Virtual assistants in call centers are becoming commonplace in 2022. They provide a more natural experience for customers, who can speak their own language without having to learn a new one. Call center virtual assistants also let customer service representatives focus on more complex problems and interactions, where they can best add value. In this post, you’ll see some of the most common use cases for virtual assistants in call centers.
1. Customer self-service
Customers want to find easy, quick answers by themselves without having to wait on hold or talk to a human. Call center virtual assistants can be used at multiple touchpoints along the customer journey, including the website or mobile app or even within the product itself. Examples include:
• Smartphones and other devices with a built-in virtual assistant can leverage this call center virtual assistant to help customers troubleshoot problems when they call your support line.
Many support calls stem from common questions and problems that could be solved using a virtual assistant instead of requiring an agent’s attention. For example, a virtual assistant can answer simple questions like “How do I reset my password?” or more complex ones like “My phone isn’t working in my house—what can I do?” They are also great at walking customers through guided troubleshooting steps and notifying agents if it looks like a problem will require escalation. Examples include:
• Virtual assistants can walk customers through a resolution to common tech questions, like how to move apps between devices or how to use cloud storage.
3. Appointment scheduling
It’s common for customers to call support lines to schedule appointments for service. Virtual assistants can take much of the friction out of this process for customers by allowing them to schedule appointments themselves with human agents when they have the time instead of waiting for an open appointment. Examples include:
• Call center virtual assistants can take customer input and find a time that works instead of requiring customers to wait on hold while speaking to an agent.
• Virtual assistants can be instructed to check the calendar and let the customer know if they need to reschedule, saving an agent’s time.
4. Predictive maintenance and defect prevention
Call center virtual assistants can be used for proactive assistance and may be able to predict when a product is about to fail and send a notification to customer service. For instance, a virtual assistant chatbot might observe three instances of a particular error and alert customer service to contact the customer. This can help save time and reduce the number of angry customers that call in to complain, which is good for your customer service metrics and your reputation. Examples include:
• Virtual assistants can notify agents when they detect a customer experiencing an error in your product and suggest a resolution, saving time and frustration for all involved.
5. Account management
Call center virtual assistants can manage and update account information, like on-site information or a customer’s account status. This can help human customer service agents focus on more complex interactions, more likely to generate a positive outcome. Examples include:
• Virtual assistants can update account information, including address, phone number, and more, allowing agents to focus their time on more complex interactions.
Call center virtual assistants are increasingly being used in sales, where they can take over some of the typical “high-touch” sales interactions and make them more efficient. Virtual assistants can also be used for lead generation, follow-up with potential customers, or bundling based on customer needs. Examples include:
• Call center virtual assistants can conduct high-value sales interactions such as cross-selling or upselling or follow up with a potential customer to solve a problem.
7. Recommendations, tips, and tricks
Virtual assistants can help with product recommendations or provide information on how to use a product. In some cases, they might even be able to suggest a product or service that a customer might not have considered. Virtual assistants are great at providing non-urgent interactions and can often suggest a product or service that might be a good fit for a customer’s needs. Examples include:
• Call center virtual assistants can suggest complementary products to help customers use the product more efficiently.
8. Alarm routing to the right person/service team
Virtual assistants can be used to answer common questions or to route a customer’s issue to the right team for resolution. For instance, if a customer calls to ask about a service issue, a virtual assistant might be able to read a few lines of text from their bank statement and automatically route the call to the security team to ensure that no one is actually stealing the customer’s identity. Examples include:
• Call center virtual assistants can automatically route a customer to the person or team that can help them most.
Virtual assistants are becoming increasingly sophisticated and can improve many aspects of customer service. Larger companies can often justify the cost of using virtual assistants to automate simple tasks and save support agents time for more complex issues. Smaller companies may be able to get started for less than $100. For example, an existing support agent can be used to train the virtual assistant in a number of common customer use cases and interactions.
In this example, the support agent would create a series of simple “if-then” scenarios that walk the virtual assistant through a common customer support interaction.
As this development continues, it may become possible to automate call center interactions through virtual assistants fully. This could save companies time and money while giving customers a more convenient experience. For now, however, this is still a ways off. We’ll see progress in this area as virtual assistants continue to improve and become capable of more complex interactions.
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