A few years ago, when the chatbots started to appear, it was a hand on the wheel to press options 1, 2 or 3 to get the service we needed. Nowadays, no one can stand going through this process to resolve a simple question.
Technology is advancing very quickly and the market needs to move at the same pace. Now that digital is especially in evidence, this advance has accelerated even more. E-commerce felt the impact: in 2020 the registered growth was 73%, according to the MCC-ENET index, developed by the Metrics Committee of the Brazilian Chamber of Digital Economy in partnership with Neotrust. There were more than 80 billion purchases using e-commerce in the last 12 months and the forecast for 2021 is to invoice R$ 110 billion.
While this is great for retail, which has taken refuge from the digital media pandemic, it also means that some changes are urgent. One of the main ones is the service.
What do consumers expect in e-commerce service? How does this differ from your expectations in physical stores? These are basic questions to guide the analysis of what is available to the customer on the website. The answers are quite simple: customers expect speed and efficiency, and personalized contact continues to be appreciated, even without human interaction.
That’s where virtual assistants come in as an evolution of chatbot. It’s still about chats, technically, but with an artificial intelligence that makes a lot of difference. Now we have techniques for machine learning that allow the tool itself to teach and improve. And this is not figurative: the advanced models, used by large companies, analyze the user’s reaction all the time, individually, to gather information in the database and understand how to better serve the company’s audience.
These technologies are more expensive, but they are not the only ones that offer the expected service through Artificial Intelligence (AI). Even without machine learning, it is possible to use ready-made libraries of interpretations. Google itself has one that allows the machine to interpret the consumer’s sentiment and intent in each written sentence.
In other words, there are cutting-edge AIs operating millions of simultaneous services and there are also ready-made solutions for any business. Both are possible for two reasons: we know what the public’s needs are most of the time, and we’ve evolved enormously in data collection.
In any e-commerce, most of the services follow a pattern of request by the customer. These are questions about delivery, payment, store policies, discounts and the like. There are many, but they can be listed once and the AI will know what to do going forward.
Which brings us to the other point, which is data. You can’t even compare how much data we can store and process now compared to ten years ago, for example. The technological capacity of current equipment already operates with trillions of information going from one side to the other — whether about customers or about the company itself. The processing of all this allows the formulation of an intuitive tool that presents the public exactly what it wants: agility, efficiency and customization.
In the end, the customer wants the same service in any situation, from the big bank to the local retail. He will prioritize those who deliver the best experience possible. In e-commerce, you just can’t be the best without virtual assistants.
André Palis, a columnist for TecMundo, used to work at Google before becoming an entrepreneur. He founded Raccoon in 2013, in São Carlos, an important technology hub in the State of São Paulo, and in 8 years acquired the portfolio of major market players, such as Vivara, Natura, Leroy Merlin and Nubank. In 2013, he noticed a gap in the digital market, resigned from Google and, together with Marco Túlio Kehdi, founded Raccoon, a full service agency that acts as a strategic partner in the entire digital chain. In 2021, Raccoon underwent a merger process and is now part of the global holding company S4 Capital.