Magazine article CRM Magazine

Virtual Assistants: 10 Tips to Go from Valet to Wallet

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Virtual Assistants: 10 Tips to Go from Valet to Wallet

Article excerpt

Trick question: Who works 24x7, engages customers and answers questions in a smart and fun way, gives website tours, shows relevant web pages, and never calls in sick?

Answer: A virtual assistant (VA).

Also called chatbots, avatars, and concierges, VAs help businesses "wow" customers with distinctive self-service, increase brand equity, and cut costs. eGain's award-winning VAs are even multilingual and, unlike other alternatives, integrate with human-assisted interaction channels for a seamless customer journey! As a pioneer in this domain, eGain has compiled best practices in VA deployment over the years. Here are some popular ones:

1. GET AN "ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, ANYHOW" VALET.

Deploy the VA not just on your website, but also on mobile and social channels. VAs are perfect as personal attendants. They can greet customers, chat with them (good VAs can discuss the weather, too!), show customers around, and answer questions.

2. DON'T BURY YOUR VA IN THE HELP SECTION.

Lead with the VA (see our next tip). Make the VA available on every page. Better still, make it proactively offer help and tours of your website. On your mobile app, you could even use the VA to start and guide all customer interactions.

3. MAKE THE VA YOUR BRAND AMBASSADOR.

VAs are meant to represent your brand. Best-in-class VA solutions include off-the-shelf avatars, letting you choose from cartoon or realistic characters, and static or animated options. You could opt to design your own VA, even model it on your spokesperson if you have one for the brand. Good solutions also let you easily create a conversation style and tone that is unique to your VA.

4. KEEP IT SNAPPY.

One of the main reasons consumers like VAs is their speed. Pick a solution whose infrastructure will allow performance to scale with system load.

5. BE UNDERSTANDING.

VAs are capable of understanding natural language queries. Make sure yours is tolerant of bad spelling and grammar. Enable various modes of conversation: modern VAs support text to text, speech to text, text to speech, and speech to speech communication modes.

6. BE POLITE.

In particular, when the VA is unable to understand the question. The following real-life example borders on rudeness: "Please, one idea at a time." Instead, say, "I'm sorry, but that is a rather complicated request. It will be easier for me to help if you could break it up into a series of simple questions."

7. …

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