If you missed our last weekly roundup, go have a butchers over here. If not, come and let’s have a look at what’s going on, eh? This week we are having a punch at:
– How AI can change customer service.
– Why video is SO important.
– Where you are STILL going wrong with your UX.
– What you can do when things are out of your control.
– How content shock killed the king.
AI is Here to Steal Your Customer Service Jobs
Want to know a ridiculous fact about an amount of money you can’t even fathom? Yes? Well, here you go:
According to Accenture businesses lose $1.6trillion a year due to poor customer service. In the U.S. alone. All that money, simply because people can be a bit unreliable, have off-days, or aren’t adequately equipped to deal with the complaint. So what’s the solution? Well, as is increasingly the case, robots.
Ben Davis at eConsultancy thinks there are a few solutions that we as marketers and eCommerce store owners should be pursuing.
Multiple Choice Chatbots
Simply a well considered form, the multiple choice chat bots will remove the clunky form options from the page and keep them to the side should you need them. The user will check the relevant boxes and find themselves redirected to the information they need. Easy. Though, of course, this has its limitations and the irate customer isn’t going to be happy that they can’t speak to someone directly (I’m looking at you Facebook advertising support). Which leads us onto…
This ‘cyborg model’ employs a robot to suggest answers to customer queries whilst a human moderates the answer. This may seem like a round-about way of dealing with customer service, but according to messaging and bot-platform LivePerson, this approach increases efficiency by 30-35%. Bots that are asked a question can be set to respond when their confidence level in their own answer is above a certain threshold. Below that confidence level a human agent will come in to answer the question directly. Neat, but not entirely efficient.
The holy grail of programming, this would be the point at which robots could fully control the customer service process. However, Ben Davis is unsure whether this will ever be a genuine option:
Due to the current limitations of natural language processing, it’s unclear when this might be possible and indeed if an automated experience lacking empathy could ever provide the customer satisfaction a human agent can.
Though home and personal assistants such as Alexa are currently very sophisticated, error rates would be way too high if such systems were implemented on the front line of customer service, particularly over the phone.
So the dream may be dead, though I personally hold higher hopes for AI. The simple fact is that with eighty-three percent of US consumers prefer dealing with human beings, you’re not going to be able to satisfy all the people all the time. My advice for eCommerce businesses: trial your options with A/B tests and see what gets the best response.
How To Optimise Checkouts You Don’t Control
As we have discussed at length in both our eCommerce UX design guide and our guide to optimising the checkout process, reducing anxiety and friction are of paramount importance to increasing conversions. But what can you do when you don’t control the checkout process? A recent article from Daniel Burstein at the Marketing Experiments Blog explored this possibility.
Focusing on the marketing for the University of Florida’s April 1st enrolment of their communicating value and web conversion program, Daniel rather ironically discovered that there were issues with the checkout process that they couldn’t do anything about, because it was part of the University of Florida’s application.
Simply put, this course is different to other university applications; where around 46% of applicants are accepted onto general university courses, this graduate programme would be accepting practically anyone who applied. However, they still had to go through the same application process as other students due to the university’s protocols.
The solution? Adding the application form inside an iFrame on their own website. This gave them the option to add content and design elements that would reduce friction and minimise buyer’s anxiety. Smart move.
This is only a small overview of the story and I highly recommend that you check out the full article here.
How to Combat Content Shock
Content marketing was all the rage, wasn’t it? Everyone was banging on about it. “Content is King” was plastered across all those annoying Facebook guru’s posts, everyone was waxing lyrical about how more content, bigger content, longer content was better, and Neil Patel rose from the depths to bombard the world with marketing jargon and doublespeak.
But now the world is stuffed to the gills with the stuff. Stuff that no-one possibly has the time to read. The world is in content shock. Sick.
*The horror sets in, slowly rising through your skin.*
Before you start building shrines to new marketing idols, take a deep breath and follow these steps to combat content shock:
Help Your Customer
A lot of content pouring from every orifice of the internet machine was created as a deluge. A great flood to overwhelm the competition and the consumer. This is no good.
Refocus your content marketing efforts by asking yourself: what is my customer seeking to do, and how can we help them do this.
You can achieve this by creating considered buyers’ journeys and client personas; developing an understanding of just who your customers are, how they find you, why they need you at each step of the buying process. You should then use this information to build a content plan that will help customers at each stage of this journey. Simple. For more information on creating client personas, read our digital marketing strategy guide for 2017 here. Additionally you can read our blog on understanding buying cycles for eCommerce business here.
Give Your Customer a Pay-Off
You need to be aware of the fact that by helping customers along their buying journey, you aren’t necessarily helping them along your buying journey. They might simply be using you to inform their purchase from another company. Therefore you need to use this brief time you have together to give your customer a real immediate benefit.
Now, immediately you are thinking about offering a discount aren’t you? Silly billy. We’re not talking about discounts. They’re not always the solution. An immediate benefit could be a feeling of happiness or warmth, a droplet of knowledge they’ve learnt. It could make them laugh.
In his article for Econsultancy, Jeff Rajeck suggests the following social utilities that you can invoke:
Shared passions – I would share this content because it gives me the opportunity to connect with friends about a shared passion or interest.
Social Utility – I would share this content because the product/service could be useful to my friends.
Reaction Seeking – I would share this video to start an online conversation.
Zeitgeist – I would share this content because it is about a current trend or event (and I will look knowledgeable).
By plugging these ideas into your brand message you can create a content that not only helps the customer to purchase, but does so in a way that’s memorable and impactful.
For more on combatting content shock, take a look at the full article here.
Digital Video is Bigger Than Smartphones
Yeah, you read it right. More people are watching videos on the internet than are using smartphones. Seems absurd, doesn’t it? Well, if the stats from eMarketer are right, it is absurd but true.
Estimating that 43.2 million people in the UK will watch a video via any device (tablet, mobile, laptop, desktop, smart TV) at least once a month, they suggest that 65.1% of the UK watch digital videos compared to 64.3% who use smart phones.
This growing trend is due to the fact that children 11 and younger, and adults over the age of 55 are consuming more media, whilst they themselves are less likely to own a smartphone. The results of the study also show that tablet and smart TV based viewing is set to increase whilst PC-based consumption is set to further fall. And whilst a lot of the video content is viewed on streaming services such as iPlayer and Netflix, the vast majority of short form video viewing is still taking place on YouTube – a perfect spot for marketers to get their message across. Additionally, Facebook are encouraging video uploads and autoplaying adverts under 30 seconds in length in the newsfeed.
If we didn’t stress it enough in our article on 2017’s digital marketing trends, you need to be creating and using video. Big time.
Why Kohl is Winning at UX
The Baymard Institute have completed another one of their incredible, in-depth studies on 19 leading eCommerce websites, benchmarked against a further 50 online stores. The results?
Homepage and category user experience has increased in terms of performance by 39%, according to their in-house criteria. More on that here.
However, 54% of eCommerce websites suffer from over-categorisation, impeding the users’ ability to effectively navigate product pages.
In addition, 22% of the major eCommerce websites examined are failing to use ‘intermediary category pages’. (i.e., pages that are not a particularly important category unto themselves, but contain useful categories.) These dramatically help users navigate to the product pages they are seeking.
Without going into the remarkable detail that Baymard do, the key take aways from their case study are as follows:
– It’s all-important to have compatibility-based product lists. (These are lists of products that are compatible; batteries and electronics for instance.)
– Avoid over-categorisation like the plague. Give users more options and allow them to filter by tags. Easy.
– Promote popular filters. If users are often searching for Nike Running Shoes within the shoes category, don’t be tempted to categorise. Instead keep these as filters, but promote them as if they are categories.
– Homepage ‘deal paths’ – paths that lead to sales – are a good way to funnel a user to your products. However, many may mistake the options available at the end of this path to be all the products you stock. It is suggested that you link to: category pages with sales highlighted, or alternatively link to a product page which has been filtered by ‘sale’.
– Make sure any groupings in your drop down menus are clickable and lead to the correct path. Don’t just shove lists of products there.
– Use your intermediary category pages to promote content which can otherwise be difficult to feature prominently. Display articles, links, suggestions and, of course, further categories.
– On your intermediary pages, make sure you display a wide range of categorisations, not simply the closest relatives to the page the user is on. This will help navigation and encourage further click-through.
For more information, visit the Baymard website here.