Today’s customers are connected on the go. This ‘always on’ nature means that contact is beginning to move away from being a call routing system, to a virtual agent that helps customers get the answers and support they need in the way they choose to interact with a company.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the key considerations for a tighter integration across mobile apps, chat, SMS and visual experiences as contact evolves from IVR into a virtual agent.
But first, a quick overview.
What is a virtual agent?
A virtual agent is a selfservice software that answers customer questions across multiple channels. The software uses a combination of machine learning technology and natural language processing (NLP) to match queries to specific answers.
What is interactive voice response?
IVR (interactive voice response) is an automated telephone system that interacts with customers to gather information. Using a combination of voice input and keypad selection, IVR routes customer calls to the appropriate service hub and provides responses in the form of voice, callback or email.
IVR accounts for an astounding 27% of the total call experience.
However, only 7% of organisations currently offer an IVR solution that delivers a better experience than their virtual agent experience.
Efficiency = ease of use
Up to 89% of customers worldwide expect an efficient selfservice application.
Your customers don’t want to have to wait on hold, and they don’t want to have to repeat their information, so it’s essential to adapt to your customer’s selfservice needs.
But the answer to keeping up with these expectations lies in sticking to what your customers know best. In other words: don’t reinvent the wheel. Use the design or user experience (UX) patterns your customers are already familiar with – and keep it consistent.
Your customers want the same instant access to accurate answers when interacting with your company from any device.
Find your high converters
86% of customers quit doing business with a company because of a bad customer service experience.
But try looking at this on the flipside. In order to solve what’s going wrong, you need to figure out what’s going right!
To do this, you need to find out who your high converters are. Tap into your resources from paid search or social to identify the key customer behaviour patterns that are encouraging your customers to convert. If there is something that is successfully converting sales, it’s important that you understand why and how.
Virtual agent technology will help uncover your converters in a highly automated way – it’s capable of capturing every question your customers ask, through any channel.
This data is then organised into contextdriven themes that you can compare, right down to the individual question level, so that a clearer picture of your customer automatically emerges over time.
CX first, always
57% best in class companies measure support center success across email, chat, web, and voice, and 62% use IVR.
And when it comes to measuring your support centre success, customer experience (CX) is everything.
Inherently good CX arises when you understand your customer’s purchasing context.
For example, does your customer really need IVR or multiple chat options when they’re buying a bottle of vitamins? Probably not. But they will need support across multiple channels when your offer is a complex product like a technology service, or telco bundle.
Still, you can have the best tools in the world, but if all they are geared to do is sell, you will miss a huge opportunity to engage with your customers and earn their trust.
Good CX is never just about installing a piece of software, it’s also about having the right people behind the scenes – the human resources – to back it all up.
Invest in acquiring and training who are passionate and knowledgable – if the people at the end of the line are helpful, with access to the right tools they need to monetise the traffic enerring your selfservice channels, your customers will buy.
Selfservice is growing by the minute. And your customers expect and demand immediate service and satisfaction. As a marketer, it’s your job to figure out what exactly constitutes a great experience when it comes to delivering that customer service.
Ready to monetise your own self-service channels? Find out more about Salmat's speech solutions offering here or call us on 1300 725 628.