In a globalized, inter-connected digital economy, capturing potential customers’ attention and keeping existing customers engaged is at the top of business leaders’ agendas.
This is especially true in emerging markets that are at once incredibly populous, rapidly urbanizing, and increasingly digitalized – markets in which the sheer volume of an informed, connected, and sophisticated middle class pushes businesses to the edge of efficiency and competitiveness. From the People’s Republic of China, India, and Indonesia to Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico, consumers want products that surpass their expectations and services that anticipate their needs.
In this context, it is no surprise that businesses are moving away from traditional support tools like phone calls, emails, and tickets – considered slow and impersonal modes of communication – towards chatbots and Live Chat features, which deliver immediate and personalized customer experiences at no extra cost.
In Mexico, the AI platform Yalochat is transforming the way customers interact and transact with businesses.
Making a difference with conversational AI
Based in San Francisco, Yalochat aims to turn chatbots into more than a digital platform passively or reactively providing basic information. Its aim is for customers to be able to speak to chatbots as naturally and as intuitively as they speak with another person. Only this other person has all the answers to any possible query, does not doubt or hesitate, is able to anticipate someone’s next string of questions based on speech content and patterns, and even makes on-point recommendations – suggesting the right product at the right time.
For added comfort and convenience, Yalochat wants all of this to take place beyond the confines of a business’ own website (which may or may not be optimized for mobiles) and into the messaging platforms in which consumers are already having meaningful discussions (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, LINE, WeChat, to name but a few).
Transforming customers’ experiences and perceptions
One of Yalochat’s key clients, the Mexican retail giant Coppel, has significantly improved the way consumers perceive its brand thanks to more useful and genuine WhatsApp interactions. Apart from finding the nearest Coppel branch and its opening hours, Yalochat allows customers to check on their consumer credit applications, receive purchase confirmations and notifications, and quickly resolve Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – all within WhatsApp.
Aeromexico, Mexico’s domestic airline, has migrated part of its customer service platform to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger via Yalochat.
According to Javier Mata, CEO of Yalochat, “This new service allows passengers to receive answers to any question in a faster way, since it gives them access to the personal attention of the customer service team, in addition to providing automated responses in real-time.”
Aeromexico’s customer service is now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on WhatsApp, allowing customers to receive their digital boarding pass and ask all sorts of questions from within WhatsApp – i.e. “What time do I need to check-in?”, ‘How many pieces of luggage can I take on my flight?”, or “What is the process to take my pet with me?”. The service is also fully customizable, as users can tell Aeromexico that they only want important flight-related notifications and no support whatsoever.
Reaching the unreachable
Other than the obvious commercial benefits, making customer service less of a chore and more of an experience has many other benefits.
A major advantage of leveraging existing messaging platforms is the ability to reach entire segments of the population who do not yet have the habit of seeking information through digital sources. The elderly, for example, may use WhatsApp to keep in touch with friends and family, but may not be aware that practical information can also be delivered there. There are also the un- and under-connected, who may not have access to sufficiently strong or reliable internet access to spend too much time looking for hard-to-find information on a messy or unintuitive website.
And the benefits also work the other way around; many businesses still do not have a strategically planned or implemented digital footprint. And those that do have digital assets that they use for communications tend to ignore the fact that these need to be adapted to consumers’ specific digital habits.
According to the 2018 survey on the availability and use of ICT in Mexican homes, 92.2% of the Mexican population uses a mobile device to access the internet, out of which 86.9% do so to access practical information and 79.6% do so on a daily basis.
As Javier Mata puts it: “Through our technology and in collaboration with WhatsApp, we can make it easy for companies to have happy customers who actually enjoy reaching out to customer service.”
In this sense, advanced conversational AI such as the one deployed by Yalochat may do more than just humanizing companies and brands; it may help make the internet a more inclusive and accessible resource by opening it up to many more people than ever before, while also adapting to their individual preferences.