Payment processing platform Square has augmented its Square Messages service with conversational AI. The new feature offers merchants suggestions on how to reply and get the best reactions from customers, boosting reply rates by 10%, according to Square.
Square Messages is designed to let businesses using Square for payments also interact with customers, answer their questions, and respond to any complaints. The platform has processed more than 53 million messages, with the rate tripling from March of last year until this August. The AI messaging service is designed to help handle the growing conversational flow for Square customers in a few ways. The suggested replies feature analyzes what the customer said to generate messages to reply back with instead of formulating a reply from scratch. The suggested actions feature takes that one step further by offering one-click suggestions for what to do based on what a customer says. For instance, the business owner might tap a button and send an invoice or payment link, one automatically generated by Square’s AI.
Almost 40% of businesses aren’t using mobile commerce tech, according to Square’s new Growth of Mobile and Conversational Commerce report, released in tandem with the new features. The report explores how new commerce channels can help businesses and where they still struggle. That includes mobile interactions, which younger people prefer to use more than phones.
“Sellers continue to need powerful software that enables them to automate their business and meet the on-the-go needs of modern consumers,” said Square head of point of sale and e-commerce Saumil Mehta said. “Mobile commerce technologies are a competitive advantage for merchants to leverage in order to stand out from the noise.”
Square’s conversational suggestions follow its push into conversational AI on phones with SoundHound. Square integrated its payment service SoundHound’s phone-based voice assistant for restaurants, SoundHound for Restaurants. The voice AI performs as a digital waiter for restaurants, answering calls for pick-up or delivery. Restaurant owners sync their menu and the appropriate phone number with the voice assistant, who answers every call so there’s no need for a customer to be put on hold. The voice assistant’s natural language interface understands what the customer is ordering, including changes made during the call. Once finished, the AI sends a confirmation to the customer, whose payment is then processed through Square’s POS system. The voice assistant is a subscription service for restaurant owners, with the cost depending on its use.