Part 4: Experiences Matter
Through this blog series I have spoken about, through Virtual Agent, it is easier to empower users, create more opportunities for contactless resolution and create better operational insights and accuracy.
This is to achieve an end goal.
This end goal is to achieve a better service experience for users and customers. Virtual Agent really drives this home by focusing on the elements mentioned throughout this blog series. This is largely due to the Virtual Agent’s ability to evolve as your employees and organisation does. It allows a user’s or customer’s experience to be front and centre, as it provides the opportunity to improve consistently, even if there is staff turnover.
This is done by bringing across the knowledge from previous employees to the current and future employees as a sort of synthetic genetic history (through the Virtual Agent's flows). Although in theory, staff turnover should happen less as agents can refocus on more engaging work due to the virtual agent taking over most of the daily mundane work. These blog entries have largely been focused on positives and the next point has only been touched upon previously, but a Virtual Agent is there to offer another option, not replace completely, for users to interact with the service desk. The key point there is that it is an option.
These articles have been centred around the reasons why Virtual Agent is a useful addition to your organisation and how it can dramatically improve the service experience, but Virtual Agent should never replace all other avenues that users can use to access the information or raise issues.
Some users know where to look, so forcing them to use the Virtual Agent would frustrate them. Not only that, sometimes it is an emergency, so being forced to go down the Virtual Agent path will just delay something that should not be delayed.
It is important not to forget the fact that accessibility is also important, so offering a phone helpline may also be helpful for users with poor eyesight or bad internet connections. In addition to this, there are some queries that are just so specific that doing anything other than chatting to a person will not be efficient or beneficial.
As a result, a Virtual Agent should not replace all other options as an attempted cost cutting measure or in an attempt to be “cutting edge”.
It may be tempting thought as your Virtual Agent matures that you consider outright replace certain options, but this should not be done without ensuring there are other clear options for your user base and that the service experience is not negatively impacted as a result.
Evolving Your Business
When you begin your Virtual Agent journey though, it may not solve the issue alone, but can gather more information before handing it off to a person via web chat or otherwise, which ensures the service desk can focus their efforts on more complex issues or necessary contact.
An example of this is serving the users better who need to user a different resolution method, such as a phone call. When a Virtual Agent becomes a more prominent element within you organisation however, there will be time for people to work on other more, previous considered “only if time persists” projects.
This is important for several reasons, but largely because it opens agent’s time to be able to work on a variety of other initiatives in the organisation. They can up-skill and learn skills to provide newer and more useful services to their customers. Service agents can strive to become more user experience focused and become experts in understanding how to help customers, as opposed to regurgitating the same information day in and day out.
Your business will be able to review new initiatives to either become more profitable, by being able to focus on what you currently offer or expanding and investigating options that previously seemed untenable due to resourcing constraints. Chat bots and Virtual Agents tend to be over-hyped, but using it correctly can be a huge benefit to your organisation.
Even if the Virtual Agent only helps in evolving your business only slightly, some of that hype is warranted as that may be enough to bring your organisation to the next level.
Over the past couple of months, this blog series has largely been focused on positives, but with every positive and idealistic plan in mind, it is important to have a dose of realism, which this blog entry focused on.
That’s not to say Virtual Agent is not a worthwhile endeavor, quite the contrary, but starting a journey with only the positives in mind can be potentially damaging to your organisation. In summary, in the first blog entry we focused on the concept of empowerment. Not only empowering users, but also service agents and the organisation as a whole.
This was further highlighted in the second entry when we focused on the user and service agent level by discussing the concept of contactless resolution. From a user perspective, this was being able to raise issues out of hours and solve it on their own when is convenient for them, without staying on hold whilst they are asked to turn their machine off and on again.
From an agent’s perspective, contactless resolution allowing service agents to work on different projects and stop working on mundane tasks day in and day out and now being able to focus on service experience. Then focusing on empowerment on an organisational level, as discussed in the third blog entry as a virtual agent assists with improving operational insights and accuracy. This meant using newly gathered and accurate data to improve the experience even further and potentially solve more issues proactively.
Finally, this article highlighted the fact that even though Virtual Agent has all these benefits, this is a journey that needs to properly be planned for and not used as the singular point of entry for a user or customer. This journey can be made easier by people who have helped other organisations down this journey, as they can bring their experiences and suggestions in the best way to introduce it slowly and effectively.
Without making this sound like a sales pitch, this is often where consultants come in to play and can recommend a good starting point to start this journey and equip your service agents for the future. Regardless however, I hope this blog series has been informative and has ensured that your customers and users are more a focal point than ever. Thanks for reading!
Thank you for taking the time to read this four-part series. If you have not already, take a read of the earlier parts and see what you missed!
If not, reach out to us at JDS Australia if you want to begin your virtual agent journey. In doing so, we hope that we can assist in empowering your people, allowing a higher rate of contactless resolution, improving operational insights and accuracy and ensuring that that experience of your users, matter.