Virtual assistants (VA) have been around for some time now. But the recent improvements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies and the popularity of hands-free capabilities have led to the widespread adoption of virtual assistants, especially among millennial and Gen Z generations.

More and more consumers turn towards virtual assistants to have natural, conversational interactions when they engage with businesses to obtain service. This has wholly redefined the role of virtual assistants in cementing a relationship between brands and their customers and the way consumers interact.

Thanks to their capabilities to use natural language processing (NLP), learning techniques, and interactive capabilities to support users in finding the right information, appropriate service information, or products. Virtual assistants are gaining prominence steadily as the go-to mode of rapid-fire and purposeful interactions. As a result, 51% of customers say that a conversational interface makes it easier to get things done when engaging with a company — no matter whether they use an IVR, website, or mobile app.

Forward-looking companies respond to this demand by implementing conversational virtual assistants: digital personas that deliver a quicker, seamless, and personalized customer experience via a human-like conversational interface that supports voice recognition, contextual understanding, and hand-free interaction.

Conversational virtual assistants have different names in the industry. They are often called conversational agents, virtual personal assistant, personal digital assistant, voice-enabled assistant, and even voice-activated personal assistants. But their goal is the same. Instead of forcing customers to browse through long lists of search results or navigate complicated menus and screens, virtual assistants use NLU to engage users via voice or textbased interactions and guide them to successful outcomes.

Providing personalized service that can emulate a best live agent, a conversational virtual assistant serves as an all-knowing, brand ambassador, a reassuring voice of customer service for an organization. It improves the effectiveness of self-service interactions and reduces inbound call volume to the contact center for bottom-line impact.

Here are some significant benefits of employing Virtual Assistants for improving customer experience.

Conversational interfaces

Virtual Assistants enable users to have conversations that feel natural or human-like. They also provide a multimodal interface that makes interacting with mobile apps easier, more productive, and enjoyable. Users can opt for the interaction they prefer and move freely between conversational speech, touch, or type within a given task or transaction, instead of navigating through multiple menus and screens to get what they need from the app.

Real-time interactions 24/7

A brand's website is often the first place people go to find information or get answers. A website is available 24/7 and accessible from any PC, tablet, or smartphone. However, a website does not always make it easy to get immediate, accurate answers to questions. Depending on how users phrase their queries, a website could extract numerous results, forcing them to shift through pages of potential results for answers. On the other hand, virtual assistants offer a much faster and higher resolution rate and a more personalized experience. A customer can chat or talk to a virtual assistant and get straightforward responses quickly. It's a time saver for customers who don't have the patience to wait for the call to get in touch with an agent.

Self-service

Virtual Assistants play a big role in strengthening self-service. Most customers prefer to seek answers to the questions they have, themselves, and on the go. Virtual Assistants provide customers with the support needed to resolve issues whenever and wherever they want, increasing customer satisfaction. Virtual assistants can answer efficiently or point to the next level to get their answers. In banking, customers can skip the otherwise tedious transaction process and use an interface familiar to them. Virtual agents can also allow customers to instantly carry out transactions in the conversational style, similar to text messaging or talking on the phone.

Real-time personalization

With the help of Natural Language Processing (NLP) to understand how a text (Chatbot) or voice (VA) – a natural language – has to be interpreted and processed, virtual Assistants can identify, quantify and extract emotions across channels to understand the social sentiment of their brand, product or service. This enables the brands to offer customers personalized products, services, offers, recommendations, and content based on the customer context and needs to offer a differentiated experience.

Predictive sales leads

AI’s impressive data-processing and analysis capabilities enable conversational virtual assistants to extract keywords from interactions to score users’ likelihood of converting, allowing the sales to prioritize their leads. It offers the agents insight into customers’ feelings, preferences, and irritations, design tailored products, offerings, and promotions, proactively contact the customers, and inform the next best step recommendations.

Easier Escalation Process

Usually, when customers are unhappy with IVR or a real agent, filling a form or navigating out of their current screen will be the next level of escalation. Suppose a virtual assistant, on the other hand, cannot resolve simple customer queries. In that case, it can simply escalate the query to a live agent if appropriate, even without explicit prompting by the customer. All of this happens in the same window.

Cost-saving and revenue

Brands can expect 15-70% cost reduction opportunities with the implementation of Conversational AI-enabled channels. They can automate basic routine customer interactions to be performed by the virtual agent, freeing up employee capacity to perform more high-value and meaningful work. In other cases, they can divert the conversations that customers have on expensive channels and reduce the number of calls to contact centers. This helps the agents to optimize their productivity.

As consumer demand for conversational interfaces continues to grow, businesses need to respond with innovative self-service solutions — or risk that they will be left behind. Conversational virtual assistants can transform self-service interactions to deliver a fast, effortless, and personalized brand experience to customers that will keep them coming back for more. Not only do they reduce the costs of contact centers by improving the rates of automation, but they can also drive revenue by increasing conversions, upselling, and cross-selling. Conversational virtual assistants are a natural choice for businesses seeking to differentiate themselves through exceptional self-service, enabling quick, easy interactions with an intelligent, human touch.

Want to know how Servion can help you redefine the customer experience with conversational virtual assistants? Talk to our CX specialist today.

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