t think about channels and their journey is not sequential. They expect one consistent, omni-present, continuous experience that adapts to their in-the-moment needs.
Is your business meeting customer’s expectations? You might be lying if you said yes.
I’m here to offer up an optimistic view into a trend that I believe will reshape commerce and drive companies closer to their customers.
I’m talking about artificial intelligence (AI), of course. To be more specific, I’m referring to conversational and voice AI, or the technology trained to simulate human dialog through textual and auditory methods. These capabilities are fundamentally changing the face of computing and soon, commerce.
- When your customer makes a purchase online, can you tell what motivating factors drove their decision, or even the context for their initial search? Can you tell me about their personality? Your answer is likely, no, because digital experiences designed around clicks tell us only a fraction of the story. Only through conversation can a business or person develop an intimate view of a customer.
- When your customer browses your site and then calls your contact center, would you say it’ a seamless experience if the receiving agent knew who was calling, or maybe knew what the customer had browsed before calling? That would be a win, but is that a true omnichannel experience? Clicking in one channel, talking in the next. What if every interaction between a business and a customer, whether online, in person, or over-the-phone was one continuous chat that persisted across touchpoints. Conversational interfaces will blend the physical and digital worlds and become the thread that stiches together omnichannel commerce.
- When your customer realizes a need, maybe for more paper towels, compression bandages, or beakers, it is likely they aren’t sitting in front of their laptop. It is more likely they are in their kitchen, in the supplies room, or in a laboratory, and yet, most digital commerce experiences are designed for the web. Any friction that inhibits a customer’s ability to make an immediate purchase or easily reorder will impact their loyalty. Experiences facilitated by voice enabled devices will blend commerce into your customer’s every day lives and jobs.
Will every customer experience become a conversation tomorrow? No, but this trend is not going away. Learn more about how your business can benefit today by downloading SMITH’s Guide to Conversational Commerce.