3. Trust in AI to do the heavy lifting for you
In 2023, trust in AI is skyrocketing: According to our market research, 92% of business leaders say that their trust in AI has increased over the past year, and 88% say that their customers’ attitudes towards AI and automation have improved. One of the main ways in which AI is helping ecommerce businesses weather the recession is by improving efficiency:
- Chat automation is helping businesses deflect easy, FAQ-style issues, helping support teams stay cool even when volumes suddenly or permanently rise. You can expect it to fully handle half of your most common requests, like damaged items claims. It’s also a great way to reduce cart abandonment rates, payment issues or problems with subscriptions thanks to 24/7 availability and instant answers that virtual agents can provide.
- Process automation, like automated email triage or ticket routing, helps keep backlogs at bay. For expondo, the leading marketplace for professional equipment in Europe, ticket automation reduced average handling time by 3 minutes per ticket.
- Finally, the success of conversational AI tools like ChatGPT is reducing the transactional, robotic reputation that chatbots have had for too long – making it easier than ever to warm ecommerce customers up to customer support automation.
4. Break down silos between your teams
Ecommerce businesses need to work as efficiently as possible right now, and silos are a blocker to that. This is particularly true when looking at the relationship between your support department, which is typically viewed as a cost center, and your sales department, typically viewed as a revenue generator. Breaking down silos and leveraging your contact center’s natural touchpoints with customers will ensure more profitability.
- Get your support agents in on the sales journey: Not only is your support team sitting on a treasure trove of customer preferences, chances are they also know your products very well. Use that to your advantage and get them selling and suggesting products. For example, when customers want to return an item, support agents could suggest similar products or upgrades instead of just processing a refund.
- Reduce operational silos with a headless automation platform that can manage and optimize all of your customer interactions in one place.
5. Retain your talent
Top talent is costly, but agent churn is costlier: Agent turnover can cost companies almost $15K per rep. In the current climate, retaining staff is just as important as retaining customers. The best way to do this?
- Take CX strategy seriously: In a Gartner study, 90% of organizations reported that they had a Chief Experience Officer or Chief Customer Officer. With a CX strategist and/or Digital Customer Experience Manager, you can make sure that your support team is hired appropriately and doesn’t become so burnt out by unexpected support volume spikes that your agents begin to churn.
- Upskill in-house instead of hiring externally: Upskilling your existing support staff toward more strategic roles means that you are bringing their knowledge of your product and customer base into your automation strategy. It's a great way to boost employee morale while reducing churn risk.
Customer service best practices in 2023: Cutting out the nonsense and focusing on what works
Sometimes, scarcity forces us to be more creative, innovative, and, yes, profitable, than we ever thought possible. 2023 is going to be a tough year for ecommerce, but businesses that are willing to make the most out of what they already have – including their existing customer base and support teams – are going to thrive, even in uncertain times.
And with ChatGPT ringing in a new era of efficient, accessible AI, automation will provide the missing ingredient you need to save money and handle growing support volumes without alienating customers or burning out your support team.