Improving customer experience with a virtual agent

By Jafar Adibi

0 min read

“81% of all customers across industries attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative.” Gartner.

Who is answering calls when your contact center is closed? Who is helping your customers when they have questions and problems outside of business hours? According to Gartner’s 2018 Four Best Practices for Implementing Extreme Customer Self-Service report, by 2022, 85% of customer service interactions will start with self-service, up from 48% today.

From a recent study in Harvard Business Review, “The cost of a do-it-yourself transaction is measured in pennies, while the average cost of a live service interaction (phone, e-mail, or webchat) is more than $7 for a B2C company and more than $13 for a B2B company.” AI-powered conversational assistants, or virtual agents, can quickly deliver the answers and outcomes over voice-enabled channels. They provide contact centers with a cost-effective and scalable self-service solution to meet the ever changing customer needs and provide human-like service, even outside of business hours, to ensure consistent quality in customer experience (CX).

A virtual agent is ideal for solving common issues and automating routine tasks when agents are not available after hours, or to free agents during peak traffic periods, allowing them to focus on more complex issues.

When you already have a deep knowledge base, a strong CRM engine and the conversational transcript, it is time to build a virtual agent that can turn any time into your prime time for great CX.

Your virtual agent is a Robotic Process Automation (RPA), a form of business process automation technology based on metaphorical software robots (bots and chatbots) or AI-powered workers. RPA systems develop the action list by previously watching and learning from the agent performing that task in the application’s Graphical User Interface (GUI) to later perform the automation themselves by repeating those tasks directly in the GUI.

Your virtual agent must learn from interactions and suggest improvements to create better customer journeys and smoothly handoff complex customer issues to live agents, leveraging state of the art text-to-speech technology to deliver a natural, human-like service.

The main benefits of implementing a virtual agent in your contact center are:

  • True 24/7 support: Enable customers to solve routine and basic service issues any time of day, automatically scheduling follow up calls during after hours interactions. Reduce customer frustration and improve satisfaction by leveraging intelligent voice with around-the-clock conversational support. Create a future where routine tasks are automated and agents are free to solve more complex issues.
  • Operational efficiency through conversational routing: Analyze customer intent and route to the correct virtual agent capability, thus improving contact center operational efficiency by solving issues effortlessly and with minimum or without any live agent interaction.
  • Improve self-service KPIs: Shorten the amount of time required for customers to get answers and resolve issues. Correctly and consistently answer questions to improve key metrics in your contact center such as First Call Resolution (FCR), Average Handle Time (AHT), Average Speed of Answer (ASA) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT).

Talking to a live agent should always be a fallback option for your customers along their entire contact center journey. The beauty of a virtual agent is to have a 24/7 AI-powered assistant to address the most frequent issues at any time of the day or night. If a customer wants to ask a question, there is always an answer for it.

A virtual agent eases the adoption of AI for customer self-service applications, augmenting existing voice channels with predefined skills that can evolve to entirely conversational interactions. Make sure your virtual agent is the right AI-spokesperson to your contact center and delivers self-service that is conversational, intelligent and continuous.

What Is AI and How to Transform the Contact Center in 3 Steps


What Is AI and How to Transform the Contact Center in 3 Steps

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  1. What is (real) artificial intelligence?
  2. How AI is transforming the contact center
  3. Three steps to infusing AI in the contact center


Jafar Adibi

As Head of AI and Data Science, Jafar leads AI for the Talkdesk enterprise contact center platform. Prior to joining Talkdesk, Jafar developed advanced Machine Learning solutions for understanding people behavior and consumer intelligence at PwC, Reunify and Incentica. Jafar holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California and is a recipient of multiple national and international awards.