Swedish multinational clothing-retail company H&M has the following description for the position of ‘Sales Advisor’ in the firm.
Sales Advisor is one of our most important positions [at H&M] and a great way to start your career with us. It’s all about excellent customer service.
Sales Advisors are responsible for a variety of client-side duties, like interacting with potential customers to gauge paint points, offer guidance, identify products and assist in purchase making decisions, while handling customer queries and complaints in a manner that is professional, and prompt.
For this, they are required to constantly maintain an in-depth trove of knowledge, of the company, industry and their competitors, in order to provide customers with information that is both factual and persuasive.
The value of a sales advisor to your company cannot be understated.
The Death of the Modern Sales Advisor
In a ten year period from September of 2007, to September of 2017, E-Commerce Sales in the U.S. increased 300%, ten times faster than in-store retail in the same period. McKinsey reports that there’s no slowing down and estimates, in fact, that online sales will double by 2020 from their current position.
The pace of this online growth has pulled the floor from under the feet of most companies. In 2017 alone, over 21 retail giants filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
That’s almost one every two weeks.
Katrina Lake is the worlds youngest female CEO to have led a company to an IPO, and she saw this writing on the wall.
She built StitchFix, now valued at $2 billion by taking advantage of the sales gap that existed online because of the lack of experiential, tailormade services provided through e-commerce. StitchFix aims to provide every customer with a “personal stylist”. The site is powered by over 3000 stylists who work with the company and a back catalog of algorithms deployed in nearly every function of the company; merchandise, inventory, marketing, forecasting & demand, operations and, of course, the styling platform.
Now, of course, every firm can’t have the technological resources of a billion-dollar company at their disposal, but the overarching point remains – Lost in this transition from retail to digital, is the loss of tangible customer data that sales advisors used to specialize in.
Websites can’t tell how you how your customers are feeling, they can’t identify the thought process about why you bailed on that purchase, they can’t handle grievances as they happen and often alienate an entire generation of non-technology friendly users because of a complicated user interface.
Enter, conversational automation.
Twenty-five years from now, no one will be clicking on drop-down menus, but everyone will still be pointing at maps and correcting each other’s sentences. It’s fundamental. Good information software reflects how humans, not computers, deal with information. ”
Bret Victor, Magic Ink
You’ve probably comes across some variation of conversational automation in your life. Maybe it’s that bot that helped you book a table for dinner last night, or that intelligent personal assistant in your life which changed the music while you were in the kitchen.
The advantage of conversational UIs is that there is no learning curve; People already know how to talk. A well-designed user interface is intuitive — commands don’t have to be taught, unlike the meaning of a button in a visual interface or the keys on a touch-tone phone system.
Intelligent Personal Assistants like Alexa and Google Home are climbing up the charts and up into peoples homes, destroying advertising as we know it. Amazon is the unquestioned leader in the world of conversational marketing, selling over 15 million units of the Alexa powered ‘Echo’, good for 75% of the U.S. market share.
The guns of development however, are trained on Chatbots. 2017 was the year of Chatbots, as we saw thousands of companies adopt this technological advancement. American research and advisory firm Gartner estimates that by 2020, over 85% of all customer interactions will take place without a human hand.
Unlike traditional digital analytics, conversations are not simply a tabulation of people who accessed your bot, or a drab breakdown of the data.
Because bots divide each part of the sales funnel into individual messages, Conversational Automation Analytics can measure how much time each user spends on each message, what call to actions they respond to, what their attention span for certain forms of media are, and heat maps to track which part of certain cause “friction” to the sales process.
The inherently unique proposition about Chatbots is that it is truly the pinnacle of data driven marketing, while subsequently being more of a humane experience for the end user.
I’m a huge fan of data-driven marketing and have seen open rates exceed 80% or higher with an engaged audience. So, if you send 1,000 messages via your chatbot tool, chances are high that at least 800 people will see your message. Those rates are far superior to email open rates, making this a unique channel not to ignore.
Michael Tasner, the CEO of No Joke Marketing
This stream of new insights opens the door for a new dimension of business intelligence (BI), with troves of data that provide actionable insights and positions your business to make wise, data-backed decisions. Below, we’ve identified twelve different insights you can derive from Conversational Automation Analytics.
- Track Customer Engagement
- Identify ideal Re-engagement times.
- Understand User Behavior
- Dive into retention, distinguish between retained, engaged and churned customers.
- Visualise interaction flow
- Explore chat conversations with transcripts
- Analyze retention with Cohort reports
- Use Funnels to drive conversions
- Sift through customer conversations, by engagement
- Monitor real time media rich conversations.
- Track user profile growth
- Single out conversational bottlenecks.
Funneling them in
- Set-up event trackings to define how frequent an event happens.
- Find out your completed funnel rates
- Set goals within your outgoing and incoming messages
- Analyze what triggers your users for a specific event type