Magazine article CRM Magazine

Intelligent Virtual Assistants: Best Practices in Personalized Web Self-Service

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Intelligent Virtual Assistants: Best Practices in Personalized Web Self-Service

Article excerpt

A website is an ideal way to attract and engage customers, and can be a company's greatest asset in both the sales process and for conducting day-to-day business. But many consumers aren't taking full advantage of all the benefits websites offer: a wealth of information and tools, 24/7 availability, no wait times to access it, and access to a wide variety of services all on one channel.

Too often websites place the burden on users to know the "right" questions to ask to get an answer, forcing them to leave the site with their questions unanswered and reach out to a live customer-service representative (CSR). Every time a CSR picks up the phone it costs companies at least $6 (1).

At $6+ per contact, companies need a more cost-effective way to efficiently and effectively respond to customer needs, and they are turning to interactive online channels, such as web-chat and intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs), to keep customers on the site and off the phone lines). IVAs use natural, or every day, conversation to guide the user to the exact piece of information they need. IVAs can perform many of the same functions as live-chat representatives and CSRs at a fraction of the time and cost.

BEING VIRTUAL IS AN ADVANTAGE

The benefits of adding an IVA to your customer-service toolbox are many, including:

* IVAs can serve thousands of customers at once

* They're on-the-clock 24/7

* They can work across any channel, in any language

* They navigate users directly to the content they need, providing a personalized self-service experience

* Best of all, they don't forget training and are always willing to learn more

Next IT IVAs have the ability to scale to meet varying demand. When dealing with the sudden increase in traffic that comes with major events like a product recall, a natural disaster or other unforeseen circumstances, IVAs respond with ease.

ALIGNING INTELLIGENT VIRTUAL ASSISTANTS TO YOUR BUSINESS STRATEGY

For an IVA to best serve your business goals, it's important to have a clear understanding of the primary business value to be achieved.

* To maximize web containment, implement an IVA in a manner that will address your most common failure points. This may be in the form of proactive help or by simply defining industry jargon in a way the user understands. An analysis of contact-center transcripts can help determine what areas to address first.

* To increase sales, take a look at previous customers' buying patterns to identify a clear path for the development of cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. A Fortune 100 investment firm has yielded significant results by leveraging their offers through a Next IT IVA--making it simple to understand each offer and easier for consumers to ask questions about the offers and act on them. …

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