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Breakthrough CX Innovations that Create Customer Delight

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

“Customers are increasingly starting their support journeys online and leveraging self-service options, but that doesn’t mean that the need for live agents will disappear. Instead organisations need to implement the right combination of virtual and real support and integrate those channels properly in order to provide personalised and seamless support for customers.”

– Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO, Creative Virtual

On Thursday, 6th April 2017 at 7:00 pm UK/ 2:00 pm ET CRMXchange will host a Tech Tank Roundtable webinar titled Customer Delight: Live Demonstrations of Breakthrough Innovations. The live webcast will feature a panel of industry experts, including Creative Virtual’s Chris Ezekiel, showcasing emerging customer experience solutions that are beginning to impact the contact centre.

The contact centre industry needs to be constantly evolving in order to meet changing customer demands. As customers increasingly come to expect seamless and personalised omnichannel engagement, contact centres must turn to a combination of virtual and real support. During the webinar, Chis will address this change and give an inside look at Creative Virtual’s deep integration of virtual agents and live chat. This combined solution is defining industry best practice through a single knowledgebase for both virtual and real agents and a unique feedback loop combined with customisable workflow functionality.

The bringing together of live chat and virtual agents is a departure from the common belief that, until recently, prevailed in the contact centre industry that organisations needed to choose between the solutions. Forward-thinking organisations are now coming to understand that these two tools are complementary solutions that can play a key part in delivering quality digital support experiences for their customers. Gone are the days of the live chat vs. virtual agent debate as this shift in mindset begins to permeate the customer service industry.

Register for the Tech Tank now to learn more and see live demonstrations from Chris and other industry experts from inContact and Aspect. Not able to make the live webcast? Don’t worry! A recording of the Roundtable will be sent to all registrants after the event.

From Novelty to Proven Self-Service Tool: Creating the Best Virtual Assistant Solutions

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

When I founded Creative Virtual over 13 years ago, virtual assistant and chatbot software was still very much in its infancy. We were a pioneer in the industry and over the years have played a key role in the development and adoption of this technology. It has been exciting to experience first-hand the evolution of these solutions from being considered a novelty in the early days to now being a tried and tested tool employed by large enterprises around the world for providing digital self-service.

Over the years, the ingenuity and dedication of the Creative Virtual team has enabled us to improve the conversational abilities of our V-Person™ virtual agents through advances in natural language processing and AI. We have also kept our finger on the pulse of changing customer expectations and responded with innovations in our technology to allow for flexible back-end integration, easier maintenance and reliable adaptive learning.

Becoming a world leader in virtual assistant and chatbot technology didn’t happen overnight, and is a direct result of the Creative Virtual team’s hard work and innovative thinking. That’s why it is an honour to be named ‘Best Virtual Assistant Solutions Provider 2017’ as part of the 2017 International Software & Cloud Services Awards!

Here are just three reasons why our virtual assistant solutions are recognised as the best in the industry:

  • Our virtual assistants are backed by a knowledge management, workflow management and business intelligence reporting platform, V-Portal™, which is a key differentiator in today’s marketplace. V-Portal provides tightly integrated editing, testing, workflow and reporting functionality to easily manage the flow of content and deployment of virtual agents across contact channels.
  • Our solutions are designed to be complementary to what organisations already have in place, to sit on top of existing infrastructure and integrate with existing systems. This enables companies to create highly personalised virtual conversations quickly and without lengthy or expensive development projects.
  • Our solutions have a proven track record of success and helping our customer organisations reach their customer experience and engagement goals. In fact, our very first customer is still a happy customer today! With proven contact deflection rates of up to 80% and reductions in average call handing time by up to 40% in the contact centre, our solutions are achieving ROI in less than 12 months. Our virtual assistants currently have over 50 million conversations per year, and that number is rapidly growing.

My thanks to the International Software & Cloud Services Awards programme for recognising the hard work and dedication of the Creative Virtual team and naming us the best in the industry!

To see for yourself how our best-in-breed virtual assistants can help you create personalised and seamless support experiences for your customers, request a live demo.

Live Chat vs. Virtual Agents: A Story of Overcoming the Divide to Work Together in Perfect Harmony

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

In the not too distant past it wasn’t uncommon to come across organisations struggling to decide between using live chat or a virtual agent on their website for customer support. The customer service marketplace took a very polarised view of these technologies with proponents of each making strong arguments for why their preferred solution was the best for cutting costs, boosting revenue and bettering the customer experience. Even today, some companies still view this as an either-or decision: either they give customers the option to get support online from human chat agents through live chat or they provide a virtual agent so that customers can self-serve online through automated chat.

However, this view is changing and the divide created by the live chat vs. virtual agent debate is disappearing into a discussion of how to bring these two technologies together to work in perfect harmony. Before going any further, let’s take a quick look at each of these solutions individually:

Live Chat – Live chat, also sometimes referred to as web chat, enables organisations to offer customers and prospective customers a one-on-one conversation with a live chat agent. Initially live chat was just used on websites, but now it is also utilised on other engagement channels such as messaging apps and SMS. In the past, supporters of this technology would often highlight the importance of the human touch provided by live chat as a key argument of its superiority over virtual agents.

Virtual Agents – Over the years these automated conversational systems have been given a variety of names, including virtual agent, chatbot, avatar, virtual customer assistant, bot, virtual assistant and chatterbot. In its infancy this technology was used by organisations as basic FAQ systems on websites, but today’s virtual agents are much more advanced and capable of engaging users in sophisticated natural language conversations across many contact channels. In the live chat vs. virtual agents argument, advocates of virtual agents would draw attention to the significantly lower cost per conversation, consistent responses, the ability to have unlimited concurrent conversations and the 24/7 availability of support.

A view within the marketplace of these two solutions being joined up certainly hasn’t happened overnight. Forward-thinking companies seeing the potential of bringing live chat and virtual agents together have set the stage for this change. For example, back in 2012 Creative Virtual was shortlisted for an Econsultancy Innovation Award in the category of ‘Innovation in Customer & User Experience’. Our entry showcased the integration of the virtual agent we provided for a leading telecommunications company in the UK with the live chat product offered by one of our partners. The integration provided a seamless handover from the virtual agent to a live chat agent within the same template. This handover was also signalled by the virtual agent avatar ‘walking off’ and a different avatar representing the live agent ‘walking on’. At the time, this was an extremely innovative approach to combining self-service with human-assisted service in a way that created an improved user experience. Around the same time another Creative Virtual customer, an online financial services company in the US, deployed a virtual agent in front of their existing live chat offering. Their goal was to reduce repetitive questions being handled by live agents which they easily achieved through an 80% reduction in live chat volumes.

These are just two early success stories that helped to draw attention to the potential benefits of bringing these technologies together. This narrative has also been greatly influenced by the evolution of customer expectations. While customers were once ok with simply having the options to communicate with organisations via multiple channels, now they still want those engagement channel options but with a seamless, omnichannel experience.

Widespread adoption of technology, such as smartphones, along with generational changes are having a big impact on how customers want to engage with brands. The future of the contact centre lies in a combination of virtual and real support. Organisations still viewing live chat and virtual agents as an either-or decision and as stand-alone tools instead of as complementary solutions are going to struggle to provide quality digital support experiences for their customers.

In order for live chat and virtual agents to work together in harmony, they need to be powered by a single knowledgebase and backed by a central knowledge management and workflow platform. This gives organisations the ability to keep information up-to-date and consistent across all self-service and human-assisted support channels which builds confidence with customers. Implementing a feedback loop that’s linked with the centralised knowledgebase and workflow enables live agents to provide real-time feedback on content that can easily be reviewed and used to action updates. Live chat agents become knowledge experts sharing the responsibility of keeping self-service channels up-to-date.

There is no doubt in my mind that the future of customer engagement is a blend of artificial intelligence (AI) and human thought. The combination of virtual agents and live chat powered by a single knowledgebase is defining current best practices and, with continuous innovation, will influence the future of customer engagement for organisations around the world.

Curious about how live chat and virtual agents can work together in perfect harmony for your organisation? Download a copy of the V-Person Live Chat™ Overview and then request a demo to see the industry-defining integration for yourself.

Improving the Customer and Employee Experience with Live Chat Innovation

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

Last year Creative Virtual officially introduced our new live chat product, V-Person Live Chat™, to the market and realised our vision of offering organisations the technology to enable seamless, fully-integrated, end-to-end customer engagement. That was an important milestone for the company, and since then we’ve been proud to see organisations use this technology both as a way to improve their customer service as well as to provide better employee support internally.

This week V-Person Live Chat earned us a spot as a finalist in the UK National Innovation Awards’ Live Chat category. Created by the Directors’ Club United Kingdom, the National Innovation Awards recognise business technology innovations and their impact on customer experience, employee engagement, operations performance, product creation and profitable growth. We’ll join the three other finalists in this category on Tuesday, 7th March for a live online final which will be judged by over 100 senior leaders involved in the customer service, customer contact, customer experience and digital spaces.

In order to qualify for this awards programme, those entering needed to show that their live chat technology results in one or more of the following positive impacts on an end-user’s organisation:

  • Improve the operational efficiency of delivering the live chat channel
  • Improve live chat integration in an omnichannel contact centre
  • Improve the customer experience of using live chat
  • Improve the contact centre agent’s experience of delivering live chat
  • Improve customer engagement and satisfaction
  • Improve employee engagement and satisfaction

I’m very proud of the fact that V-Person Live Chat ticks all of these boxes. We have designed and developed our entire suite of Smart Help solutions, including live chat, in order to help enterprises make these improvements. With V-Person Live Chat, we specifically looked to blend virtual and real customer support in a way that will assist contact centres with the transition to more automation. Our unique feedback loop, which enables live chat agents to help keep content accurate and consistent for both virtual and live agents without any extra effort, is defining industry best practice.

As we look to the future of the contact centre, it’s clear that live agents will become knowledge experts sharing the responsibility of keeping self-service channels up-to-date. This will help bridge the gap between these previously siloed engagement channels to improve the overall customer experience and meet the growing expectations of customers for 24/7 access to accurate information and support. By empowering customers with constantly improving self-service tools, live agents no longer have to repeatedly deal with basic questions and are freed up to develop expertise in dealing with more complex issues that require human assistance. This means contact centres benefit from lower costs, reduced staff turnover and more engaged, skilled and happier agents.

My thanks to the Directors’ Club United Kingdom and the National Innovation Awards judges for recognising our innovative live chat technology by naming Creative Virtual as a finalist. I’m looking forward to taking part in the live event final next month.

If you are currently using live chat and/or a chatbot to support customers or employees, or are just starting to think about implementing these tools, I encourage you to read more about V-Person Live Chat and request a personalised demo.

The Future of the Contact Centre

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

Much has been written over the last several years about Millennials and their customer service preferences. One article I read recently discussed the irony of the millennial generation’s hatred of making phone calls, despite them constantly using their phones. Another credited their digitally native approach to customer service for bringing about better customer experiences for all of us. The fact of the matter is, Millennials and the generation following them, sometimes referred to as iGen, are used to having instant access to information and prefer to find answers on their own rather than interacting with a live person. So what does that mean for the future of customer service and the contact centre?

In an interview with CRMXchange, Patrick Gallagher, Managing Director ANZ & North Asia at Creative Virtual, drew from his many years of experience in contact centres, IVR and customer experience applications to describe the change he is seeing:

“Over the past three decades, companies have invested millions in their contact centres, offering support to their customers that call to purchase, enquire, complain, apply or just need assistance. Traditionally this has been the ‘tried-and-tested’ option as companies continued to invest in their contact centre in order to build their customer support capability. But as customers move into digital channels (and the majority have already moved there), what are companies doing to ensure they are continuing to support their customers in the new digital channels and offer true online support to their customers? They now face a pressing need to be prioritising investments in online customer service tools, communicating and supporting their customers where they now live, in the online channels.”

Technology is altering the way customers engage with brands and increasing their demands for instant 24/7 customer service. They want effortless interactions with organisations and are increasingly leveraging self-service and digital channels for this reason. The traditional model for call centres and contact centres is no longer providing the experience customers have begun to demand, and customers won’t hesitate to take their business elsewhere when their expectations aren’t met. 2017 is going to be an important year for customer service as organisations look to meet – and exceed – the expectations of digitally-savvy, empowered customers, and changes in the contact centre and the job descriptions of customer service agents are going to be a key part of these transitions.

The new guide titled The Future of the Contact Centre: The Transitioning Role of Agents to Knowledge Experts explores what organisations can do to create and keep happy, loyal customers. It breaks down:

  • What changes contact centres are facing in 2017 and beyond
  • How virtual agents and chatbots fit perfectly with customer expectations
  • Why live agents taking on the role of knowledge experts benefits organisations, customers and the agents

While these contact centre changes won’t happen overnight, it’s important for organisations to shift their attitudes towards customer engagement and begin the transition now. The future of customer service lies in a combination of virtual and real support, and there are enormous opportunities for organisations in this new approach – not only in customer experience improvements but also on the cost savings and sales fronts. Download the new contact centre guide to learn more and help you start the discussion about the future of your contact centre.

CX in 2017: A Tale of Empowered Customers, AI and Self-Service

customer experience

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

For many the end of 2016 couldn’t come soon enough, with the dawn of the New Year bringing a fresh start and a clean slate. Yet, according to Forrester, companies are starting 2017 under attack. While traditionally we would think of this pressure as coming from competitors, today’s organisations are under attack from their customers. Forrester Analyst and Vice President Dane Anderson explains:

“Three years ago, Forrester identified a major shift in the market, ushering in the age of the customer. Power has shifted away from companies and towards digitally savvy, technology-empowered customers who now decide winners and losers.”

For example, Forrester identifies consumers in Asia Pacific as changing along five key dimensions:

  • Increasingly willing to experiment
  • Reliant on technology
  • Inclined to integrate digital and physical experiences
  • Able to handle large volumes of information
  • Determined to create the best experiences for themselves

Forrester has found these key points to explain evolving customer trends and increased customer empowerment. With highly empowered customers willing to take their business elsewhere for a new, exciting experience, organisations need to be customer-obsessed and constantly innovating in order to remain competitive.

This phenomenon isn’t confined to consumers in Asia Pacific. Digitally savvy, technology-empowered customers around the world are placing these expectations on organisations in all industries. Microsoft’s 2016 State of Global Customer Service Report found that an average of 90% of consumers surveyed in Brazil, Germany, Japan, the UK and the USA expect brands to have an online customer self-service portal. 97% of global consumers answered that customer service was either somewhat or very important in their choice of or loyalty to a brand, and 60% reported having stopped doing business with a brand due to a poor customer service experience.

2016 customer service

The analysts at Gartner have also been following these technology-driven changes in customer preferences. In their report Predicts 2017: CRM Customer Service and Support, they observe that AI is finding rapid uptake as a tool to provide better customer service and predict that by 2020 the use of virtual customer assistants (VCAs), also called virtual agents or chatbots, will increase by 1,000%. They also discuss how changing customer preferences will lead to an increased automation of customer service needs and a growing market for chatbots able to provide customer engagement over messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat. Gartner foresees VCAs and chatbots becoming a necessity for business-to-consumer organisations in order to deal with the demand for 24/7 support and the increased volume of customer interactions.

The panel of industry experts interviewed for Call Centre Helper’s annual Contact Centre Technology Predictions shared similar thoughts on the increase of self-service and the changing role of contact centres in 2017. One contributor predicted the replacement of FAQs with conversational systems that allow for dynamic two-way conversations. Another expert felt 2017 may be the year in which chatbots or virtual agents become widely used in call centres to alleviate workloads and help live agents focus more on important calls. Others echoed these insights through predictions that the investment in customer self-service will gather pace in 2017 and organisations will focus on engaging customers through conversational commerce.

It’s clear that organisations need to take action in 2017 in order to avoid being declared a loser by empowered customers, and digital self-service options will be key to successful customer engagement. This certainly isn’t a surprise to those in the industry. In fact, both Personal Assistants/Intelligent Agents and Artificial Intelligence were in the top four marketing-related searches of 2016 in the UK according to Microsoft’s Bing Ads.

But knowing you need to offer digital self-service and successfully implementing these tools as part of your overall customer engagement plan are two very different things. The best way to begin this journey is to educate yourself about digital engagement solutions, the advancements in and limitations of AI and customer expectations of self-service tools such as chatbots. The whitepaper Virtual Agents and Chatbots and Avatars – confusing or what! is a great resource to get you started on your path to creating a tale of customer experience success in 2017.

Your customers may not be giving you a fresh start when it comes to their opinion of your customer experience just because the new year is here, but there’s no time like the present to take a hard look at your CX strategy and identify where you can make improvements. Make 2017 the year digitally savvy, technology-empowered customers declare your company a winner!

A Chatbot Customer Service Deployment and Results for Large Hotel Chain

By Scott Tompkins, Enterprise Account Executive, Creative Virtual USA

Not sure if chatbots are right for you? Those on the fence often find it helpful to see the real world results that other organizations have achieved from using an AI virtual assistant. One Creative Virtual client took a bold approach to chatbot deployment, allowing them to see immediate gains in their digital deflection rate while lowering their expenditures.

The situation before chatbots

The client, a large international hotel company, was looking for a way to make customer service more efficient and free up support staff to handle more complicated matters. Because of the organization’s complexity and many different subsidiaries operating worldwide, they needed an intelligent solution that was capable of handling many different types of problems. They turned to our V-Person™ platform for help achieving these goals.

The chatbot solution

Creative Virtual’s chatbot solution was deployed across all 12 of the company’s subsidiary pages. Our virtual agent (VA) replaced their “Customer Care” page that included phone numbers, live chat information and FAQs. The knowledgebase has grown from 250 solutions to just over a 1000 in 18 months. Digital containment hovers around 80% meaning the end user didn’t ask for a phone/live chat and they also didn’t select “I need to speak with someone”. Creative Virtual’s VA is currently available in their web and mobile channels with multi-language capabilities.

How their AI virtual assistant launched

Instead of waiting and slowly releasing their chatbot to the public in small increments, this company took a bold approach – they deployed the AI virtual assistant on every page of every hotel brand and took a broad approach, asking the customer what they needed before suggesting any information. They took away links to other forms of support through phone and email.

In a worst-case scenario, the bot could provide the phone number for a support line if it could not answer a customer’s question. Initially, the bot was set up to answer between 50 and 75 specific inquiries – not a huge amount when you consider the size and scope of the company. Other companies in their position might have deployed chatbots much more slowly, using them for one specific purpose or waiting a long time to launch across the enterprise.

What were the results?

Immediately after launch, the company experienced a digital containment rate of 40%. Shortly after, it climbed to 60%, later maxing out at an impressive 80% containment. The company also reported that they could reduce their customer service spending by 30% soon after deploying the chatbot solution. By analyzing chatbot interactions, the company could identify key areas of improvement and iterate to continuously improve the virtual assistant’s value.

Conclusion

Chatbots can have an immediate impact on your customer service performance and spending – if you allow them to. Instead of waiting to deploy your chatbots in a more restricted way, model the approach of this client and allow your bot to handle as many customer interactions as possible. This will improve your digital containment rate and give you more data to make your chatbot even more successful.

5 Common Misconceptions About Chatbots

By Alexandra Clements, Sales Support Specialist, Creative Virtual USA

Any relatively new technology usually comes with many questions. Chatbots are no exception – uncertainty and disinformation about AI virtual agents are abundant, but that doesn’t mean these solutions aren’t valuable.

Here are five misconceptions about chatbots and the real story behind each one:

  1. Your chatbot solution needs to be extremely comprehensive before launch

Many first-time chatbot users make the mistake of limiting the way they deploy their virtual agents. These users believe that an imperfect solution is unacceptable – their virtual assistant must be able to address almost any question or concern before it goes live.

This approach will delay your ROI and stifle your virtual agent’s ability to reduce your customer service load. Prepare your chatbot for the most common, easily deflectable issues and then allow it to “self-correct” by racking up conversations and improving answers based on that data.

  1. Your chatbot should be loaded with knowledgebase data and product info

It’s certainly important for your AI virtual assistant to speak intelligently on your company and its offering. Your chatbot needs to have a baseline level of knowledge in order to successfully answer customer questions.

But improving its ability to hold conversations is exponentially more important than loading it up with knowledgebase articles. Configure your chatbot solution based on real conversations with customers – agent chat transcripts, phone logs, etc.

  1. An AI virtual assistant can function with 100% independence

Despite what you might see in the media, no chatbot or AI solution should be allowed free reign to interpret and understand human interaction on its own. Earlier this year, Microsoft attempted to launch a completely independent Twitter bot named Tay. The results were horrific, and the bot was quickly taken offline.

Tay is just one example of a broader point – your AI chatbot needs to have input from a real person to ensure that it stays on track and doesn’t have an embarrassing malfunction. Human input will also help ensure the AI virtual agent is learning about the most relevant customer service issues, based on previous conversations.

  1. Chatbots are just another knowledgebase for customers

It’s true that chatbots can be an excellent source of answers on a variety of important subjects relating to your business and its services. But you also have to consider the benefit of an AI virtual assistant as it relates to accessibility. Not only is a chatbot an easy way for customers to learn, it allows them to get answers around the clock, on whichever channel is best for their needs. A customer could send a text message inquiry on Christmas morning, and they would still get an immediate response from a chatbot.

  1. AI customer service solutions only affect customer service costs

Many companies considering chatbots believe they will only see benefits in the customer service department – less strain on staff, fewer calls and email inquiries, etc. However, a good chat bot solution will also be setup to proactively upsell and cross-sell, which can boost sales and recurring revenue. A properly calibrated chatbot will also improve customer satisfaction, since people will be able to get instant answers from your company whenever they want.

Don’t let misconceptions surrounding chatbots prevent you from enjoying a healthy ROI and an improved level of customer satisfaction in the experience. Creative Virtual’s V-Person™ solution was created to immediately improve customer service performance metrics and make customers feel better about interacting with you. With over 50 Million conversations and 80+% digital containment, Creative Virtual’s V-Person solution is Easy to Access across all channels. It is uniquely Conversational, Intelligent, and always improving the customer journey.

 

Virtual Agents and Chatbots and Avatars – Confusing or What!

By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager (Global)

I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone involved with customer service, marketing, customer engagement or sales who hasn’t heard something about chatbots this year. Along with all the attention and media buzz has come a wave of confusion for the marketplace. What’s the difference between a chatbot and a virtual agent? Should I be jumping on the bandwagon and offering a chatbot on Facebook Messenger? What do my customers actually want from a self-service virtual agent? Are bots just a passing fad for engaging my customers?

If any (or all!) of these questions left you scratching your head, don’t worry.  You’re certainly not alone. Even industry analysts and experts have taken a second look at how they view and talk about this technology. A new whitepaper, aptly titled Virtual Agents and Chatbots and Avatars – confusing or what!, acknowledges this confusion and sets out to demystify the names, uses and future of digital customer engagement tools. As we approach the end of 2016 and begin to look at what 2017 will bring for the customer experience and service space, this comprehensive whitepaper is a great resource for understanding automated conversational systems and how they fit into your overall customer engagement plan.  It walks readers through:

  • The names and terminology being used for these systems in the customer engagement space: Virtual agent, chatbot, avatar, virtual customer assistant, bot, virtual assistant, chatterbot – there have been lots of different names used over the years which has added to the confusion in the marketplace. The whitepaper looks at the different terminology being used and what customers expect you to call your self-service.
  • The technology and AI behind chatbots and virtual agents: “A chatbot called by any other name is still only as good as the technology powering it.” This whitepaper discusses the buzz around artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in relation to self-learning chatbots. It also addresses the types of features, functionality and integrations you should look for when exploring this technology for customer support.
  • Selecting a tool that’s right for your company and your customers: Step one is to determine how the solution will fit into your overall digital customer engagement plan. The series of questions presented in this whitepaper will help you choose a chatbot or virtual agent that fits with that plan and meets the very high expectations of today’s customers for 24/7 access to personalised, consistent and accurate information.
  • Current use cases for conversational self-service: Facebook Messenger’s introduction of chatbots was certainly a big announcement this year, but this technology has also been proven successful for providing self-service on other customer engagement channels as well. This whitepaper also goes beyond customer support to explore a compelling use case for using these tools for employee self-service, too.
  • Preparing for the future of digital customer engagement: Will chatbots play a role in the future of digital customer engagement or are they just a passing fad? With so many organisations working with tight budgets and limited resources, this is an important question to explore before investing in any new technology. Backed by industry statistics and analyst predictions, you’ll get a peek into the future of the contact centre and digital engagement.

Ready to leave your chatbot confusion behind? Download a full copy of this whitepaper to help you explore the possibility of chatbots being a win-win for your organisation and your customers.

6 Foolproof Customer Engagement Strategies Using Chatbots

By Frank Schneider, VP of Sales, North America

Since the rise of AI applications in the business world, chatbots’ influence on customer engagement has been a hot topic. Enterprises using or considering AI virtual assistants must have an effective plan for improving customer engagement.

Below are a few tips to help your virtual agents create a first-class customer experience.

  1. Start with mobile

Many large, older organizations make the mistake of believing that their virtual assistants should be configured first and foremost for desktop use. However, Google announced in 2015 that mobile had surpassed desktop in search traffic in several large countries. Research from April 2016 shows that in the U.S., 65% of digital media time is spent on mobile, compared to just 35% on desktop. You should be planning customer engagement strategies for mobile channels first, and then ensuring they work everywhere else.

  1. Don’t get locked into a platform-based solution

Many customer engagement providers are touting solutions for a specific social media platform or communication channel. While it’s great to have a way to engage with customers where they are, there are risks to hitching your wagon to a single-platform solution that isn’t specifically fitted to each channel. Leave your organization some flexibility when it comes to how you reach customers with your digital engagement solutions.

  1. Use personalized recommendations

Personalization of content is a primary focus in the commercial world, especially in B2C applications. Think about the apps, websites and social media profiles set up to customize a person’s experience with a brand. Chatbots can and should be one of these tools. By checking someone’s purchase history, account status, and previous interactions with the company, your virtual agent provides tailored recommendations that not only please customers, but help improve revenues through cross-selling and upselling.

  1. Leverage a proven chatbot solution

There are many new and experimental virtual agents in today’s market. Since Facebook opened up its Messenger application to chatbots in spring 2016, over 11,000 bots have joined the platform. If you’re trying to choose a chatbot solution for your company, don’t pick one solely based on its features or the way it’s presented to you: find one with a verifiable track record of helping large enterprise clients deliver these solutions at scale.

  1. Take advantage of old chat logs and phone transcripts

The best virtual agent solutions learn from your previous conversations across other channels. You should have an AI virtual assistant analyze logs from customer interactions with live agents – both phone and chat – so it can learn about common issues and understand how to resolve them before having a single conversation.

  1. Don’t wait for customers to initiate the interaction

To reach the next level of engagement, you can’t wait for customers to contact you with problems they are experiencing. You must attempt to get ahead of their issues by prompting them to talk about their use of your product or service. A quality chatbot can be set up to initiate an interaction through SMS, mobile, and/or desktop with customers about topics important to your business.

 

As the leader in virtual customer service, Creative Virtual specializes in the science of conversation.