CX Day: A Look at Virtual Agents

By Courtney Schreier, Marketing Manager, Americas

It’s funny to look back on this first annual CX Day and reflect on the fact that the term “customer experience” is relatively new.  The field itself is in its infancy, when we take into account all the data points and research that really goes into defining how to create an optimal customer experience.  It’s not just based on the negative comments we receive in our “suggestions” box anymore.

A few years back, we just lumped everything into customer service, and the best part of the good old kind of customer service was getting to speak to a real live human on the phone.  I remember being a kid listening to my mother chat with the customer service agent at the other end of the Sears catalog line.  But gone are the days where a consumer will patiently wait to get through to a representative without thinking twice about spending their time listening to your hold music.  Growing up Millenial, I easily learned to abhor the endless time placed on hold, the feeling that a company didn’t care about my time and saw my only value as being a couple of cents measured on their bottom line.

customer_surveyIn fact, consumers now are interacting with customer service on borrowed time, trying to squeeze that quick service request into their cable service provider between conference calls or juggling their online credit card bill paying service before daycare ends.  Consumers want to solve their problems in the fastest, easiest route possible, and they often don’t believe this route goes through another person.  In fact, given the choice many consumers will prefer to self-service online.

Based on the Temkin’s Group Ultimate Customer Experience Infographic we shared in a previous post, it seems obvious that organizations should invest resources in meeting customers’ changing support needs in order to convert them into being coveted promoters.  Promoters are 5.2 times more likely to purchase more from the company and are 5.8 times more likely to forgive the same company if it makes a mistake. Yet organizations are struggling to deliver that “wow” experience to their customers.

Intelligent virtual agents, which provide self-service options 24/7, are a perfect way for customer-centric companies to achieve the personalized, branded interactions that their customers crave in order to convert them into promoters.  This technology has come a long way in recent years, with newer generations of virtual agents being integrated easily and seamlessly across multiple channels, so the conversation you start on a mobile device, for example, can easily be concluded from the laptop in your living room. Organizations can provide engagement with customers on their preferred channel, whenever and wherever they want it, thereby delivering a great experience and converting them into promoters. So on this day of celebrating great customer experience, don’t forget to give some recognition to intelligent virtual agents.