Automation and the Human Touch

A common criticism of automated systems, including intelligent virtual agents, is that they remove human interaction and provide a cold, robot-like experience. So when I came across an article titled The Human Touch of Automation: A Customer Experience Experience, it immediately caught my eye.

In the article, the author shares his experience with a table-top kiosk at a chain restaurant that gave diners the option to order beverages and appetizers, play games and listen to music, and pay their bill after the meal. Despite it being a busy Saturday night, the convenience of the tablet-like computer kiosk freed his waitress up to spend more time with her customers and provide amazing customer service that left his family wanting to go back.

Instead of replacing humans, the technology used in this example enhanced the human interaction and improved the overall experience. When implemented as part of a complete customer experience strategy, intelligent virtual agents work the same way. They enrich the customer experience by providing options that fit with customer preferences and support your human agents.

  • The option to self-serve 24/7. The truth is, it’s not always convenient for your customers to engage with human support to get answers to their questions. Virtual agents provide a way for customers to instantly self-serve at the time and via the channel that works best for them—even if that means scheduling a bank transaction at 2:00 am or getting step-by-step assistance completing a form while on busy public transport.
  • Seamless escalation from virtual to live support. The flexibility of the technology means virtual agents are no longer stand-alone solutions. Through integration with other support options such as live chat and call back, customers can be seamlessly escalated from virtual to human support when they want or need that level of assistance. A full conversation history is passed along with the customer, so the live agent can pick up the interaction where the virtual agent left off.
  • A better contact center experience. When virtual agents are used to assist with routine or low level support questions, live agents can be freed up to deal with more complex situations. This leads to lower contact volumes and decreased wait times for customers needing or wanting to engage with human support. Virtual agents can also be used within the contact center to support employees, reduce average call handing times, and increase first contact resolution.

Still not convinced that virtual agents can complement your human customer support channels? Request a personalized live demo to see how your organization can enhance human interaction and improve your overall experience to keep customers wanting to come back.

Image courtesy of phanlop88 /

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