Virtual agents (VAs) are able to fill any customer service role your business can imagine. They can be programmed to serve as hotel concierges, mortgage processors, insurance agents and even wealth managers. Thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), virtual agents handle the vast majority of basic questions and tasks initiated by your customers. Virtual agents learn your product catalog. They integrate with data systems and pull in customer information. Anything customers need to know that can be found on an FAQ page, or within an account profile, can be repeated or explained by a virtual agent during a service conversation, either through conversations or text-based exchanges.
In this post, we’ll examine the many ways virtual agents can help improve your customer service operations, as well as your brand’s overall user experience. Customer experience with AI will be a central theme during this year’s annual Digital Workforce Summit (DWS), scheduled for Wednesday, May 8 in New York City, as companies from across industries share their AI success stories.
When thinking about virtual agents, it’s important to keep in mind that they are not one-size-fits-all. You will need to consider how your business can specifically use VAs to provide quality service, and how you’ll expect your virtual agents to deliver value, before you hire one, like our industry-leading solution Amelia. This post provides some good first steps to understanding the impact digital labor can have on your business and what you should know before you invest.
Virtual Agents Allow Human Agents to Do Important Work
By automating the most common and lower-value customer interactions, you free human labor to respond to unique and valuable requests. Instead of handling hundreds of FAQ interactions each day, your human agents can address unique problems pertaining to high-value customers. No more answering rote questions about shipping rates or business hours — your human agents can sell or upsell products or help customers upgrade to better services. Let digital labor handle the busy work.
Virtual Agents Improve Speed
FAQs will never go away, of course. Customers will always contact companies to ask questions that can be answered with a simple Google query. Fortunately, by allowing virtual agents to field these questions, you can actually improve customer experiences. By employing a virtual agent, your customers receive an almost-immediate response via chat or telephone. You can say goodbye to long hold queues and unnecessary volleys of transfers between employees searching for the correct information. Virtual agents allow your customer service operations to dramatically improve the speed of repetitive low-value queries.
Virtual Agents Make Your Service Reps Smarter
By hiring a virtual agent, you’re guaranteeing that customer information and interactions are stored in a system that makes data easy to recall for future experiences. Virtual agents can access historical data to see how past issues were resolved, and see if there are any clues hidden in previous interactions and determine what can be done so that the customer’s issue is resolved once and for all. This also relieves customers from having to restate past issues, which is a nice change-of-pace from the standard customer service call. Just as importantly, when a human agent interacts with a customer, they can work with a virtual agent to help them find historical information to provide more context for the kind of service needed. Instead of putting the customer on hold while searching interaction logs, your human agents can chat with a virtual agent in the background to find out if this specific issue is a repeat problem.
Virtual Agents Don’t Pretend to Know What They Don’t Know
Virtual agents are trained to immediately recognize and escalate calls and questions that they’re not trained to handle – which is an important point to keep customer interactions running smoothly. If a caller needs help with something a virtual agent isn’t authorized or programmed to resolve, it’ll ask a human colleague for help. This saves your company from having to explain to customers why your business sent them down a rabbit hole of useless communication, or why they were sent to a sales portal when they simply wanted to report a malfunctioning web page. Virtual agents recognize customer intent and handle only what they’re trained and authorized to handle.
Virtual agents represent a substantial leap forward in how companies can build and maintain successful customer experiences over the long term. The points outlined here about VAs, and many others, will be discussed at-length during this year’s DWS. Click below for more information, and we look forward to seeing you there.