Mid-sized American online retailing brands, locked in cut-throat competition with the likes of Amazon and Walmart, are increasingly deploying chatbots, but a large majority of them are nowhere near to taking full advantage of the technology.
Barely 8% of stores are using live chats correctly, according to a study by Customer service provider Simplr.
As many as 320 stores, out of 500 brands surveyed, appeared to have on-site chat capabilities on their website. But they do not have enough human agents required to take over the calls that bots redirect.
Some companies took nearly two days to reply to emails that were redirected to humans by chatbots. Ironically, the emails sent to the store directly were resolved far more quickly than the emails redirected from chat, the report noted.
Stores need to have human agents on standby to take over the calls from the bots when a customer poses specific questions. Only 36 stores (7.2%) had human agents capable of responding to queries within 5 minutes, the report added.
Failing to respond to queries in a short period of time leads to a decrease in sales, say, analysts.
“Most people don’t even like waiting for an Uber for more than five minutes, can you imagine how many people are going to sit around waiting for a store to respond?” the report wondered.
Live chat is the preferred channel for millennials, analysts argue, citing a past study by the American Marketing Association, which found that customers that engage via live chat are three times more likely to make a sale.