Professional services company Ernst & Young is bringing its clients’ customer experience into a new age, investing in conversational commerce, the newest development in digital experiences. Perhaps best known for its use in Facebook Messenger, conversational commerce refers to the ability for customers to engage with brands through interactions with chatbots.
 
One of the first companies to make use of the technology, 1-800-FLOWERS.com offers users the ability to order floral gifts entirely through messaging apps like Facebook Messenger.
 
Ease of use is a crucial component in crafting seamless digital experiences, and previously contributed to the rise of the app. While these mobile-optimized programs were once thought to be the peak of simple mobile ordering, conversational commerce now gives consumers the option to order a pizza, rent a car, or make inquiries of customer service−all without the need for a computer, phone call, or even app.
 
“Since the mass adoption of smartphones, companies have tried to transition consumers from phone lines and desktop support to mobile apps, with many investing in speech recognition and chat bots,” said Woody Driggs, EY Americas Digital Leader. “That approach can be expensive and, when done poorly, can erode the customer experience. Through these new investments and relationships we will be poised to make conversational commerce a reality for our clients, helping them bridge the communication gap between themselves and their customers.”
 
Social media continues to play an enormous role in the shopping experience, and new messaging capabilities may take off as an extension of these informal channels. Twitter and Facebook gave customers the chance to directly converse with their favorite brands, and conversation commerce now allows them to shop without ever having to leave the channel.
 
“We have reached a tipping point in the expectations of consumers and how they want to interact with brands,” said David Nichols, Principal, Ernst & Young LLP, and EY Americas Innovation and Alliance Leader. “Brands that adapt the soonest will have an advantage in building and strengthening relationships with consumers, particularly up-and-coming digital natives and millennials. That’s why we are moving quickly to lead the way in helping clients connect with their customers in new and exciting ways.”
 

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