According to a survey conducted by IBM, 65% of Millennials do not want to deal with a live agent at all. To address this, call centers have begun experimenting with virtual agents or chatbots.
A virtual agent can reduce the workload on your support staff, keep your branding consistent and stop tickets from getting escalated to higher levels.
But what about customer engagement?
Customer engagement is now a priority for many call centers as it is no longer an option just to offer excellent customer service. These days, the customer’s level of commitment to the company has become an equally important benchmark.
Engaged customers are loyal, visit more often and are more profitable. But how can a call center boost engagement? One method that is becoming more and more popular is through the use of virtual agents. Not sure what is a virtual agent or how they can boost customer engagement online? Read on and discover why this software is taking off in call centers around the world.
What is a virtual agent?
A virtual agent is a powerful contact center tool that uses a virtual character to engage with users and serve as an online customer service representative. The intelligent virtual agent can answer questions, provide information on products or services and pass customers on to live agents.
How can virtual agents boost customer engagement?
1. Improved customer service
According to a study by Aspect Software, 3 out of 4 millennial customers prefer solving their problems on their own.
This change in the consumer mindset sets the stage for customer service over the next couple of decades, and luckily, virtual agents can address this shift.
Virtual agents make it easier for users to access the information they need for them to make an informed decision and carry on through the customer journey. At the same time, if a VA is unable to answer a question satisfactorily, the customer will be transferred to a live agent, thereby improving the service experience by saving time and reducing high frustration levels.
2. Increase time spent on your site
It is no secret that a stickier website will help you attract more customers. The longer a customer stays on your site, the more engaged they will become, and the more likely they are to convert.
Virtual Agent’s help customers convert by asking users a series of questions to determine the purpose for their visit. They can suggest tailored information that will place users on the right path depending on what stage of the customer journey they are in.
By deploying your VA this way, you can also help to reduce bounce rates and prevent users from landing on your page and clicking away a few seconds later.
3. Increase your conversion rates
Virtual agents aren’t just excellent tools for customer service, but they also do wonders for your bottom line.
VA’s can help keep users engaged throughout the conversion process in a number of ways. For example, a virtual agent can be programmed to prompt users if they need help by noticing if they are taking too long to fill out a form or complete the checkout process.
Or you can program your VA to help users overcome objections that lead to people not making it to check-out. Visitors inquiring your return policy and FAQs pages probably indicates they are ready to buy but want to read the fine print before committing.
By taking advantage of these VA capabilities, you will start to see an increase in conversion rates and a drop in abandoned shopping carts or incomplete forms.
4. Virtual agents are a valuable source of data
Virtual agents give you valuable insights into the minds of your customer. They are always collecting information in real time and as a result, have greater insight into the customer’s problems.
By analyzing this data, you can assess where you need to make changes to improve the customer experience and keep the user engaged.
For example, if you start to notice that a lot of the questions posed to your virtual agent are about site navigation, you can use that information to make intuitive changes to improve their on-site experience.
You can also use this data to look at the timing of certain questions and how far into the customer life cycle they occur. This information can then help you circumvent any drop offs and design a better site that will foster a more engaged customer base.
5. Improve response times
Imagine you are on a website ready to purchase a new cell phone. But you haven’t clicked that “add to cart” button yet because there is one missing piece of information stopping you. You need to know information about delivery times to make an informed decision. But it is midnight, and you are struggling to find an answer on the website.
This need for immediate and potentially decision-making information is one of the main reasons companies have started using virtual agents. With 75% of customers believing it takes too long to reach a live agent and more customers wanting their questions answered 24 /7, VA’s play a vital role in meeting this customer expectation.
By having a virtual agent on your website, you can ensure your customers stay engaged by finding the information they need at whatever time is convenient for them.
At first glance, it can seem that delegating customer interaction tasks to a piece of software can be the exact opposite of engaging. However, now that you can answer “what is a virtual agent”, it is clear to see that virtual agents make a big difference in customer engagement, streamlining tasks and your bottom line.