A number of digital channels have emerged in recent years, creating new ways for a firm to get in touch with their clients. Building up a fluid, seamless customer journey between all those channels is now vital: this will ensure visitors a relevant and satisfying experience. Overloaded with requests, many services make use of bots, which get more efficient in treating the clients’ requests every day. By offering a very humanized conversational experience, those bots are a true asset to the firms and their corporate image.
Multi-channel, cross-channel and omni-channel strategies
It is a fact: today’s customer journey is mainly performed online, or at least one big part of it. Clicking on a paid advertisement, on a link in a newsletter, directly visiting the website or the seller’s app: most of the time, visitors follow a mixed up path made of several visits, of clicks, of twists and turns before making their decision.
Most of the firms now know that, and many of them have decided to take care of their digital strategy by optimizing the interaction between all acquisition channels.
In this respect, three terms are used, that are closely related: multi-channel, cross-channel and omni-channel strategies though refer to slightly different things.
- The multichannel strategy is the use of different channels to get in touch with the client and generate a purchase. Newsletters, customized emailing, paid ads, social media, TV ads: the consumer is targeted through a number of those sources at different times of the day, according to his/her supposed responsiveness. Refining and improving the advertising operations then helps accelerate the purchase.
- The cross channel strategy is a relevant combination of the methods mentioned above in order to answer to the client’s need of information. It is meant to offer the proper channel at the right time and to be more likely to finalize the purchase. With that strategy, online channels complement each other instead of competing.
- The concept of omni-channel strategy is more subtle and refers to all possible means for a firm and its clients to get in touch. For all forms of communication between them, a specific channel can be used to initiate dialogue. Whether a search for information from the customer, a collection of the purchase through a click collect process or a connected point of sales, the omni-channel strategy aims at offering a comprehensive purchasing experience to the client.
Chatbots working for the customer experience
For several years now, bots have been serving online strategies. Getting more and more sophisticated, they gradually took place into each acquisition channel and are now able to answer the clients’ simple questions about their purchase or order.
The most classical of them, chatbots, can be found on a number of modern websites and are able to guide clients according to his needs. But leading-edge bots are gaining on popularity at all levels. By being able to answer vocal questions more and more precisely, voice bots and call bots offer the client a more natural and humanized experience. They make it possible to make an appointment, to visualize or modify an order through the phone without waiting and with maximum reliability. On the social media, messengers bots give firms high responsiveness and a 24/7 online presence: it is indeed more than necessary to possess these 2 assets when working with those vital acquisition channels to ensure a successful communication. Add to this that the bots that can deal with the daily tasks such as emails and SMS and one could say that bots now fully participate in the omni-channel experience. Available, efficient and enriching themselves with each conversation, they are more and more often included in the firms’ marketing strategy.
Bots at each step of the omni-channel experience
Relieving customer services and other human workers from low-added-value tasks, bots are also able to ensure continuity between all channels and actions. Over the years, they have been improving their performance and are now able to better contextualize questions. In order to do so, they make use of precise information about clients and their profiles, know every detail about the previous orders and they can give answers based on their interlocutor’s age or gender.
Those elements are critical for the omni-channel experience, which aims at offering a fluid transition between all channels: whether the advisor is human or bot, the conversation shoud always start again where it last stopped. With the help of constantly available information, the change of contact person should easily be forgotten by the customer.
This is why bots are now designed to get closer to humans, both in terms of comprehension and expression. They often use a specific tone, as well as a specific vocabulary and a personality in line with that of the firm, so that the conversation is more pleasant. By adapting the way a bot expresses itself depending on the subject and the keywords employed, the current technologies have found the way to spectacularly approach the human tone.
Due to their constant improvement in terms of conversation, bots now easily find a place within the customer journey. Legitimized by the need of all services to make more time, they prove to be smart, productive, and their increasing popularity will certainly ensure them continued success.