Virtual agents have come a long way. And while some companies are certainly still using automated systems from the dark ages, forward-thinking brands have taken advantage of advancements in technology for big steps forward in customer experience self-service.
But what’s next?
First off, it goes without saying that the companies that have not invested in advanced self-service technology will fall behind. The bar for customer service has been raised and those who don’t catch up will become obsolete.
Customer loyalty is driven by better customer experiences. When technology falls flat, so does the relationship between a brand and consumer.
Secondly, we can expect the future of enterprise virtual assistants to expand capabilities for greater benefits to the business and the customer (and the agents).
We took a look at Opus Research’s 2022 survey results to see what the future holds for virtual agents according to firms that offer customers access to customer care and other services through bots. Here’s what we found out.
Real-time assistance will have increased integration
How can live agents and virtual assistants work together for the greatest outcome? That’s really what’s driving the future of real-time assistance. And this goes beyond what the customer can see, but extends throughout the entire operation.
According to Opus Research, “We’ve reached a point where bots and live agents are interdependent. Humans can train bots who are then available to make sure that other humans are performing at a high level.”
Personalization will expand
Personalization is more than just knowing a customer’s name. The role of data will grow to create more productive and efficient experiences that generate increased revenue and improved customer experience.
Opus Research states, “Establishing trust early in a conversation paves the way for faster recognition of intent and the ability to complete tasks (including transactions) quickly.”
Use cases will become more sophisticated
Answer bots are a thing of the past (or at least customers hope they are). As the industry matures, brands must recognize the value of offering use cases that go beyond answering surface-level questions. We need to think bigger. Brands should be implementing solutions that can cover a variety of use cases, and are able to grow and evolve and the consumer demand requires.
Opus Research found that, “29% of respondents say the reason to replace their Intelligent assistant solution is that their assistant is not a fit for their use cases. Vendor selection should be “use-case driven” and great attention should be paid to what works out-of-the-box in terms of pretrained language models and tools for creating bots that help customers *and* agents fulfill well-understood tasks.”
Access will improve
Not only should the use cases offered by virtual assistants increase, but the breadth across which the solution is offered needs to expand across channels. By giving customers increased access to self-service, more customers can be served on their terms.
Opus Research proposes that, “Ideally, the answers, actions and results provided are identical, regardless of channel or modality. The longest-standing and most sophisticated companies have already launched a multiplicity of intelligent virtual assistants and their first-order challenge is to implement solutions that leverage the results of past investments. This is the reality that shapes the solution providers included in this year’s report.”
To see more about what makes a successful virtual assistant according to Opus Research, as well as their report on our IVA, check out our eBook.