M.Video, a part of the M.Video–Eldorado consumer electronics retail group, now processes nearly half of customer calls via a virtual assistant called Alyona, reports East-West Digital News (EWDN).
“Voice processing technologies have enabled [us] to reduce the workload of [our] contact center staff, reduce response times and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty,” the company says.
The AI-based robotic customer support system is connected to M.Video’s website and app, as well as WhatsApp, Telegram and Viber channels.
“Alyona can recognize up to 98% of requests and simulates live communication in a question-and-answer format,” claims the company.
In May 2021, more than 40% of incoming calls were processed automatically. In some scenarios — for example, the provision of order status or the cancellation of items on hold – up to 60% of calls are automated.
Higher customer satisfaction
M.Video–Eldorado Group has a Speech Analytics Center which is developing natural language processing services for Alyona. These include “classifiers and mechanisms for extracting essential information and for constructing optimal scenarios for dialogue and recommendations.”
For example, under the existing model, key user terms can be picked out in the process of communication and correlated with corresponding features from product specifications. “The chatbot can understand what device the customer is using and what features they are looking for; it can also provide advice on the most suitable options from the catalogue,” says M.Video.
The company claims an average of 85% customer satisfaction rate with communications with the bot – which is higher than with a human operator.
In an exchange with East-West Digital News, Stanislav Gorshenin, Customer Service Director at M.Video–Eldorado Group, said that some of Alyona’s features are “unique in the retail industry.”
“Alyona’s integration with M.Video’s IT and CRM systems enables the chatbot to use keywords to quickly find data on the status of an order or a customer request and offer advice on the most common issues,” he said, refering to loyalty program rules, refunds and exchanges, delivery, credit, etc.
What make this approach a novetly in retail is that “Alyona is equipped with recommendation services and NLU (natural language understanding) modules.”
The role of AI-powered tool in retail is growing. According to Juniper Research, the global number of successful retail chatbot interactions will reach $22bn by 2023, up from an estimated $2.6bn in 2019. Insider Intelligenceexpects the sales volume through chatbots to reaching some $142bn by 2024.
The use of chatbots for a variety of tasks in several sectors is growing rapidly on the Russian market, too. A 2020 study by Accenture research anticipates a 30% annual growth in chatbot use for each of the next three years.
From remote sales videos to biometric employee tracking
Among other notable innovative technologies implemented by his group, Gorshenin cited:
A mobile-centric platform called OneRetail that creates a “seamless customer experience no matter where they are shopping.” This platform “merges the Group’s physical and online stores into a single space by integrating mobile apps for customers and sales consultants.” As a result, via the M.Video website and mobile app, remote customers may access a video consultation service to look at a product and discuss it with a consultant from the comfort of their home;
Algorithms backed by data analytics and machine learning which are used to determine individual customers’ preferences for different types of promotions (discounts, individual promotion codes, installments, cashback). As a result, customers receive targeted offers, which translates into “growing response to our promotional mailings;”
A video analytics pilot launched earlier this year, allowing M.Video to improve the customer experience and increase conversion. Cameras installed in the sales area transmit their footage to the cloud, where a neural network analyzes the video and scans the store for “lone shopper” and “queue at the cash register” scenarios. When needed, a messenger bot notifies store employees if a customer is alone and may need assistance, or when an additional checkout line needs to be opened.
In the field of HR management, the group’s solutions include:
Automated video analytics that “help store employees improve service levels.” This system involves cameras installed in the sales area and transmitting their footage to the cloud. There, a neural network analyzes the video and scans the store for “lone shopper” and “queue at the cash register” scenarios. When needed, a messenger bot notifies store employees if a customer is alone and may need assistance, or when an additional checkout line needs to be opened;
Biometric tracking of hours worked — a technology that scans the employee’s face and records the start and end time of his/her shift. “Attendance is tracked and motivation among employees is boosted,” according to Gorshenin.
This article first appeared in East-West Digital News (EWDN), a bne IntelliNews partner publication.