As malls fade to black, it’s no secret that customers are shopping online for everything from shoes to insurance and even groceries. A recent report found that urban shoppers are 90 percent more likely than the average shopper to rank online ordering capabilities within the top three most important attributes for their grocery shopping experience.
So, what are companies doing to meet customers where they are and optimize digital channels to create positive customer experiences? After all, customer experience is directly tied to revenue.
In the Age of Information, if companies want to boost digital customer experience, they should strongly consider an intelligent virtual assistant.
Intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs), chatbots, and Conversational AI are hot topics right now and for good reason. The technology’s unparalleled ability to provide a great CX while also driving revenue and providing rich analytics to help companies to future proof their strategies make them an easy and smart choice.
Conversational AI Wins Customers and Creates Thriving Fans. Here’s How:
1. Appreciation and Respect of Your Customer’s Time
If you’re looking to boost metrics like CSAT (customer satisfaction) and NPS (net promoter scores), look no further than the clock. A key factor in expressing that you care about your customer and their experience is by respecting their time.
With an IVA or enterprise chatbot, companies can offer customers immediate support, 24/7, 365. That’s way beyond “normal business hours” and instead of making your customers sift through your website to find the info they’re looking for, the technology can offer a single, correct resolution in the most personalized and direct way possible – saving valuable time.
In the age of Instagram, insta-meals and insta-everything, an IVA is one of the best ways to save time and win customers.
2. Intelligent Virtual Assistants Offer Consistent Experiences
Why is offering a consistent experience imperative to a good customer experience? Because it wins your customer’s trust.
Building relationships with customers based on trust and loyalty takes time. Customers base their expectations on previous experiences and that’s why companies should ensure that your interactions with your customers on any channel are consistent, on-brand and of high quality.
Since customers interact with companies on a wide variety of channels and endpoints, with every demographic having its unique preferences, an intelligent virtual assistant’s multi-channel capabilities can assist your customers on any channel of choice. Additionally, IVAs deliver delightful, on-brand experiences and will never stray from the script.
When we build our intelligent virtual assistants at Verint Next IT, we think a lot about the importance of trust. So, we build them keeping in mind essential elements like boundaries, reliability, accountability, non-judgment and more to ensure they deliver consistent, trust-building interactions. In the not so distant future, I think you’ll see that the entire digital brand experience will be a consistent conversation with a machine that earns your trust.
Photo by Adam Jang
3. Real-Time Information and Assistance
When customers can’t find the information they need on your website, they end up calling your call center or sending an email to customer support which drives up costs and wastes time. What’s more unfortunate, according to SuperOffice’s Customer Service Benchmark Report, is that 62% of companies do not respond to customer service emails and that only 20% of companies are able to answer questions in full on the first reply, continuing to worsen the customer experience.
To win customers, your company must be able to keep them up-to-date without wasting their time on hold or in a live-chat queue. When intelligent assistant technology is properly integrated with dynamic data sources (like contact management systems, flight schedules, pricing repositories, stock prices or local weather), it can provide real-time information without the wait.
This especially comes in handy when customers are experiencing unexpected service issues. In the case of power outages, energy companies can give real-time updates to customers based on account zip code information, or in the case of natural disasters or inclement weather, transportation companies can keep customers aware of delays through specialized messaging.
Not only does it provide real-time information and assistance that customers want but it has also saved companies like Amtrak, over $1 million in customer service emails costs in a single year.
4. Easy Findability and Intuitive Interactions
You’ve probably heard the adage, “Finders, keepers; losers weepers,” which references that if you find something lost or abandoned, whoever finds it first can keep it. Unfortunately, many companies have a ton of info buried on their website, making the customers who’ve come there searching for information, leave on the losing side and feel more frustrated than ever.
Although search engines are a step in the right direction, there’s a better way to create the shortest path between a user’s need and the resolution.
When search engines are provided to help customers, most use a content-first approach and requires a customer to know exactly what they need and how to reference it. If the “appropriate” key terms are not used, often searches can come up fruitless. With an intelligent virtual assistant, the technology uses goal-based dialogue that’s relevant to the customer’s specific need. By asking questions to the customer to clarify their intent and context, an IVA not only finds and provides the information but is also capable of navigating the customer to the appropriate web page with more related information.
Best yet, little to no time is spent learning how to use the technology. All the customer has to do is simply ask.
5. Personalized Experiences
According to a RedPoint Global survey, which surveyed more than 3,000 consumers in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, more than half, 63 percent, of consumers expect personalization as a standard of service and believe they are recognized as an individual when sent special offers.
This is great news for companies who have integrated their intelligent virtual assistant with a knowledge management system or other systems of record as they can exceed expectations by offering customers a personalized experience like no other. For example, after a customer logs into their online account, the intelligent virtual assistant can pull information from secure accounts and dynamic data sources allowing businesses to offer highly contextual, highly personalized experiences. With the proper permissions and integration, the IVA can leverage account information, customer purchasing history, customer profiles and provide clients with personalized responses, specific to their account, rather than a one-size-fits-all response.
Additionally, an IVA can notify customers about targeted marketing promotions, alert them about account-specific activities that require action, and make customers aware of relevant account benefits.
“Everyone has the will to win but very few have the will to prepare to win.” – Vince Lombardi
All in all, the use of AI-based intelligent virtual assistant and chatbot technology is impacting businesses across industries. The technology's ability to save customers’ time while providing personalized, intuitive and easy experiences is forging new relationships with customers. Companies who offer intelligent virtual assistants are showing their customers that they value their business and care about their experiences. That’s why intelligent virtual assistants are winning the hearts, loyalty and business of today’s digital customers.
Ready to get started? You can prep for your win by utilizing Verint Next IT’s AI Blueprint. Read our guide to learn how you can leverage your existing data to build a successful intelligent virtual assistant strategy.