JD Sports shop front

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The team at 1080bots has been thinking more about the Return on Investment model to help retailers justify their initial foray into the chatbot space. Having seen a range of chatbot applications, from Best Buy’s Order Status Bot to Ebay’s Shopbot, we wanted to analyze the benefits of augmenting a customer service call center with a chatbot.

Typically Replies in a Day

For this research, we chatted to JD Sports in the UK via its Facebook Messenger service. We said “Hello” at 12.24pm and 30 minutes later we were greeted by Anisha, “Hi, How can we help?” That was a pleasant enough greeting on Nov 17th at 12.54pm so we responded immediately.

Then we waited patiently until the next day, sending a reminder at 4.54pm on November 18. “Anisha… what happened?”. At 6.20pm Sabrina replied. The JD Sports Messenger did say “Typically replies in a day” so the timing is consistent with that.

Spoke with Four Different Agents

We are looking for a Christmas Gift for Gam’s 8 and 12-year-old nephews and had found something specific on Amazon’s US site. We sent a link and a new representative, Kirsty, let us know that this is not an item that JD Sports stocks.

When we asked for a similar product, Lexie replied asking for more information. We’d already provided a link so we referred back to our earlier comment. Then Kirsty replied again – was this the Kirsty we’d spoken to a few days earlier? Not sure, but it didn’t matter because she could not see the whole thread of our conversation. The dialog continued until Anisha, came back to let us know that JD Sports did not actually stock football nets. Possibly the same Anisha but she didn’t remember us or the original conversation.

Three Reasons We’d Prefer a Chatbot

When we compared the conversation to one with a chatbot, the experience was lacking in three areas:

  1. The response time – As a potential customer, we don’t like to hang around, even in a chat window. A chatbot patiently waits for the user to say something, then responds immediately.
  2. The changing personalities – One conversation thread speaking to four different people, two of them on two separate occasions. In a physical store, this would be a horrible experience.
  3. The lack of memory – The quality of a Facebook Messenger chat is the ability to scroll up the conversation. JD Sport’s agents don’t seem to be able to access that feature

Chatbot Return on Investment

Let’s now go back to the matter of return on investment on the Chatbot. What if JD Sports put a chatbot in to handle the initial Facebook Messenger interactions? The bot would be able to handle certain queries itself and hand others off to Sabrina, Kirsty, Anisha or Lexie.

Our hypothetical call center has 50 seats and answers calls between 8 am and 8 pm. The average call is 5 minutes long, and each agent takes about 10 calls per hour. That’s 2,400 calls per day. Hypothesize that 50% of those calls are for order status, product inquiries or FAQ type questions. If a chatbot is used to completely handle 50% of the order status, product and FAQ calls – that’s 600 calls.

Let’s say that average cost of an inbound call to a customer contact center would be around $5. For 600 calls, that’s $3,000 per day. That is a total of $780,000 per year, far outweighing the cost of the chatbot development and maintenance.

Customer Service and Chatbots Working Together

We’re not advocating at all for chatbots to take over all human customer service agents tasks, but used as the frontline mechanism for Facebook Messenger or any other of the messaging platforms, we believe that a chatbot can very quickly provide a positive return on investment.

If you want to build the business case for an ecommerce chatbot or to prototype a customer service chatbot that works in unison with your call center agents, then drop us a line at ez@firstretail.com, or fill out the form below and we’ll get right back to you.

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