AI chatbots have gained their foothold in the modern digital space as a majority of industries use a chatbot for enhanced, insightful, and efficient customer engagement. AI-based chatbots are available 24/7, they are intuitive and they do not make mistakes. Due to digital transformation, the use of chatbots in supply management is rising. Almost every internet user interacts with some type of chatbot every day. ‘Hi Siri!’, ‘Ok Google!’ and ‘Hey Alexa!’ are some common phrases that people are familiar with.
With such a wide global acceptance, the implementation of chatbots in supply management is inevitable and bot-developers have come up with solutions that can simplify or even revolutionize the supply chain management process.
Chatbots are not industry-specific but they can be outfitted with industry-specific information so they can connect to the consumers and clients who are most familiar with industry jargon and variables. Nonetheless, chatbots are an easy way to communicate with consumers.
Here, a good example would be of UPS bots that can talk to customers via ‘Google Home’ and provide delivery-related information. The bot uses additional software for personalized planning and tracking. Chatbots can handle many low-level operations that would otherwise require customer support personnel.
This is quite similar to shopping or booking a service. Customers can request deliveries through a logistical chatbot and it can also handle all the additional information such as pickup and delivery address, delivery schedule, insurance, and delivery speed. Additionally, the chatbot can also process the order and issue a receipt that contains the necessary details.
In any case, the customers may require amending the order such as adding or removing some products or even cancel the order. A supply-chain chatbot can process their requests by using the information such as tracking numbers in the database and integrating it into the unique customer ID.
In addition, chatbots can also provide assistance in shipment tracking which can be better than the tracking feature available on the websites. With chatbot, the customers have to enter the tracking ID only once and they can refer to the details anytime.
Frequently asked questions will not be a problem anymore as the chatbots can respond to the common questions through pre-programmed answers and follow-up questions and answers. Thus, the need for human intervention is minimized, it is needed only in situations where information is needed in detail.
Another important aspect of customer-oriented operations is feedback and surveys. Businesses can ask for customer feedback regarding their services or delivery through the chatbot. The whole process remains automated where customers only have to rate the service and/or explain their thoughts in the comments.
In addition, brands often conduct surveys for categorizing their customer base and gain insights about their personal habits and knowledge of other brands. Chatbots can be extremely helpful in conducting surveys as the customers do not have to fill online forms and they can get involved in a voice chat with an AI or just tick mark the checklist.
Managing new orders, orders in progress, canceled- delayed orders, can be tiresome for managers but not for the chatbots. They can send the collected data directly to the databases that are again automated for classifying the information accordingly.
Warehouse matters are another important aspect that requires adequate management. Using automation in warehouse management helps in dealing with inventories, expected deliveries, floor plans, and tracking information.
Here, the chatbots can be deployed for potential and existing clients/suppliers who can check the warehouse location and additional details so that they can maintain clear communication.
The information about supply fleet such as number of vehicles, vehicles on the route, can be updated on automated terminals.
The company can also add a limited-access feature for security purposes. A Chatbot can fetch this information and offer assistance directly to the potential/existing clients and customers. Such an automated approach will also be helpful in managing and maintaining the company database for every single order.
In supply-chain management, companies rely heavily on drivers for delivering and bringing-in the products/goods. Here, the internal chatbot can access driver information such as persons on sick leave/vacation, currently working, or standby. It can be vital as it offers information to managers who manage deliveries as per the available manpower and vehicles.
Chatbot comes with specific perks such as reduced costs, improved availability for customers along with better time-management and proactive responses. However, to achieve the desired results, chatbot development should incorporate advanced technologies such as AI, voice recognition, and Natural Learning Process (NLP).
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