India has just witnessed two of the biggest annual online festive season sales from e-commerce majors Flipkart and Amazon i.e., The Big Billion Day and The Great Indian Shopping Festival respectively. Despite the woes of a global economic slowdown, both the players claimed that their sales eventbroke all the previous sales records. Going by the review of this year’s sale, the Indian version of Black Friday has grown five-fold to USD 3 billion within a short span of four years, according to the consulting firm RedSeer. If we further add the projected spending between now and Diwali, Forrester Research suggests that the total for a month of online purchases could be close to USD 5 billion.
Given that these two companies command more than half of India’s multi-billion-dollar e-commerce market, the short-term order spike (during festive season) for them can safely be considered as proxy trend for the entire industry. If only we could add the offline festive sale (precise numbers are hard to guess), the sales value would be unimaginable. However, the increased number of orders also means that the sellers are expecting a major increase in terms of real time communication with consumers- consider change in order, delivery timing, complaints, replacement, refunds, feedback and much more.
While it may be impossible to add the appropriate workforce overnight, technology is coming for rescue and reinventing the way sellers look at customer care for retail transactions. Based on artificial intelligence, data analytics, and machine learning, sellers can leverage WhatsApp Business based customized solutions to automate their customer care function. These automated WhatsApp chats reflect the behavior of a trained customer care executive. Therefore, when the peak festive season takes effect, mundane and templated conversations such as refund delays, delivery rescheduling etc. can be routed to the automated platform for quick resolution. Only the complicated queries regarding quality issues, grievance, and other things that require manual intervention, can be passed on to the customer care team. The platform can be further customized to suit not only the e-commerce companies but almost any business, such as tour and travel, fashion, essential services, where multiple consumer interactions are expected.
This smart, automated allocation not only saves onto operating cost but also expedites the service cycle. Consumers feel more valued when their queries can be addressed in time. Using WhatsApp as a platform has additional advantages, as most consumers across the country are extremely familiar with it and can use it easily. They can use a single chat window for their long-term communication with the brand.The embedded machine learning features also mean that the system can pick up cues from conversations, identifies patterns and become smarter over a period of time. This means that the overall experience continues to improve gradually, and more advanced queries can be passed on to the automated system.
The entire value proposition of a competitive seller brand revolves around a personalized, seamless, and on-demand experience. Therefore, their customer care function should also be based on the same principles. As data driven systems have more sophisticated cognitive abilities, there is a major opportunity to transform the customer care function. Many brands have already started leveraging WhatsApp automation and their success stories will inspire many others to follow the suit.
-- Dr. Rashi Gupta, Chief Data Scientist, and Co-founder, Rezo.ai
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Deccan Chronicle and/or other staff and contributors to this site....