Globally, Retail Sector Just Got an AI Load


Artificial intelligence is the new CRM experts, of reports are to be believed. Bots are taking over the challenging task of keeping customers happy, in the retail sector worldwide. Going beyond just a satisfied customer base, they are also helping add to the bottom lines. Reports say that a successful bot that handles customers, could contribute up to an 8.6 per cent increase in profit margin per customer.

With customer delivery becoming a focus for most in the industry, every strategy for decision makers will be focused on the use of emerging and newer technologies for better experiences and hence higher profits. The bot hype of a few years ago didn’t quite live up to the industry’s expectations for various reasons, but the new breed is not going to repeat any of those mistakes. Technology for bots has evolved to include much better communication skills and customer service delivery, and some brands have benefited immensely form this changing environment. Amazon is the best case in point. Researches by industry analysts, Ryan Strategic Advisory, has sown that almost 25 per cent of all buyers across the U.S., the U.K., Canada, and Australia were deploying bots in the first two quarters of 2018. And industry experts believe that Amazon seems to have set the benchmark for AI led customer service excellence.

Analysts also believe that this scenario could have arrived sooner if enterprises had realised the limitations of the technology before putting it in the high expectations mode. But now the wrinkles seem to have ben smoothened and a lot of challenges that slowed this adoption have been successfully mitigated, making AI a very realistic and strong tool for better market reach and customer facing processes.

The biggest advantage bots have over human interaction with customers is the much shorter first response time, sometimes cut by 70-90%, followed by almost 50% reduction in time to handle and resolve a query.

An indirect impact is that outsourced call centre and BPO operations are starting to shrink, especially those in low cost countries like India or Philippines – workforce is being reduced between 10 to 30% in these setups. This does not directly mean cutting human resources, since human experts are still required to curate these AI tools and provide constant feedback, so the bots become smarter.

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