Today’s Virtual Agent technologies are truly revolutionary, with features that are striking and impressive. If you’re currently exploring Virtual Agent solutions, it’s useful to have a clear understanding of how available features and functionality will contribute value to your organization on a measurable and strategic level. Without this understanding, an organization can mistakenly deploy a Virtual Agent that may be rich in “cosmetic” features for example, but ultimately fails to deliver maximum value in core areas like accuracy and scale.
For this very reason, we’ve assembled a list of questions that we feel you should ask the Virtual Agent providers you are considering in your search. We then organized them into four key themes or categories to help you with assessing your findings. We feel this is a great starting point for organizations that are looking to Virtual Agent providers as a means for rolling out customer self-service options.
What is a Virtual Agent?
But, before we get into the questions, let’s ensure we’re all on the same page in terms of our understanding of what a Virtual Agent is. There’s a considerable amount of noise in the customer experience community around the topic of Virtual Agents. Fueled in part by the rise of consumer applications such as Apple’s ‘Siri’ native iPhone app, customers are increasingly interacting with virtual entities (sometimes called virtual assistants or virtual agents) as a means to get problems solved and questions answered.
At their core, Virtual Agents are software services that engage in automated conversations with customers in self-service environments. They empower customers through their journey for answers and task completion by simplifying the process of delivering information across multiple interaction channels, like the corporate web, mobile, social and even the agent environment.
The consumer’s willingness to engage in these virtual conversations has introduced tremendous opportunity for organizations in every industry. From regional utilities providers to national ebook retailers, to global financial services companies, organizations of every description are adding some form of Virtual Agent into their customer’s online customer experience journey.
The Big Four: Questions You Need to Ask Virtual Agent Providers Under Consideration
Now with a common understanding of what a Virtual Agent is, let’s examine the questions that you will want to ask your Virtual Agent provider before signing on the dotted line.
- Customer Adoption & Conversion
Does your Virtual Agent provide a compelling and enjoyable interaction experience that our customer base will enthusiastically adopt? In doing so, does it open the door to conversion opportunities leading to new revenues?
- Customer Confidence
Does your Virtual Agent instill within the customer a high level of confidence in the information delivered? Can it provide a single correct answer to commonly asked questions at scale and with a high degree of accuracy?
- Customer Choice
Does your Virtual Agent offer customers the ability to choose their preferred interaction channels and languages?
- Customer Research
Is your Virtual Agent designed to automatically capture interactions and turn voice-of-the customer data into a strategic asset? Can the solution make this information available to a variety of company stakeholders in an engaging manner?
As you might have guessed, if you don’t receive a confident “Yes” to each of these questions, you might want to think twice about whether that particular Virtual Agent vendor can truly meet your needs. Yes, each organization has their own set of requirements, and those requirements will help steer you in the right direction down the road, helping you find just the right solution for your organization. But these questions really just touch on the foundational or essential functionality you will want to ensure you have before going deeper into your vendor analysis, so ensure you do receive a “Yes” to these questions.
Whitepaper: Choosing the Right Web Self-Service Vendor
As we previously mentioned, ensure you receive satisfying answers from the Virtual Agent vendor you may be evaluating. For this reason, these questions are a great place to start. For a deeper evaluation of a Virtual Agent provider, have a look at this guide for choosing the best web self-service vendor . It probes much deeper into the main questions discussed in this blog and additionally explains in plain English 17 essential features and functions of Virtual Agents. The report also provides some great examples of how leading companies deploy Virtual Agents in the web and mobile channels.
About IntelliResponse Systems
IntelliResponse is the leading provider of virtual agent technology solutions for the enterprise. We create profitable online conversations for our private and public sector customers around the world. With our patented Enterprise Virtual Agent (EVA) solutions, corporate websites, mobile applications, social media channels and agent desktops can all be transformed by an engaging virtual concierge, empowering customers to ask questions using natural, conversational language and delivering an effective and engaging online experience.
With more than 360 live customer-facing implementations answering 100 million+ questions annually, IntelliResponse is the gold standard in first line customer experience management. For more information about IntelliResponse, visit http://www.intelliresponse.com/