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What are the components of a successful e-commerce customer support system?

Whether it is a large marketplace or a small business that offers its own products to its customers, companies of all sizes with e-commerce on their agenda in the last 5 years are interested in automating their customer support system through conversational AI all over the world. In line with their strength and appetite for technology investment, companies may choose to use broad and comprehensive AI systems or limited ones that answer specific questions. But it’s a fact that a lot of e-commerce companies these days include AI-based customer support systems among their plans. So what features should we expect from a successful AI-based e-commerce customer support system that really creates value?


The future of retail is conversational commerce 

This market situation we are talking about has become much more evident after the pandemic. With the customer’s demand for digital experience, companies are turning to AI-based chatbots and voicebots more strongly. In Gartner’s research “The 2021 Gartner CIO”, 83% of respondents say they expect an increase in the use of digital channels to reach customers, and 79% of them say they expect an increase in the use of self-service. Now is the time to speak louder about conversational commerce. The future of retail is definitely based on conversational commerce. This new concept will define the main mode of the retail and e-commerce sector from now on.

It is important to define the need correctly, to set out with the right model, and to determine the right partner / vendor so that companies can get their investments in return.

So what should we expect from an e-commerce customer support system that creates efficiency and provides a better customer experience?

According to Garnter, by 2025 about half of the knowledge workers  will use a virtual assistant (VA) on a daily basis, up from 5% in 2020; by 2024, 40% of enterprise applications will have embedded conversational AI, up from less than 5% in 2020.

Considering the retail and e-commerce space, let’s take a look at what kind of a customer service model can truly create efficiency and improve the customer experience.

1- Rebuilding the end-to-end shopping experience in the conversational space with an e-commerce chatbot or voicebot

Today, a chatbot or a voicebot can perform an end-to-end shopping experience with all its stages. What are these stages? Searching and finding a product, paying for it, buying it, getting after-sales support and answering questions at every stage. All this can be done with an e-commerce chatbot or a voicebot with the right competencies. However, for this, the AI-based customer support system must be integrated into the internal systems of the institution such as cargo systems, payment systems, and product search engines.

Some companies may prefer the chatbot or the voicebot to only answer public questions or provide after-sales support. This is also a perspective and an approach. Even in this limited area alone, too many customer calls of the e-commerce company can be answered automatically and significant efficiency can be created. For example, you can have a gradual approach. You can develop the capabilities of the system by starting with only this area first, and finally, you can implement an AI-based system that covers all processes from product search to payment step. On the other hand, if a chatbot or a voicebot links or redirects to another channel for many topics, this means that the experience leaves the conversational space and is interrupted for the customer. It would be a more rational approach to increase the competencies of the AI-based e-commerce customer support system by expanding the scope step by step.


2-Building an e-commerce customer support system using a pre-trained base

The industry-based experience of the company to be selected for an AI-based customer support system is important. If the company has created a chatbot or a voicebot in the e-commerce domain before and has experience, it means that it has a ready structure for most of the basic questions. No need to reinvent the wheel for you, it can implement your chatbot very quickly using its pre-built structure. Since the AI system already knows the answers to many questions, it will be enough to make some company-specific customizations. If the company you choose has the necessary tools and competences, it will complete it in a short period of time.

Having implemented an e-commerce customer support system, having realized a payment integration, being able to integrate a product search engine and make a product recommendation – all these mean that the company you choose takes its competencies one step further than the competitors thanks to its experience, and it will be an advantage for you.

3- Connecting your brand to your customers anywhere and anytime thanks to the e-commerce customer support system

It’s important to make your customer’s brand accessible  through multiple channels. Customers feel closer to the brand when they have a seamless experience without crossing channels and platforms. For example, while texting with a friend, a person might want to learn where his / her cargo is, and wants to reach the marketplace through the same platform, for example WhatsApp. For this person it will not be convenient to make searches on the website, to call a call center and wait in line at that moment. He / she wants to type or speak quickly and get the answer instantly. Here, a chatbot or a voicebot that you can integrate into your company’s website, mobile application, Whatsapp account, maybe Google Assistant and Facebook Messenger will make your brand ready to help everywhere. In fact, when you include the world’s most used messaging platform such as WhatsApp among your channels, your customers will reach you more easily and frequently. At least 50% of incoming calls will be converted to WhatsApp. This creates a significant productivity impact for your company, while your customers have the confidence of knowing that they can reach you at any time.


4- Providing a personalized experience to your customers with your customer support system 

Customers want to be recognized at every stage of their relationship with companies. Besides answering frequently asked questions, the customer support system’s ability to take your customer to the login field and serve from there by communicating with your company’s data system and making suggestions according to your customer’s preferences, makes a significant difference. For this, the company you will choose must have high integration competencies. Such a model not only gives you the opportunity to manage your operational costs better, but also allows you to increase your sales. Communicating with an e-commerce chatbot or a voicebot that knows him / her and really getting a solution increases customer loyalty to your brand.


5- Involving human-in-the-loop 

The e-commerce customer support system you will use may cover a limited area or offer a whole shopping experience. In any case, it is necessary to involve people in the loop. First of all, the e-commerce customer support system you will use should be based on an advanced AI infrastructure that allows you to understand and correctly answer your customers’ questions. The experience offered by an e-commerce chatbot or voicebot prepared through traditional software methods instead of natural language processing and machine learning technologies will already be very limited, and customers will be more likely to be left unanswered or misunderstood.

However, let’s consider a chatbot or a voicebot that is built through AI technologies, no matter how high its accuracy rate (the rate at which incoming questions are understood correctly) is, sometimes customers may want to ask a question outside the defined area or just need to chat with a human. For these situations, the chatbot or teh voicebot should be able to transfer your customer to a human agent without interruption. The client should not feel any interruption in this transmission, but should be transparently informed of who he or she is dealing with and continue the conversation with the human agent.

At this point, it is also critical that the company you choose offers you a live chat interface or can be integrated with the live chat system you are using. All research shows that models based on human-AI collaboration makes customers more satisfied and creates a more efficient customer service system. For this reason, involving human in the loop to help AI, completes the structure you have established.


6- Monitoring and improving the e-commerce customer support system to make it a living mechanism

The e-commerce support system is a living system from the moment it is used by your customer. It is very important to monitor it and see how many of your customers’ questions are answered, how many are not, and what kind of reactions you get from your customers, in order to improve your chatbot. 

Monitoring and reporting of the chatbot is an indispensable feature not only for its own performance, but also for creating your company’s overall channel strategy. With this monitoring and reporting, it is possible to build the right strategies and take actions. For example, when you notice that you do not cover an intent, you can add it to the scope of the chatbot or the voicebot, and you can make it respond to it by doing the necessary AI training. You can remove some topics from the scope and update the answers for some questions. In order to do all this, the company you choose must provide you with an analysis and reporting panel or tool.

Reporting needs depend on how deep you want to go, but it is very important for you that the company can deliver the reports you want or integrate it into the business analysis tool of your company and stream the data there. Another important point is that the company can offer you a tool to make updates to the chatbot or the voicebot. There are two options: You may want to do maintenance management through the platform the company provided you. The other option is that you might want the vendor to monitor the bot, notify you, and make the updates you want on your behalf. The company you choose should be flexible in this sense and be able to offer you options.


Would you like to have a chatbot that handles at least half of your customer calls? 

CBOT Platform has all the necessary tools and modules to build a comprehensive, powerful e-commerce chatbot. It also offers flexible options for the installation and maintenance operation of an e-commerce chatbot, considering that companies have different priorities. CBOT Platform provides all these with;

  • Main AI module CBOT CORE,
  • CBOT FUSION that enables to quickly create complex flows with internal integrations without the need for any coding,
  • CBOT ANALYTICS, the monitoring, analysis and reporting module,
  • live support module CBOT LIVE CHAT and
  • CBOT SPEECH that enables CBOT to be integrated into IVR systems with CBOT’s voice technology.

CBOT is a pioneer AI company for e-commerce customer support systems. Many companies, from large marketplaces to medium and small companies, rely on CBOT for e-commerce support systems. CBOT has implemented e-commerce support systems in many different models and with different components for these companies so far. Thus, it gained valuable experience.

CBOT launched e-commerce customer support systems that can handle 50% – 70% of the customer queries. For example, an e-commerce company that receives 100,000 calls per month and works with 35 representatives will have a very serious efficiency and cost optimization opportunity if 50% of these calls are resolved by a chatbot or a voicebot. While automating repetitive questions, it enables more effective positioning of human resources and creating more value for customers.

In addition, CBOT, as a WhatsApp Business Solution Provider (BSP), opens a WhatsApp account for your company very quickly and integrates it with its AI based e-commerce chatbot and live support system. Thus, you can establish a strong and effective customer support system based on a triple structure that includes chatbot, live support and WhatsApp Business for your company. It also supports you to increase your sales with the automation provided by AI by carrying the experience to the sales stage.

Please check out CBOT’s success stories in the e-commerce domain.