On-premise agents were once the gold standard for customer service. However, as client expectations and technology evolved, so did the customer care industry. Intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) are now more prevalent than ever.
But is investing in IVAs worth it for your business?
The short answer: absolutely. Virtual agents can help your business provide more attentive customer service while conserving in-house resources. Here are some key reasons to invest in an IVA in 2021.
To Extend Customer Service Hours
Even if your business has human representatives on the clock, it can be difficult to sustain 24/7 support. This is especially true if you have a global customer base. Many businesses in this position will rely on offshore customer service representatives, who don’t always provide the quality of service you expect.
Intelligent virtual agents remove this obstacle, providing real-time support through multiple channels at any time of the day. Customers can now access the information they need when and how they want, no matter their time zone.
To Offer Self-Service Solutions
Today’s customers are constantly on the go. They want to quickly find the resources they’re looking for, and this need has led to the rise of customer self-service. Virtual agents merge self-service with personalized support by directing customers toward your business’s knowledge base.
Tools like voice assistants and chatbots can cover these simple requests, so your on-premise agents can handle more complex requests. This setup puts more power into your customers’ hands, allowing them to access information in the most convenient way possible. But your business will still have full control over the IVA script and knowledge base.
To Broaden Customer Options
Some customers will prefer to talk to another person to resolve their problem. However, others would rather find a solution digitally. By adding an IVA to your customer service system, you’re offering more customer service options and catering to unique client needs.
A client can use a chatbot feature, speak with a voice assistant, or wait to speak with a human representative. These options won’t only boost customer satisfaction, they’ll also disperse cases across the department so no one channel becomes overloaded.
To Increase Call Capacity
High-volume call centers can easily become overwhelmed when relying on human agents exclusively, leading to tedious hold times. Adding an IVA solution to your customer service toolbox will help your business field more calls at once.
The benefits of expanded capacity are twofold. Your customers can enjoy shorter hold times, while your on-premise agents can provide more attentive service to the clients on the phone. Better still, by lightening the load, your virtual agents will take some stress away from your employees.
To Decrease Handling Time
Handling time is another common challenge in high-volume call centers. Even with a detailed call menu, your system may still route customers to the wrong person. This leads to frequent call transfers, repetitive holds for customers, and frustration on both ends.
Fortunately, IVAs eliminate the guesswork by accurately routing customers to the correct resources. The result? A reduction in average handle time (AHT) and more satisfied customer base.
To Cut Operational Costs
Delegating the full range of customer service responsibilities to on-premise representatives can be costly. You may be paying multiple on-premise agents to do repetitive tasks that virtual agents could easily handle. Plus, you’re paying for the office space to house all these agents.
Businesses that invest in virtual agents will likely notice a reduction in overall operational costs, and the return on investment can be significant. Virtual agents streamline the service process, making the entire customer care department more efficient (without the need for extra desks and chairs).
To Boost Agent Morale
Provided you’ve trained them well, your customer service agents are highly knowledgeable in your industry. However, your business may be wasting their talents by assigning repetitive tasks on a daily basis. With today’s technology, you sure don’t need human reps to provide an account balance or change a billing address. Agents stuck with humdrum tasks may experience a dip in morale, which can drag down the employee experience department-wide.
Give your agents a boost by delegating routine tasks to your IVA. This frees up your on-premise agents to handle more complex tasks and provide support for your high-priority customers. Human agents will feel more fulfilled in this customer support model, potentially leading to higher employee retention and greater overall job satisfaction.
To Ensure Compliance
Industries like healthcare and financial services handle sensitive customer information on a daily basis. Federal and state laws, including HIPAA and the California Consumer Privacy Act, establish strict privacy regulations for businesses and organizations. One slip-up could lead to major fines. Fortunately, IVAs offer a more secure way to handle sensitive customer data.
By using an IVA system to gather sensitive customer information, your business eliminates the risk of human error and ensures ongoing compliance. You can also increase customer trust by automating this data handling.
To Project a Dynamic Brand Image
When seeking to show customers that your company is cutting-edge, you might not consider customer service your Exhibit A. However, the steps you take to improve customer experience will also improve your image as a trail-blazing brand.
By adding virtual agents to your customer care program, you’re showing your clients that you’re a tech-forward company that puts customer needs first. And your satisfaction scores will prove this.
To Build Scalable Solutions
As a growing business, you need a customer support solution that scales with you. However, adding on-premise agents with each growth milestone can be costly and time-consuming. You also run the risk of needing to let employees go if your business doesn’t sustain the growth.
This is why IVAs are a great option for businesses on the rise. A virtual agent requires no onboarding or training. Rather, the system immediately absorbs the extra volume that your call center is experiencing, creating a smoother experience for your on-premise agents.
No matter your industry, your customers are the foundation of your business. Investing in tools to boost customer satisfaction can yield tangible results. Intelligent virtual agents will soon become the norm, and now is the time to capitalize on this valuable tool. Your customers, employees, and revenue will share in the benefits.