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Virtually Speaking

Can You Call It Web “Self-Service” Just Yet?

Posted by Taylor Paulsen on Sep 12, 2012 1:14:12 PM


The 24 hours of round-trip travelling from Spokane to Sao Paulo, Brazil is not too appealing, but the city is amazing and their pizza is fantastic! Dublin, Ireland is just gorgeous, and renting a car is by far the best way to see it all!

If you’re getting a bit envious of the multiple stamps in my passport book, don’t. I rarely get to use mine – I just book the travel.

As someone who coordinates the travel for 80+ people at Next IT, I get to indulge in all the great details learned while booking to the various cities and countries our business sometimes takes us. Knowing all the ins and outs of a city – the transportation, the food, the hotels – is part of my job. So is knowing someone’s food allergies, hotel preference, and where on a 747 they like to sit. Knowing the ins and outs of a travel website’s page infrastructure, however, is not part of my job. Spending 10 minutes searching a poorly designed website and 45 minutes on the phone – all to change a ticket – is not enjoyable. I try to ensure that every trip, whether across states or seas, is a seamless experience for my team. So where are the websites that try to ensure that I, the user, have the same seamless experience? Companies like to say their websites are "self-service," but are they really?

With the latest conversational technology, they can be. Websites featuring Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs) make quality self-service possible and provide a much-needed seamless user experience.  With an IVA at my fingertips, I can simply ask how many bags “I” can take on “my” trip to Dublin or how much it will cost “me” to change my flight dates to New York City. IVAs provide instantaneous information when I need it . . . not 45 minutes later.

Improving the self-service experience with an IVA creates an invaluable benefit for your users and can go a long way toward gaining a "customer for life."   In fact, it is no longer the "Contact Us" link that my eyes scan for. Rather, it is the face of your company, ready when I am to answer as many questions as I need, in the little time I have. Thanks for making my life easier, IVAs; I can now concentrate on the important tasks at hand, like the two travel requests that just hit my inbox. I just might have some extra time to oogle at Paris pictures…

Topics: Business, Intelligent Virtual Assistants, User experience