Access to personalized help through chat windows, chatbots, and other technology-based assistants is not a new concept. But the digital concierge services of today go further than ever before.
Basic customer service questions, complaints, opening support tickets, and other simple question-and-answer-based assistance have been provided through a digital concierge solution for years. But today, digital concierge services go way beyond basic customer service.
From conversational commerce software that connects shoppers to a remote concierge for personalized recommendations on products and services, to proactive support and streamlined troubleshooting solutions, digital concierge solutions are designed to provide customers with the most intuitive and comprehensive customer service experience possible - and they're only getting better!
As Ai (artificial intelligence), ML (machine learning), and NLP (natural language processing) solutions like GPT-4 get better at conversing with humans, so will the solutions and applications of a digital concierge. This means that customers can expect to receive more personalized, proactive support than ever before.
But this also presents a challenge.
Humans have been "connected" (having face-to-face conversations) for anywhere from thousands to millions of years (depending on who you ask), and the rapid adoption of technology, combined with world events like the COVID-19 pandemic means that people are feeling more isolated than ever despite the fact that we have more tools to connect us than at any other time in human history.
As a result, we've seen a shift in the way humans choose to interact with technology. PwC documented this shift in a recent study of online shoppers.
When asked, 82% of the group indicated a desire for "more human shopping experiences" - which is creating a massive opportunity for remote concierges globally.
Oddly enough, the concept of a concierge has its roots in Medieval times - when the concierge of a castle or manor would be responsible for assisting landowners in their day-to-day life. This role began to change as global travel became available to the masses through boats, trains, and airplanes, and people began to need directions in unfamiliar places.
As the roaring 20s created space for industrial development, and resources were needed from previously hard-to-reach places around the globe, the concierge became a trusted advisor to travelers who needed to navigate unfamiliar places with ease. Often multi-lingual, a concierge could advise adventurers, vacationers, and business professionals where to find the best restaurants, hotels, and other attractions.
With the rapid advancement of technology and the increased global complexity, the role of a concierge has changed yet again. Now, digital concierge services are being used to provide customers with personalized support, recommendations, and troubleshooting solutions while they shop online or use other web-based tools.
These digital assistants can be found in chat windows on websites and e-Commerce stores, as chatbots on mobile applications, and even integrated into voice assistance technology like Amazon's Alexa or IBM's Watson.
What is a digital concierge? Also known as a virtual concierge, a digital concierge system is an online platform that provides customers with access to help via 1:1 human connection or the power of technology.
Digital concierge services employ human experts or artificial intelligence, natural language processing (NLP), and machine learning to provide customers with personalized support in line with their individual needs. These services are usually available 24/7, ensuring customers never feel alone when looking for answers to their most pressing questions.
Through today's modern digital concierge systems, customers can instantly connect with a remote concierge who can provide them with help in understanding the product or service they’re interested in, suggest additional products that may be of interest to them, and more.
Remote concierge - sometimes also referred to as 'virtual concierge' is a person who offers customers support and assistance directly from a remote location. This means that the customer does not have to be physically present in order for them to receive help or advice.
The role of a remote concierge is simple - build relationships with customers, provide quality service, and ensure customer satisfaction.
Remote concierges are expected to give professional advice and be knowledgeable about their company's products and services, as well as current trends in the industry. They need to be proactive and able to think on their feet, anticipate customer needs before they arise, and have excellent problem-solving skills.
As a conversational commerce provider, we get this question a lot at Humankind, “will Ai and digital concierge solutions completely replace humans?” The answer is, "no." As long as there are humans on the planet, there will be a need for human connection.
This is because people crave meaningful and authentic experiences, something that chatbots can't provide. At Humankind, we believe in the power of both humans and technology - combining the best of both worlds to create truly unique customer experiences.
As the PwC study we mentioned above uncovered, humans will always seek personalized advice and desire to build relationships with trusted advisors. The adoption of Ai, digital concierge services, and other technology-driven solutions can amplify the effectiveness of the human touch - not replace it.
At Humankind, we're dedicated to helping brands create more meaningful connections with their customers through a hybrid model that allows 1:1 human connection through technology. As shoppers move from one platform to the next, they can stay connected with their remote concierge to create a truly personal customer experience.
As access to digital concierge solutions has become more affordable to online retailers, eCommerce stores have adopted the technology to separate their shopping experience from that of their competitors and create better shopping experiences for their customers.
Digital concierge services provide countless benefits to eCommerce stores, such as providing customers with personalized advice on “high-consideration” products and recommendations that meet their individual needs.
High-consideration products are items that require more research, thought, or personalization than the products we can buy through one-click solutions like Amazon.
CAC (Customer Acquisition Costs), CVRs (Conversion Rates), AOV (Average order value), LTV (Lifetime value), Repeat Purchase Rates, CL (Customer Loyalty) & NPS (Net-promotor scores), and CSAT (Customer satisfaction scores), are all metrics that online retailers manage to verify that they're creating a positive and profitable customer experience.
With the rise in CAC, online shopping experiences have become less profitable than in the early days of the internet. Twilio recently estimated that the average online retailer paid $125 or more to generate a first-time customer - meaning that retailers profiting less than $125 + overhead are losing money if their customer doesn't purchase additional products (upsells/ cross-sells) or make additional purchases (repeat purchase rates) to recoup the loss.
Where digital concierge software, especially conversational commerce tools like Humankind can have an impact on online retailers' bottom line is increasing all of these metrics. If a customer costs $100 dollars to acquire, but you upsell 10% more and have 27% higher CVRs, you can see a dramatic increase in customer LTVs.
To keep bounce rates low and repeat purchase rates high, it's imperative for online retailers to communicate with customers after they've left the online store - and the best way to do that is through SMS.
Humankind's conversational commerce platform empowers the concierge to continue the conversation with customers long after they leave your e-commerce store.
This means that customers not only have a truly personal shopping experience with a real person but they can also be targeted with personalized product recommendations and offers, depending on their purchase history or past interactions. This keeps customers engaged and increases the number of offers you can make without losing rapport.
With SMS compatibility, shoppers can drift between desktop, mobile, and SMS-based shopping experiences seamlessly. This allows them to have a unified shopping experience, no matter which platform they're using - and Humankind's conversational commerce platform uses the power of this connection with customers to increase CVRs by more than 27% on average.
One of the biggest benefits of digital concierge solutions is the one-to-many conversational model.
Customers like Taylormade Golf report that their virtual concierges can provide excellent customer experiences to more than 20 customers at a time. This dramatically saves on employee resources with no loss of customer satisfaction.
Beyond cost savings, digital concierge solutions also free up your staff to focus on more complex customer inquiries and provide resources for the sale of luxury and high-end products that are often the bread and butter of profitable online stores.
Digital concierge systems like Humankind also allow a concierge to place reminders and follow-ups to shoppers automatically.
For example, if Gathr Outdoors sells a roof-top tent to a Toyota Tacoma or Jeep Wrangler owner who's planning an Overlanding trip to The Badlands, they can reach out after the trip and get feedback on the product and reviews to help other customers make better purchase decisions, which increases customer feedback and satisfaction.
When customers are satisfied with their shopping experiences, they're more likely to buy again and recommend the store to friends and family - leading to higher LTVs'. As brand developers, we know this, but often feel powerless to increase our CSAT.
This is where a concierge can make all the difference. Since most customer satisfaction scores are based on the customer's experience with a product or service, providing customers with personalized attention from their concierge can help increase these scores.
The final benefit I want to cover in this article is promoting new products. This is something that Kickstarter, Indegogo, and entrepreneurs like, Steve Jobs and Elon Musk have all figured out.
Doing a "product launch" would allow them to front-load the capital-intensive process of creating and selling new products by pre-selling huge numbers of those products. This allowed founders to raise (potentially) astronomical amounts of money to build their respective products.
If you use Tesla's Cyber-Truck as an example, after the product launch, Tesla pre-sold 1.5 million Cyber Trucks at $100 a piece. This raised $150,000,000.00 for Tesla to build the factories necessary to design, test, and build the trucks (which some of you will point out, still haven't been delivered)... but that's a story for another time.
Imagine the power of being able to pre-sell thousands of units of every new product to customers who already expressed an interest in buying them. This benefit alone would be enough to amplify the sales potential of any product launch and dramatically improve the success rate of launching products online.
Your digital concierge can help you do just that - by maintaining a database of customers, their interests, and past inquiries about new products, your virtual concierge can provide personalized recommendations on upcoming products or services that match what they desire.
In summary, by integrating digital concierge you can make sure every customer is seen, known, and understood.
Platforms like Humankind empower internally selected or externally trained product experts to ensure that every customer inquiry is met with a personalized response from a knowledgeable, friendly concierge.
This will enable your team to better handle customer inquiries, follow up with online shoppers more effectively, increase customer satisfaction, and promote new products in an efficient manner - all of which are needed for any store to thrive.
If you'd like to see how Humankind helps our customers deliver excellent shopping experiences, book your demo today. We'd love to show you how our digital concierge solution can help you sell your products through the power of human connection.