Macy’s, Inc. is one of the US based premier retailers with strong footprint of more than 700 department stores operating under the nameplates Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s, and approximately 125 specialty stores that include Bloomingdale’s The Outlet, Bluemercury and Macy’s Backstage.
The digital transformation
Retail has become highly competitive. Established brands compete with off-price stores and online startups to grab customers’ attention—and dollars—as shopping patterns increasingly shift from brick-and-mortar shops to the virtual shopping mall of the web. Business strategies must evolve to succeed in this online- and mobile-focused marketplace, and Macy’s is leading the way by embracing digital transformation to attract customers to its brand and keep them coming back.
Macy’s had constantly recognizing that consumers increasingly tend to go online and mobile channels to browse for merchandise and make purchases. To optimize the shopping experience, Macy’s enhanced its website with a virtual agent based on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI solution for customer service. With deep connections to back-end systems, the virtual agent can take action to solve customer issues and transfer customers seamlessly to a live agent if necessary. The virtual agent is already answering more than one quarter of customer queries and Macy’s plans to expand it to additional shopping channels.
Connecting customers with quick answers
Macy’s began working with Microsoft to build a virtual agent that interacts with customers at macys.com. The Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI solution for customer service amplifies human ingenuity in customer service and engagement across all channels, and empowers the brand to deliver exceptional customer experiences. The Macy’s virtual agent provides a conversational, multiturn, text-based interface that connects to Macy’s internal system APIs to access information about merchandise and orders, offering customers real-time responses to common inquiries. The maturity of Macy’s existing API and its highly scalable services for core e-commerce functions around search, catalog, bag, order, and customer service helped to accelerate the development process. Since there was no reworking required on the back end, the team has been able to focus on developing the best-in-class customer experience.
As a result of the deep API integration, the virtual agent can do more than just answer questions—it can take action to solve customer problems. “When a customer asks, ‘Where is my order?’, the virtual agent can provide a customized response including the exact status. Live agents still play a very important role in Macy’s customer journey. If the virtual agent is unable to answer a question, it transfers the customer to a service agent to continue the conversation. There is a seamless transition from the virtual agent to the live agent. The live agent has access to the entire interaction between the customer and the virtual agent. With that context, the agent can easily understand the issue and help the customer quickly.
Optimizing the customer experience—now and in the future
Within just a month of being deployed, the virtual agent is already answering more than one quarter of customer inquiries in its current implementation, freeing up call center agents to handle more difficult questions. Macy’s is using the system’s dashboard to constantly monitor performance. Macy’s has seen 32 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth in its online business, and it sees customer service as a key investment in continuing that trend.