Thirteen Hours: The Average hold time on support calls Americans spend every year

Yes, you read that right, a survey last year by Harvard Business Review shows that's how many hours brands are making us wait in these times of customer-centricity.

These figures are from 2019, this year Covid19 sent online traffic soaring sky-high. Ecommerce brands are seeing revenues soar like never before. But with that follows a downward trajectory of customer experience and higher frustrations, longer response time, and a growing impatience with support services overall. With chatbot-usage increasing by 92.5% from 2019 to 2020, and great customer experience becoming critical, chatbots have gone from “good-to-have” to “must-haves”. They are now something customer demand.

Among the many things that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed for the worse, customer service comes out at the top of customers’ frustrations. Ask anyone who has tried to contact a retailer for a product to return or an airline for changing travel plans.

As cities after cities across Europe and the US started shuttering physical spaces and businesses, there were the sudden spikes that brands started noticing on their websites. The spikes stayed and kept growing three folds, weeks after weeks, and months after months.

A report from {{source}} states that retail platforms have undergone an unprecedented global traffic increase between January 2019 and June 2020, surpassing even holiday season traffic peaks. Overall, retail websites generated almost 22 billion visits in June 2020, up from 16.07 billion global visits in January 2020.

This growth in business comes with its fair share of problems. The biggest one being the pressure that some departments, in particular, have to face. One of the hardest-hit departments within the retail industry due to the pandemic’s unexpected “retail boom” are Customer Support Teams.

The Support Struggle

Struggling with backlogs of unanswered queries, a downward spiral of deteriorating services with Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT) going completely out of the window. A survey in the US found that some companies saw hold times balloon by as much as 34 percent and escalations (calls sent up the chain of command) skyrocket more than 68 percent.

The growing customers and online orders have inundated the support teams with a mountain of unanswered tickets and frustrated customers. The study last year in the Harvard Business Review found that the average American consumer spends 13 hours a year stuck on hold trying to resolve problems.

Thirteen hours.

But technology is once again proving to provide a quick and effective solution. Chatbots or Digital Assistants are acting as the tool that serves the many in need within an organization. Chatbots have emerged as a quick, easy, and immediate solution for many of the retail Industry’s support problems. From basic bots that can answer FAQs (Frequently asked questions) to complicated voicebots that can handle the entire refund process on IVR, there are many opportunities to use A.I. and make customer experience a happy place again.

Chatbots for Retail within Service can be used for multiple use-cases. But often the first step is to identify the biggest pain point and then scale from there.


If your organization has never used a chatbot before this is the right place to start. A quick FAQ Bot that answers all the questions which are already in the knowledge base. These bots could either just send the link to the right FAQ Article to the customer or go even further at answering them conversationally (using Conversational Design) Typically an FAQ Bot when build well can answer anywhere up to 40% of the queries that come in.

An FAQ chatbot fetches data from the knowledge base

Delivery Status Bot

Customers are usually impatient when waiting for their orders to arrive. A package tracking chatbot can check the status of their delivery and give them the most updated information. BotSupply’s chatbot platform enables connecting to any third-party logistics service with 1-click.

A Bot integrated with backend logistics providers gives updated status real-time

Do it all Fully integrated Bot

Now this one really does it all! Once an organization starts seeing results with bots, it’s usually time to scale up and make the whole business process more efficient. This can be done with a chatbot that not only integrated with logistics providers or answer FAQs but a chatbot that is connected to your CRM, which recognized your customers, address them based on your segmentation. One step ahead and you could connect these bots to your Analytics Dashboard, and that’s where the magic happens. You get insights into your customer’s pain, their moments of joy.

A Gartner study, published recently points out that organizations that harness the power of AI into their customer engagement strategy will see an increase in operational efficiency of 25 percent by 2025. Strategic implementation of chatbots to create unforgettable customer experiences now will be the key differentiator for retailers coming out of the pandemic.


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