By Mandy Reed, Marketing Manager
We’ve written a lot about virtual assistants and their benefits. So have other reputable firms like Forrester and Gartner. And while everyone agrees it’s an emerging technology that warrants greater investigation, how many people are actually using it?
We wanted to get a sense of virtual assistant adoption when we fielded the 2013 Global Customer Service Outlook Survey. What we discovered is that approximately 1/3 of respondents currently use virtual assistant technology. While we’re not surprised at such a high ratio, we do believe it should be higher simply because of the benefits virtual assistants provide in delivering customer service satisfaction. We can easily point to the obvious ones like 24/7 service and automation, but when you think about virtual assistants as a multi-channel management tool, the possibilities are endless.
Virtual Assistants on the Web Channel
In the survey, we asked respondents to tell us where they currently used or planned to use virtual assistant technology. In EMEA, 70% currently use or plan to use virtual agents on their home page and in their customer service section. 40% use or plan to use in their call centre followed by live chat and on smartphones, both at 30%.
In North America, 81% planned to use virtual agents on their website in the customer service section and 67% use or planned to use virtual agents in conjunction with live chat. Another 38% use or plan to use virtual agents in the call centre as well as on their home page, and in the product sections.
Virtual Assistants on Mobile and Social Channels
However, mobile seemed to be the next popular channel with most respondents with smartphones as the key contender. When it came to social networks, 20% said they were planning or currently using Facebook and Twitter to deploy their virtual assistants. LinkedIn also came in as a contender for EMEA at 10%. In North America, Facebook was the most popular channel at 9.5% for virtual assistants (significantly lower than in EMEA) followed by Twitter at 5%. LinkedIn was not seen as a viable channel for virtual assistants in North America.
Virtual assistants are a viable tool to support a multi-channel strategy. Measuring effectiveness can be achieved by analysing call deflection and customer satisfaction rates, in addition to online sales and customer engagement. By pairing a virtual assistant with a robust knowledgebase, companies can reduce customer support costs yet provide a holistic customer experience throughout every channel.
Learn more by downloading the full results of the 2013 Global Customer Service Outlook Survey.