Is technology a friend or a foe? That’s what a lot of workers are asking these days. Some people fear the push towards automation will kill jobs. Meanwhile, others are hopeful it will increase productivity, reduce costs for consumers and transform the job market (without killing it).

The truth likely lies somewhere in the middle of the debate; and is admittedly dependent upon the industries in which people are working. That being said, one industry is very excited about technological advances in artificial intelligence – ecommerce.

Virtual shopping has already surpassed brick-and-mortar retail, with over half of all sales occurring online. But while physical retailers are reimagining how to recapture customer interest, e-stores are faced with their own challenges. One of which is figuring out how to deliver the best customer service.

Below we will discuss how AI is transforming ecommerce customer service and whether or not chatbots will replace human customer service representatives.

Are These The Bots You Are Looking for?

One of the benefits of ecommerce is e-stores are open 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Consumers can make a quick purchase during their lunch break or at midnight after a few hours of searching. But this presents problems too. If a midnight shopper has a question about a product, who will be there to answer their query? Sure, a human representative might be able to reach out via email, but it might be too late by then. The shopper may have already purchased their wares from a competitor.

This is where AI chatbots come in handy. Instead of all questions requiring the input of a flesh-and-blood service rep, the question can be answered by a chatbot. This is easier than you think. After all, most questions are relatively simple to answer. The trend is picking up steam in the ecommerce industry, so it couldn’t hurt to consider AI add-ons during your enterprise ecommerce solutions comparison shopping.

Here are a few examples of common questions:

Sizing Questions

  • Customer – Does the jacket coming in any other sizes?
  • AI Chatbot – Here is the sizing guide for the jacket. We currently have small, medium and large sizes in stock.

Shipping Questions

  • Customer – How quickly can I expect delivery?
  • AI Chatbot – All orders ship within three to five days by default. Although we have two-day and overnight shipping options, if you’d prefer.

Sale Questions

  • Customer – Do you have any deals right now?
  • AI Chatbot – I can send you a coupon code if you sign up for our email subscription service.

Troubleshooting Questions

  • Customer – I can’t seem to complete my order. Can you help me?
  • Chatbot – Here is our FAQ page. I have notified out customer sales representative to assist you if you continue to have troubles.

As you can see, this is a huge benefit for consumers looking for quick answers – especially when human reps are offline. While the chatbot cannot answer every question, it can field simple queries with minimal direction for human users. It can also be programmed to filter requests and ping living individuals for more complicated requests.

In this way, technology plays the role of the sidekick, rather than a replacement for homo-sapien workers. Consequently, human employees are afforded more time to focus on complex issues, rather than run-of-the-mill customer requests.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you can cut customer service reps entirely. You’ll still need a human voice to talk to customers and reassure them they are your top priority. Remember, this technology is a tool, rather than a replacement for good customer service.