The era of technology has automated and revolutionized numerous facets of our lives, both personal and professional. One such rapidly evolving area is customer service. Particularly, several businesses have adopted virtual assistant services for inbound call centers to streamline operations and extend efficient services.
But, what exactly is a virtual assistant (VA) for inbound call centers? Large corporations, SMEs, and startups alike employ VAs, which bear a remarkable resemblance to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Virtual assistants are typically programmed to answer incoming calls, guide customers through various services, provide relevant information, and assist customers in resolving their concerns.
Recent studies by Gartner suggest that by 2023, customers will prefer to use speech interfaces to initiate 70% of self-service customer interactions, a rise from 40% in 2019. It’s therefore paramount for businesses to leverage the benefits of VA services for leading-edge customer experience.
Benefits of employing Virtual Assistants
Operational Efficiency: VA services automate a significant portion of inbound call center operations, ruling out human errors and providing services round the clock. This automation ultimately leads to improved operational efficiency—a win for both businesses and customers.
Cost-effective: With manual labor constituting a significant proportion of operational costs, employing VA services can drastically reduce expenses. IBM reports that businesses spend $1.3 trillion on 265 billion customer service calls each year. With VA, these costs can be cut by roughly 30%.
Increased Customer Satisfaction: The immediacy and precision of response from VAs streamline customer interactions, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Potential Concerns and Their Solutions
While the benefits are enticing, businesses could have concerns about integrating VA services into their inbound call center operations.
Complex Queries: One concern is a VA’s ability to handle complex customer queries. However, as AI rapidly evolves, VA services are increasingly equipped to tackle complex issues or direct such concerns to the appropriate human agent seamlessly.
Data Security: Data security remains a key concern. Businesses need to thoroughly vet service providers to ensure that data collected is encrypted and securely stored.
Customer Preference: While acceptance of AI services is growing, a section of customers may still prefer human interactions. In such cases, combining VA services with human customer service can provide a befitting solution. For example, the VA can handle FAQs and simple queries while the human agent tackles complex and sensitive cases. This blend of human intelligence and AI can offer a satisfactory user experience.
Successful businesses constantly innovate, adapt, and evolve. Paul R. Daugherty and H. James Wilson in their Harvard Business Review article mention that companies using AI merely for cost reduction might lose the significant value it brings – enhanced customer satisfaction and increased revenue. Virtual assistant services for inbound call centers certainly fit into that innovative mindset, providing significant advantages that could pave the way for business success.
However, managing the shift from a traditional inbound call center to an AI-driven model requires meticulous planning. Understanding the role and benefits of VA services, addressing pertinent concerns, and devising strategies to ensure smooth transition is imperative.
Finally, businesses should remember that customer service remains at the heart of all call center operations. Employing VA services should aim to streamline operations, provide instant solutions, and complement your customer service efforts, not replace them. After all, meeting and exceeding customer expectations is what helps businesses stand out in today’s competitive market landscape.
Employing VA services for your inbound call center is neither a question of if nor when. The time is now.