3, November 2017
Clearly, smartphones are the modern customer’s much-beloved gadgets. Having recognized this, brands have been connecting with them to offer a quicker and more seamless experience. While apps were at the forefront of the mobile experience, more recently – Virtual Assistants (VA) are steadily gaining prominence as the go-to mode of rapid-fire and purposeful interactions.
Though Virtual Assistants have been around for some time now, its capabilities have been changing along with the evolving relationships between customers and their smartphones. Gartner has predicted that “20% of our smartphones interactions will be with a Virtual Personal Assistant (VPA) by 2020”. A combination of technologies, from Machine Learning to Deep Dive Analytics– powered by Artificial Intelligence has fundamentally changed the human-machine interaction. Brands are investing in technologies that allow Virtual Assistants to grow from being merely proactive to being highly personalized.
It is indeed the age of the new Virtual Assistant. It can perform tasks on behalf of the customers to interact with businesses across domains such as Banking, Telecom, Retail, and others.
These tasks are carried out by Virtual Assistants that caters to the demands of the customers via text or speech forms. The user can demand the Virtual Assistants to carry out these actions through their smartphone. These Virtual Assistants essentially have four technology components that make it what they are – a Natural Language Processing (NLP) Engine, a User Interface to receive and respond to the demands, a Search Engine that scans for related content and a Context Engine which can predict the intent behind the query.
Hence, they can answer the queries from their customers and also understand the context of the queries and even suggest Next Best Actions to them. Virtual assistants can also start a conversation with customers on the brand’s behalf to deliver proactive and purposeful information.
They play a big role in strengthening self-service too. Most customers prefer to seek answers to the questions they have, by themselves and on the go. Virtual assistants can answer efficiently or point to the next level to get their answers. In other cases, they can divert the conversations that customer have on expensive channels and reduce the number of calls to contact centers. This also helps the agents to optimize their productivity by freeing them from repetitive manual tasks.
Here are some major benefits of employing Virtual Assistants for improving customer experience.
Real-Time Conversations 24/7
A customer can chat or talk to a virtual assistant and rapidly get straightforward answers. It is a time saver for customers who don’t have the patience for waiting for the call to get connected to an agent. For example, a customer can ask the virtual assistant, “What’s my account balance?” or “how much is my outstanding amount on my credit card?“
Customers can skip the otherwise tedious process of transactions and instead use an interface familiar to them. Virtual agents allow customers to carry out transactions in the conversational style by themselves. This is similar to text messaging or talking on the phone. For instance, they can transfer money to friends and family or cancel a card easily and instantly.
Easier Escalation Process
Usually, when customers are unhappy with IVR or a real agent, the next level of escalations involves filling a form or navigating out of their current screen. With virtual agents, customers can request to talk to a live agent or have a video call escalation. All this is the same chat window or simply by just talking to the virtual agent.
Low Conversation Costs
By offering efficient self-service, customers don’t have the need to contact expensive customer service channels. Virtual Assistants can help customers navigate easily too. It also gives customers a more personalized experience, resulting in higher satisfaction levels.
For brands, that strive to create unforgettable mobile experiences, it can go beyond being an extension of customer service and present Virtual Assistants as their virtual brand persona on their mobile phone.