• Priyanka Koribilli

Using Jumia Chatbot to enhance consumer experience

Updated: Mar 1

A long time ago, when Jumia first started e-commerce, our call centres used to be constantly jammed with calls from consumers demanding immediate answers to each of their questions. Jumia kept hiring more call center agents but the calls kept coming, fast and furious. Then we hired an even bigger team to handle email enquiries, but these too kept pouring in. At some point, it seemed as if everyone in the world had something they wanted to find out from Jumia.

Please tell me the pair of shoes I bought for my son’s birthday tomorrow will be delivered on time? ”one caller would ask at 2am.

“I have several items in my shopping cart– but I cannot find the payment button, and I have been looking for it for the last half hour”, another would demand.

At the end of every shift, there were still unhappy consumers – and one too many call center agents who had to convince themselves that they had to wake up the next morning and answer the same questions all over again.

Then our tech experts at Jumia asked: Why don’t we find out what our callers really want to know and then devise an easier way for them to find the answers they are seeking? The quest to find an answer to that one question would become a critical turning point for Jumia because that was when we developed our Chatbot and live chat options. Our experts looked at the data and realized there were common threads in the questions that consumers were asking.

  1. How do I make payment?

  2. When will my order be delivered?

  3. If I am not happy with the goods I received; can I return them and get a refund?

In a nutshell, these were the most frequently asked questions. To answer them, our tech experts designed the Chatbot and then programmed it to answer these and other common questions that our consumers needed answered in real time. By November 2020, the Chatbot was handling close to 50 percent of all the inquiries that used to be directed to Jumia’s call centres. To start with, that translated to reduced telephone costs for Jumia consumers. It also drastically reduced disappointement all round meaning that Jumia consumers and call center agents meant it whenever they closed each call with the greeting “Have a great day”. They still do. But something else happened when the Jumia Chatbot went live. The agents we had hired to answer the millions of telephone calls from across Africa found they had more time to proactively anticipate consumer needs and began working on different projects to improve overall consumer experience on Jumia. With the Chatbot, Jumia has also become better at collecting, collating and interpreting consumer data, which has improved our capacity to address consumers’ pain points. Plus, if a query is escalated from the Chatbot, it generates a ticket that makes it easier for everyone involved to follow up and ensure that every question is addressed within the shortest time possible. As a result, everyone at Jumia has learned to value consumer feedback because now we keep learning – and improving our services.

The beauty of the Chatbot is that it is programmed to answer many questions a consumer has. And because it is a machine and requires no sleep, it can answer the same questions for 24hrs and still not feel tired. And, of course, it is not programmed to feel disapointed, so it can engage our consumers for hours on end and no voice will be raised in all that time!

Of course, unlike Chatbots, human beings are complex and so are our needs; thus, when consumers have a burning question that is too complex for our Chatbot, they will still be directed to Jumia’s call centres, where they will be attended to by a call centre agent. And, for those who still prefer to send an email, that option is still available. The Chatbot, just like email and live chat, is Jumia’s first line of response to consumer challenges. Where this fails, the problem is escalated to our agents - who are real people - who then think through it and get back to the consumer with the right response.

Not only is it intuitive, it is, we are proud to say, easy and convenient to use. And what is more, we have made using it as easy as ABC, helping our consumers make payments, track their deliveries and find many of the other answers that crop up from time to time. But we do not have to say it. We invite you to try it out and give us feedback. We have a dedicated team, which monitors the data so that we can constantly update our Chatbot and make it more responsive to your shopping needs.


Priyanka Koribilli Chief Product Owner Priyanka Koribilli has a demonstrated history of working in the Internet industry and has been with Jumia since 2016. As a Chief Product Owner, she enjoys the responsibility of managing every step of the product development journey from Product Vision to Concept to API design to Go-to-Market planning to Impact Ownership. In a fast-paced company like Jumia, she oversees multiple projects at any given time. Priyanka holds an M.B.A. focused on Product, Operations & Strategy from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta, India.

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