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Helping Financial Organisations Deliver 24/7 Customer Support: Part 2

By Laura Ludmany, Knowledgebase Engineer

As described in my previous post, financial organisations find themselves under immense pressure due to the unfolding coronavirus crisis; they have to respond quickly to rapid changes. Delivering excellent customer service is more important than ever, as it can be a real ‘make it or break it’ experience for customers looking for quick answers in these uncertain times. I’m going to describe a retail bank’s response to this demand.

In this project, we have built a successful collaboration with the product owners: the client is involved in the content curation process, adding new and amending existing questions and answers, while Creative Virtual deals with the AI related and more complicated tasks, such as NLP (natural language processing), semantics and approvals. However, this workflow can be easily altered at any time, and we can step in to manage and take care of the content completely if this is required.

The product owner of the virtual agent also works closely with their live chat department, enabling the bank to fully optimise their virtual agent content based on their live chat agents’ feedback. This is an extremely beneficial symbiosis – by this continuous cooperation, the virtual agent takes the pressure off the live chat centre and the live chat agents can improve the performance of the chatbot. In early March, after having sent the initial quick review of coronavirus user inputs, there was a very speedy and effective response from the bank. Based on the analysis provided by Creative Virtual, plus their call centre and live chat feedback, they were able to identify the most frequent (and pressing) queries and produce new FAQs for the virtual agent to cover these. This content was placed under a dedicated new FAQ category and also displayed as start content, to make it fully visible and accessible for users.

In this way, the retail bank was really successful in promoting their active ownership of the situation at an early stage. These times can be a dividing line for the marketplace, as reactivity and speed of solution delivery can really win customers’ trust; and a vague general information or a Contact us page won’t help, as each user is looking for a precise answer matching their individual needs. In these unprecedented times, I have found myself reaching out for specific information, often at odd times of the day, and even well-established companies are failing to fulfil the demand to provide effective customer self-service tools. With everything being up in the air, customers are simply not in a mindset to browse through the Help pages, which seem like a maze when searching for that tiny bit of crucial information they need.

As events unfolded, our product owner at this bank was extremely strained due to the high number of customer queries coming through their call centre and live chat departments, thus asked us to take over. This is one of the benefits of our orchestration platform and AI solutions – our clients can look after their own virtual agent, but it doesn’t have to be forgotten and left alone if they suddenly need to put their internal focus elsewhere. The Creative Virtual team can always step in and provide full-service support in these situations to keep the virtual agent regularly updated at especially critical times.

One of the other benefits of our flexible workflows, strong collaborations and close relations with our clients is that we can reduce our turn-around times significantly. As Knowledgebase Engineers work on different projects, we can bring over discoveries to other projects and work on targeted content updates very effectively. I love looking after several projects, as I always get fresh ideas and it’s never a dull day. During this pandemic period, we have created special coronavirus related knowledge packs which are quite easy to implement in multiple projects, so our completion time of required updates became very low. By being involved in and managing these different datasets, we see a more holistic view of user behaviour patterns and can suggest ways to improve customer experience accordingly.

This is a fast-paced period – as things develop, more and more content needs to be amended so the virtual agent is being optimised continuously. However, this client uses a smart approach to deal with rapid changes to sustain the high level of quality answers. In cases when certain FAQs might need to be updated weekly (or even daily), there has been a switch to use reassuring and supportive language, describing the nature of uncertainty of the topic and inserting a link to the appropriate websites (both bank and government sides), where customers can keep an eye on regular updates. Our stats show a high customer satisfaction on these virtual agent answers. Being able to understand the question and deliver an appropriate link to the right section of the website is already enough to give users peace of mind.

Based on this observation, another way this retail bank is maximising their virtual agent has been using it to promote other self-service options on their website to customers. Whenever they have options such as online application platforms, downloadable dispute and refund forms and so forth, the virtual agent will deliver an answer that proactively guides customers to these sections. By updating and adding FAQs to handle these queries too, they have been able to take more pressure off their overly busy contact centres.

With these steps and high level of responsiveness, this retail bank continues to provide immediate support to their customers through their Creative Virtual powered chatbot. Available 24/7 and able to handle thousands of real time user queries simultaneously, the AI-enhanced tool is giving some comfort and peace of mind to customers in these uncertain times.

If your organisation could benefit from offering your own virtual agent, check out this Best Practices Whitepaper from destinationCRM on selecting a virtual agent for your self-service project. You can also request a personalised demo to see how Creative Virtual’s solutions can fit with your internal workflows to improve the self-service you offer.

A Successful Self-Service Strategy Requires Looking at the Bigger Picture

By Mandy Reed, Global Head of Marketing

Businesses around the world are navigating through unchartered and very uncertain waters at the moment, making difficult decisions and trying to stay afloat. With physical offices and locations closed, many are struggling with the influx of customer questions to their contact centres – an issue that may be compounded by the sudden need to support agents working from home.

Self-service tools, such as conversational chatbots and virtual agents, are a great option to help alleviate some of the pressure from the contact centre and give customers a better option for finding quick answers to their questions. Organisations with an existing self-service solution have a definite advantage. Organisations without one – or with a solution that isn’t up to the challenge – know they must take action right away.

While companies needing to implement a new self-service solution or upgrade an existing one are feeling a sense of urgency, they still need to be thoughtful about the technology they select and how it is implemented. Having a successful self-service strategy requires looking at the bigger picture of your overall customer service and experience. By not doing that, organisations run the risk of making their current situation worse by frustrating customers even more with a disjointed and unhelpful self-service experience.

The good news is that even if organisations take the time to be thoughtful about how a new self-service solution will fit in with the bigger picture, it’s still possible to move the project forward quickly. Working with a vendor that has extensive experience and a deep understanding of how to implement the technology for both quick wins and long-term success is key.

Here are two recently published resources that will help any organisation jumpstart their quest for a successful self-service solution:

How to Select a Chatbot or Virtual Agent for Your Self-Service Project

Download here >>

Part of destinationCRM’s Best Practices Series, this guide provides insider tips for selecting a chatbot or virtual agent to positively impact your customer care. There are recommendations both for companies deploying a chatbot or virtual agent for the first time as well as those struggling with an existing poor-performing chatbot. It breaks down selection criteria for these self-service solutions to help you select the best technology to meet your current needs and enable long-term success.

 

The Inner Circle Guide to AI-Enabled Self-Service

Download here >>

This independent research report published by ContactBabel explores survey responses from consumers on their preferences and usage of self-service channels as well as use cases and results from organisations currently offering self-service options. It takes a deep dive into opportunities for using AI, machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to improve self-service channels. The report guides organisations on important questions to ask and pitfalls to avoid when implementing a new or updated self-service channel.

 

A large part of the world may be panic buying toilet paper, but organisations don’t need to panic about their self-service strategy. By taking a step back to look at their overall customer experience (CX) and working with experts in conversational AI, chatbots and virtual agents, they can make sound decisions while moving forward quickly.

Creating the Best Conversations with Digital Customers

By Liam Ryan, Sales Director

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with many company executives looking for ways to improve their customer service and support. As more and more emphasis has been placed on the customer experience as a competitive differentiator, it’s become increasingly important to organisations to provide quick and easy support options for digital customers. Companies are looking for the best way to manage customer engagement and create positive experiences.

I’m proud to say that Creative Virtual’s technology has once again been recognised as the being the best in these areas. We’ve been named ‘Best for Self-Service Customer Experience Management Solutions 2017’ and ‘Best Natural Language & Knowledge Management Technology: V-Person Mobile™’ by the 2017 UK Enterprise Awards!

There’s no denying that we’re living in a mobile-first world with digital customers who prefer quick, easy self-service options. It’s become essential for companies to provide seamless and effortless support to customers on their preferred devices, or risk losing customers to competitors that do. With Creative Virtual’s V-Person virtual agents, organisations can engage customers in natural language conversations and provide the digital self-service customers want. By maintaining content for all self-service channels, as well as human-assisted channels, in a central knowledgebase, companies can easily manage the customer experience and ensure that they are providing consistent and reliable information no matter how customers engage.

Liam Ryan, APSIRecently I was invited to speak about chatbots and virtual agents at an event in Luxembourg focused on software robotics and artificial intelligence. There’s been lots of buzz around AI and chatbots lately, but it’s important to look past all the hype to be realistic about these solutions. At Creative Virtual, we know that customer service is not the place for pure AI and so we use an industry-defining combination of self-learning and human curation of content for our chatbots and virtual agents. I explained during my presentation how this hybrid approach enables the system to continually improve while also allowing control over the reliability of virtual agent responses.

It is this approach to self-learning combined with the backing of V-Portal™, our knowledge management, workflow management and business intelligence reporting platform, that makes our natural language self-service solutions stand out in the marketplace. Our virtual agents are answering over 50 million questions a year, and that number is constantly growing.

Request your own live demo to see how you can create the best conversations with your digital customers.

My thanks to the UK Enterprise Awards for recognising Creative Virtual with these two awards. You can read our official award announcement here.