First things first, the language around this topic can be ambiguous at best, and downright confusing at worst. Nobody wants to agree on the correct term. Is it chatbot? Or is it intelligent assistant? Or is it AI? Or just bot?
Let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that we are all talking about the same thing: using technology as a virtual agent to engage with our customers at any point during their lifecycle – whether marketing, sales or more commonly customer service. AI without the BS we call it!
It’s fast becoming headline news; we’ve heard how Russian AI chatbots are supporting Stalin, and how Microsoft’s teenage Twitter chatbot experiment got labelled a Hitler-loving robot within 24 hours. But, this is the dawn of a new age of intelligence and the potential applications are numerous and exciting for those businesses prepared to start simple and evolve gradually.
So, what does all this mean for customer engagement? Well, the evolution of technology means you’ll be able to offer customers a personal service at every point in the decision journey. Whether helping people discover products, assisting the buying process, or supporting customers with queries, it will soon become a hybrid journey. A journey with customers passed from live agents to virtual ones for different levels of support. But how do we get there from where we are today? And what can we implement now to see some quick results?
Well, that’s exactly what the second webinar in our Intelligent Assistance series looked to cover (you can download it here): How can you implement fast and win big? Detailed below is a series of top-tips on how to get up and running, and measure ROI from your Intelligent Assistance programme:
I. Don’t overpromise your customers
As exciting as the technology is, the cardinal sin is thinking that you can run before you can crawl. This will be an iterative, learning process for all involved. Yes, get people excited about the potential and get them feeling confident about what you’re setting up. But don’t start making promises you can’t keep.
The reason why you make any technology purchase should always be to improve the business and ultimately deliver better services and products for your customers. If you promise them too much and then fail to deliver, it erodes their trust in you, leading to more serious problems.
Think about your customer engagement and think about where you can make it: Better. Faster. Easier.
II. Pick a use case that will give you the best ROI
Ask the customers. Ask your front-line staff who act as your live agent. Forget what you think you know and work with them to decipher where your efforts would be best placed to make the largest impact:
- Your live agents: Often neglected and certainly underutilised, your agents deal with customers all day every day. They may surprise you with what they know and understand about your customer engagement. Get them to record interactions where they feel that they personally aren’t adding any value to the customer, and you will start to see patterns of frequently asked questions. Work through those with some agents to double and triple check which of the queries can be diverted to virtual assistance. Then run scenarios and role play experiments to test your hypothesis and it won’t be long before you have a concise list of queries that can be directed to virtual assistants.
- Your Customers: Ask them questions about when they identify self-service as a potentially better option. They will all have different ideas about this, but over a short space of time you should see patterns emerging and a list will develop. Ask them questions like: “Would that recent interaction with a live agent have been better as a self-service interaction?”, Or “What elements of service with us would you feel happy / comfortable to conduct as self-service?”
III. Prepare properly for launch
According to recent consumer research conducted by IMImobile, 71% of consumers still prefer to use voice for customer service. But, 58% will embrace customer service automation it if results in a more efficient customer service experience.
Therefore, the quality of the interaction is critical to its success, but so is the continued evolution of the service and your commitment to driving its adoption. Old habits are hard to break, so make sure once implemented you continuously promote and advocate your Intelligent Assistance programme.
You will need to educate your customers and staff of its existence at every opportunity, explain the benefits of using it for them, and promote it heavily. After all, if nobody uses your Intelligent Assistance service then all of your efforts will have been for nothing. touchpoints for promotion post launch.
You can find out more about how to get rapid ROI from your Intelligent Assistance programme by downloading our whitepaper here.