by Tim Sanger, Regional Vice President, Sales
I don’t know about you, but I really like smart people. I appreciate the fact that when I ask them a question, they come up with the REAL answer. Not some made-up, nearly true or wholly unbelievable answer which requires further investigation, but a genuine article of truth. Over time, I learn to trust their guidance and they become one of my “go to’s” for information. They would for sure be the one I would give a “shout out” to, if I ever found myself in the Cash Cab.
Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA) are fast becoming the “smartest people in the room” within the world of telecommunications, finance, software, health care, travel…you name it; if you show me a corporation with a large amount of customers, I’ll show you where an IVA will help or is helping to improve the customer experience while reducing operational effort. More important than both of those considerations, I’ll show you where there is an opportunity to build brand trust which leads to the all-important holy grail of brand loyalty.
I cut my teeth within the call center industry; specifically within the outsourced call center industry where good chairs for reps are a premium and where margins are as thin as the lunch meat my mom used to buy. From a unique perspective, I’ve seen how corporations spend millions formulating the correct message, how they spend millions more to create training material around the delivery of that message and then, at the precise point of delivery (when a Customer Service Agent is 1 on 1 with the customer) lose millions when that message is altered. In addition to the millions of dollars which are lost, more impactful is the fact that there is a degradation of trust and loyalty. Death by a thousand cuts, if you will.
Intelligent Virtual Agents become as smart as you allow them to be, they never forget the correct answer to customers’ questions and they always deliver the message in a manner which supports your brand identity. Simply put, IVAs quickly become the “smartest people in the room” and customers learn very quickly to trust the information those IVAs present. Focus group studies have proven that customers actually trust the information an IVA will deliver over that of a call center representative because the IVA is able to immediately present the customer with “back-up” information such as a web article, your bank statements – even your last conversation. I’ve even experienced situations where (in a corporate environment) an executive has said “what is the REAL answer to X” and someone in the room invariably says “Let’s ask the IVA”; a true testament to the validity of the source, when the very people who managed its creation now rely on it as their “go to”…their Cash Cab friend.