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6 Ways Virtual Agents Can Support Contact Centers

6 Ways Virtual Agents Can Support Contact Centers

It’s no secret that customers would ditch businesses if they fail to add value to interactions or are unable to meet customer experience goals. This need to have positive interactions has digitally revolutionized contact centers. But for most businesses, it has failed to add value!

Surprising?

Well, we’ve all been there. Chatbots pop up on screens as soon as you open a business site only to make you sigh with frustration. You hardly ever get the answers you need to your queries because, in the end, the majority of chats end up getting escalated to a live agent. Don’t get us wrong, chatbots do a fine enough job with pre-scripted answers and questions, but beyond that, they are just a necessary distraction.

For the more complex queries, where chatbots do not suffice, virtual agents come in. What are they, how do they work and what promises do they hold for your contact centers? Let’s find out.

What is a Virtual Agent?

Also known as a Digital Assistant, it is a software program driven by Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing to communicate with users via digital channels.

On the surface, it may look like your usual chatbot, but they are far more powerful since they are capable of understanding the meaning and context of each customer’s message and responding accordingly. Designed to mimic human conversations, virtual agents wouldn’t let your customers feel the absence of live agents.

Chatbots and Virtual Agents. They’re Different!

Imagine you visited an e-commerce website looking for information about your recent order. A chatbot pops up in the corner of your screen, asking – “How can I assist you today?” It is designed to handle specific tasks or queries related to order status, product information, or basic FAQs.

It will give you pre-programmed responses based on keywords and patterns. It will retrieve the relevant information from a database and provide an accurate response. However, it cannot engage in a broader conversation.

💡 Read More | The Ultimate Guide to Chatbot

Chatbots Vs Virtual Agents

Now, consider a virtual agent in the same scenario. It has a broader scope to handle various tasks beyond general queries such as recommending products, processing returns, and even offering personalized suggestions based on your purchase history.

With its capability to engage in meaningful and contextual interactions, it can understand context over time and remember your previous interactions to provide a personalized experience. Powered by Machine Learning, virtual assistants can learn from each interaction and adapt and improve responses over time, becoming more adept at understanding customer preferences.

Role of Virtual Agents in a Contact Center

⦿ Charm Customers with Hyper-personalized Interactions

According to an American Express study, 60% of customers prefer an automated self-service option to solve simple issues. Virtual agents can be the answer to your need for creating more pleasant experiences and boosting the chances of their retention.

By utilizing NLP capabilities, virtual agents can decode customer intentions, scrutinize the context and meaning of interactions, and offer relevant responses. Driven by AI they have the ability to deliver customized responses that cater to each customer’s specific request. Engineered to mimic human conversations, virtual agents can easily grasp the subtleties in language, context, and sentiment, helping them deliver context-rich responses that feel unique and personalized.

⦿ Take your Data Gathering Capabilities a Notch Higher

The virtual agent gathers information every time a customer interacts with it. This information can be analyzed to give decision-makers better insights into the customer experience. Gathering this data on the most frequent issues and queries makes it easier to train the system to handle future inquiries. Further, repeated concerns from the same client or similar concerns from many clients can provide the actionable insights businesses need to improve customer experience. This can also help the virtual agent predict and mitigate problems before they escalate.

In essence, the virtual agent’s data gathering goes beyond the mere accumulation of information, becoming a strategic tool for understanding, anticipating, and adapting to customer needs insightfully.

⦿ Handle Higher Call Volumes without Overwhelming Agents

You’re wrong if you think virtual agents are designed to replace humans. They are programmed to be team players. Intelligent virtual agents help contact center agents deal with high call volumes through automation.

For instance, a virtual agent can answer a call and ask customers the nature of their requests. It can then respond with open-ended prompts to direct the caller. The customer’s response to these prompts will either continue with the virtual agent to resolve or escalate to a live agent for further support.

The ability to handle and respond to a wide range of customer queries not only helps contact center agents during times of high call volumes but also frees them up to handle more complicated requests.

💡 Learn More | How to value your customer’s time with faster and better service? 

⦿ Simplify Reaching Out to Agents with Efficient Escalation Workflows

Your virtual agents can handle simple requests for you in a nuanced manner and automate escalated calls. From handling incoming calls and chats to authenticating customers, virtual agents can also identify the reasons for the customer’s call and if possible find a resolution. In case a situation warrants a live agent, virtual agents can transfer the call over to someone who can help.

This automated workflow ensures that customers get the assistance they need right away. It also reduces the heavy call volumes by filtering out those customers that virtual agents can take care of entirely. Thus, ensuring that only the fundamental and complex questions make their way to agents, reducing their workload and allowing them to focus on more significant issues.

⦿ Be Available For Your Customers Round the Clock

Your customers might not always access your website during business hours but that shouldn’t translate into a missed opportunity for your business. AI-driven virtual agents are available for their customers 24/7. This can be a major upside for businesses, especially if they don’t have the budget to hire an agent for each time zone. Round-the-clock access to support gives customers the flexibility they crave to reach out to businesses for an always-on, speedy resolution.

Customers no longer have to wait for office hours to get their queries addressed. They can receive prompt assistance thus improving overall customer experience.

⦿ Rationalize Revenue by Reducing Spend and Fetching More Leads

Businesses are usually wary of the cost of AI tools. However, PwC research shows that investing in quality AI can save businesses money and increase the quality of services delivered over time. As intelligent virtual agents harness the power of data to derive meaningful insights into customer interactions, they can help agents to manage more complex and high-yielding tasks helping businesses retain customers. Further, these insights can be helpful in product development, thus reducing the spending across R&D efforts.

💡 Download Whitepaper | How can efficient customer service reduce your spending?

Since virtual agents can handle more conversations with customers that also provide relevant data, it leads to more sales while improving overall customer service. It can also boost business by gathering data for lead generation and following up on those leads.

Wrap-up

Have you grown wary of training your customer service representatives only to have them make mistakes and cost you your customer’s loyalty? Have you ever wished you could bring round-the-clock support to customers without overwhelming your agents? The answer to your questions lies in a virtual agent.

Scale your efforts with virtual agent solutions from NovelVox’s CXInfinity to boost your customer engagement outcomes and transform customer experiences for the better.

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