How Intelligent Virtual Agents are revolutionising contact centres across the globe.
Utilising virtual agents in contact centres isn’t exactly a novel concept, but trends towards newer and more intelligent systems have been improving the customer service landscape. Wariness of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chatbots has begun subsiding as global change necessitates not only a shift in the way we use technology, but also in our cultural perceptions of good customer service.
Businesses face unprecedented challenges in light of Covid-19
It goes without saying that businesses have experienced an upheaval of their day-to-day operations in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially within customer service, where employee shortages have run rampant.
Resourcing and retaining contact centre employees has become especially challenging. New work-from-home setups that lean on heavier use of digital communication can affect the recruitment process, especially if potential employees live in areas where reliable internet access is difficult to come by. Of those employees who do successfully join a business, many must contend with potential self isolation and lack of resources.
Since higher demand for online or phone-based service coupled with decreased contact centre staff can lead to serious challenges, many companies have been onboarding IVA’s – Intelligent Virtual Agents – to help reduce their human employees’ workloads and streamline information gathering.
Virtual agents aren’t replacing staff, they’re making them better.
At the beginning of the pandemic, flexible working arrangements seemed to be a reasonable short-term solution. However, as time goes on with the aforementioned challenges of working from home, contact centre staff need more support than ever.
This is where the new generation of intelligent virtual agents can make a massive difference. An IVA is available 24/7, so rather than contending with staff scheduling issues, which in itself can be an insurmountable task, companies can rely on IVA technology to service customers at any time, on any preferred platform.
Another benefit is the IVA’s ability to perform more mundane daily tasks, such as taking payments, making bookings, and recording customer information for later use. This frees up staff for more involved situations, with a seamless transition from bot to human agent when necessary.
Digital agents can also aid customer service staff during calls by looking up information in the background and providing it to the agent as they speak to the customer.
These features allow businesses and customer service agents to boost overall performance.
Customers are trending towards virtual agents
As commerce continues to catapult into the digital sphere, customers are increasingly opting for online chatbots and AI over phone-based customer service.
One survey found that almost 60% of Generation Z and Millennials have used private social messaging for customer service, with the majority of these groups also preferring messaging apps to traditional phone calls with human agents.
The same survey also found that half of consumers of any age have used AI and feel comfortable doing so, with younger generations more likely to agree that chatbots can make it easier and faster for them to have their issues resolved.
A new generation of intelligent virtual agents that is constantly learning.
Compounding the consumer trend towards chatbots and AI is the production of the new-generation IVA that learns faster, from absorbing target industry terminologies in order to seamlessly communicate with customers, to processing calls more effectively.
Whether an IVA serves as the front-end of the customer service team by taking calls and qualifying customers, or assists human agents in the background, it is constantly learning on the job.
If an IVA is unable to help a customer with a problem, it can quickly transition them to a human agent, who will have access to the entire conversation history between the IVA and the caller.
This evolving partnership between AI and human agents has been revolutionising customer service quality and efficiency. In the face of an uncertain future, both major corporations and small businesses have found security and dependability with IVA technology guiding their contact centres’ daily operations.
At Connect, we make the complex simple by partnering businesses with IVA technology. For more information on how businesses are embracing AI assistants, download our webinar.