What Is Conversational Commerce?
Conversational commerce is about engaging with customers wherever and whenever it suits them best. In a way, it seeks to virtually replicate the kind of service you hope for in a corner store — one where the staff know you and give you special, personalized service. So what does this kind of store look like online?
The staff know their customers and what they like. Conversational commerce provides a way to store all the knowledge you can learn from each customer to provide a personalized experience. So even if they come into the store to buy one thing, you know other items to suggest that will actually interest them.
The store is located where it suits the customer. Wherever each customer wants to communicate, be it live chat, social media, or phone, you can be there. Plus you can seamlessly swap between the different channels if the customer wants.
The staff engage in actual conversation and not just the hard sell 100% of the time. No one would want to be in a store where the staff are constantly yelling at them about their sales and offers, so why would an online experience be different? Conversational commerce is just that — a one-on-one personal conversation that aims to fix problems and help the customer, perhaps even in ways they had not considered before.
The store is open when the customer wants. Not only does that mean 24/7 service, but if the customer needs to pause a conversation, it can be restarted at any point without needing to go back to the beginning.
Just as technology helps the modern corner store, so is our virtual replica. Most of the customer conversations will take place using live chats, chatbots, and messaging apps. Conversational AI is easy to integrate into your website or app, and you have control over the tone and content. These tools can also automate the data gathering process, helping you to better understand each customer.
By adding AI and human support into creative places along the customer journey, you can create a better experience. This, in turn, helps you meet all kinds of objectives: creating more loyalty, converting more sales, reducing churn, and more.
User Experience and Customer Engagement
So how does this relate to the user experience? Conversational commerce is designed to improve customer engagement.
Engagement is the art of getting and keeping the right attention. It's what companies are looking for when they see how many people opened an email or clicked a link. Getting it right improves the experience, creates more loyalty, and generally hoists the perception of your brand's quality to a higher level.
Meanwhile, failing to capture engagement at the right spots or at all can make your brand seem aloof or even inept. Failing to provide a way to engage with potential customers means failing to secure their business.
Why Is UX an Important Issue for Businesses to Consider?
Businesses have several reasons to take user experience and conversational commerce seriously:
Almost nine-in-10 consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience, while more than one-third will stop engaging if the content or layout are unattractive.
When shoppers have formed an emotional connection with a brand through good experiences, many will spend twice as much with those brands.
Almost two-thirds of shoppers prefer to choose brands that offer convenient communications like chat.
Unfortunately, only 22% of consumers are happy with the level of personalization they receive from brands.
At its simplest, good design is good customer service is good business. Just as our earlier ideal corner store will make it easy for customers to move around and find what they want, so should the online replica.
Challenges Around User Experience and CX
What are some common user and customer experience issues, and how can conversational commerce help? At the heart of it, user experience is about making your online presence as easy to use as possible:
Can customers reach your business? Do you engage with customers on the channels they use?
Once customers have reached you, do you make it as easy as possible to communicate with you?
Do you really engage with them? Do you try to learn as much as possible about them to provide a tailored, personalized experience?
Conversational Commerce and User Experience
If you're already familiar with conversational commerce, you'll immediately see how it helps with user experience. After all, the idea behind it is simple: You aren't talking at the customer; you're conversing with them. The avenues your business uses should allow as many people as possible to engage, whatever their personal circumstances:
Engage customers on the channels they already feel comfortable using. Not having to leave a chat or platform simplifies an exchange. Plus, when consumers can complete purchases in-channel — like within their messaging apps — it can improve satisfaction rates.
Provide a personalized experience. Make the most of every customer interaction by leveraging data about their preferences, behavior, and opinions collected through direct engagement with your brand. This not only allows you to offer personalized recommendations and address real-time concerns, but you can do it with a personal touch, making sure your proposed solution is suitable for each customer.
Facilitate self-service: Not every person is always interested in having a conversation, so they may prefer to use self-service tools. Chatbots and a simple automated decision tree can help users get the information they need to navigate their own resolutions.
Best Practices When Engaging Customers With Conversational Commerce
The trick is to think like a customer and look for friction points that cause real problems. Instead of accidentally creating communication dead ends in your processes, think about what communication options a customer should have. How can you help move them along? This applies to the channels you offer and the communications formats you make available.
Naturally, customers themselves can be a great source of data and insight when it comes to boosting customer engagement. You can consider a well-timed survey or measure a form of conversational commerce itself. Also, don't be afraid to ask your ground-level people for their input. The people who spend the most time with customers understand their pain points better than anyone.
Don't Go Piecemeal
A solution that makes conversations possible with the greatest number of customers will smoothly integrate with a broad number of your processes. In that regard, a connected approach — with tools that work seamlessly with your existing way of doing things — tends to work a lot better than going problem by problem. Look for a tool that gives you flexibility, not a hard-defined solution for a single issue.
Now that you've learned a little bit about the intersection of user experience and conversational commerce, talk with one of our experts to see how we can help you build out an experience for everyone and integrate powerful communications tools directly with the systems your employees and customers rely on.