Beyond Chatbots: Revolutionizing Retail CRM with Human-Centric Live Chat

Discover the game-changing impact of having live chat capabilities baked-in to your CRM. Personalize customer interactions, build trust, and elevate the entire shopping experience from browse to buy and back again.

Neon light in the shape of a conversation bubble

Can you go anywhere on the internet without having a chatbot pop up to help you on a website these days? They seem like they’re everywhere, and that’s not wrong. According to Juniper Research (via Insider Intelligence), the chatbot market worldwide in 2024 is expected to reach $142 billion, about 50 times the size in 2019. The technology to implement chatbots has become plug-and-play, and if you have a website, it’s cheap and easy to add a chatbot.

But while they may be ubiquitous, what’s the actual usage by visiting humans? Not so great, it turns out.

According to a Gartner study, “only 8% of customers used a chatbot during their most recent customer service experience.” And of those, only a quarter said that they would use that chatbot again. Ouch. While it’s easy to implement a chatbot, having them be useful enough for your retail audience is turning out to be quite the challenge.

Why Chatbots Fail Retailers

The original chatbots, of just a few years ago, were not very intelligent. They were, and many still are, just a glorified FAQ section that can speak mildly good English (or your localized language). This means that they can only answer the most basic customer questions. But the problem is that humans really only need to converse when there are difficult questions that they can’t look up in a static FAQ help page. Questions like billing disputes, account changes, and troubleshooting.

Of course, the tech solution for higher chatbot adoption is generative AI… supposedly. With the dawn of ChatGPT among other AI tools, chatbots are supposed to be smarter, better, and simply more human. And in fact, recent research shows that “67% of ChatGPT users feel understood by the bot often or always, versus 25% of traditional chatbot users.”

67% of ChatGPT users feel understood by the bot often or always

That’s truly promising. However, take that 67% statistic into consideration and apply that success rate to, say, your very human customer support team. If they had a success rate of 67%, would you consider this team to be providing excellent customer support? Probably not. In fact, you’d probably want to put them on a performance improvement plan!

AI-powered chatbots will continue to improve. However, there is nothing worse for customers than a bad first impression. That’s why for today’s retail brand who are concerned about Q1 of 2024, and not the hazy future of tech, these chatbots still need something more.

Why Your CRM Still Needs a Live Chat with a Human

The future of chatbots is cool and all, but right now 55% of retail chatbot users “don’t trust bots to resolve their issues.” What’s more, a significant 77% of customers believe that positive customer experiences are closely tied to human interactions. They prefer speaking to real people rather than navigating through automated responses. In a digital world where personal connection can often feel lost, the human touch in customer support becomes a critical differentiator for brands.

After all, the essence of a successful online retail experience mirrors that of a physical store – where a knowledgeable and attentive sales representative enhances the shopping experience. Live chat in your retail CRM plays a similar role, offering a clienteling experience akin to an in-store visit. It provides shoppers with a personalized and attentive service. When a customer initiates a chat, they may first be greeted by a bot, but eventually they should be helped by a real person who understands their needs and preferences. This replication of an in-store experience, where the sales representative knows both the products and the customer, is invaluable. It transforms a simple transaction into a personalized shopping journey.

Integrating live chat with a retail CRM system opens up a realm of possibilities for virtual clienteling. Retail brands can harness their CRM data to not only offer accurate support but also to make personalized product suggestions. Currently, “only about 9% bought a product because a retail business’s chatbot suggested it.” But a human sales person can make the right recommendations to actually move the sales needle for your business.

This approach is a game-changer. When a customer engages in a live chat, the representative, armed with the customer's purchase history and preferences, can provide tailored advice and recommendations. This level of personalization can significantly enhance the customer's shopping experience, making them feel valued and understood. It's about providing a service that's not just responsive but also proactive, anticipating the customer's needs even before they articulate them.

6 Reasons Why Your CRM Should Have a Human Live Chat
  1. Two-way conversations and attentive service
  2. Personalized product suggestions
  3. Enhanced end-to-end customer shopping experience
  4. Flexible, creative, and empathetic responses
  5. Reduced returns
  6. Boosted consumer trust

Furthermore, the flexibility, innovation, and empathy that human sales teams offer through live chat are unparalleled by chatbots. While automated responses are efficient, they lack the nuance and adaptability of human interaction. Sales representatives can read between the lines, understand the context, and provide empathetic responses that resonate with the customer's individual situation. This human element can be particularly crucial in resolving complex queries or handling sensitive issues, where a scripted bot response could fail to satisfy the customer. In essence, live chat enables a level of support that's as flexible and diverse as the customers it serves.

Finally, the strategic implementation of live chat in retail CRM systems can have tangible benefits in reducing product returns and enhancing customer loyalty. When customers are well-informed and receive personalized advice, they're more likely to purchase products that truly meet their needs, thereby minimizing the likelihood of returns. This tailored approach, where customers feel heard and valued, fosters a positive experience, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

It's not just about solving problems; it's about creating an engaging, supportive, and memorable shopping experience that customers want to return to. All this is why at Endear, we’ve created something more than just a chatbot, but a live SalesChat tool that exists right inside the CRM. Instead of just a passive bot to answer easy questions, our SalesChat connects your expert sales reps with online shoppers in real time, in the way they want to be helped. Instead of being intrusive, SalesChat is designed to be like providing an in-person white-glove service, just on your ecommerce platform.

Discover why Endear is the industry's favorite CRM with a live chat built right in