What is a Smart Virtual Assistant?
Smart virtual assistant services are one of the key trends in solutions for optimizing the business-to-consumer relationship. This technology has been gaining a lot of space in the market and is a result of technological evolution and the change of consumer behavior.
Too abstract? Well, let’s try to make it clearer.
The idea is that an Intelligent Virtual Assistant, or AVI, is a digital representative of companies that is able to assist customers at all stages of the purchase journey, that is, from understanding the need of the consumer and helping them to choose the best pre-sale solution to after-sales service and troubleshooting.
Interesting, is not it?
Yeah! And as this topic is boiling in the market, we’ve prepared this post to help you understand why companies should invest in creating this new relationship channel, how it works, what its advantages are in having an AVI and the difference in AVI and Chatbots. Check out!
Why invest in this new relationship channel?
We all know the great change that the evolution of technology and the invasion of the internet has been causing in our lives. We’ve never been so connected and technology has never been so sophisticated and affordable.
This has been showing its consequences when we think about the interactions and the relationship we have with companies. If before we already wanted quick answers, today we want them almost instantaneous.
Staying in the queue to be telephoned for “hours” or having to go to a physical store to get a call or get information is still things (and maybe there is a good time in some cases unfortunately) , but you can be sure that the cost of this will get bigger and bigger.
When I say that it has cost, I do not mean the company’s monetary cost with stores, products, employees etc, the cost here refers to satisfaction and especially customer retention and the future of the business.
The truth is, people never liked these things, but before they just had no choice! Be the option in terms of quantity of vendors on the market or in technological terms when the tools were not accessible. The scenario today is very different and companies need to adapt.
How does a Smart Virtual Assistant work?
Now that we understand a little better about what the Virtual Assistant is and the context of business-to-customer relationship, you might be asking yourself : Okay, but how does an AVI work? Is there such an advanced system yet?
Such an advanced system that is able to fully meet all stages of the process may not yet be available, but we already have some very advanced solutions like IBM’s Watson and we know things are progressing faster and faster.
Other very interesting examples of this kind of technology are some personal assistants from the market such as Apple’s Siri , Windows Cortana or Google Assistant.
Smart Virtual Assistants use a variety of methods, algorithms, techniques, and integrations that make software “smart”, which is also called Artificial Intelligence.
A simplified explanation is that they are systems that learn from interactions with the consumer and thereby improve their repertoire – which facilitates the solution of customer problems. That is, the more he interacts with people, the more he learns and becomes empowered.
The smart virtual assistant must be able to absorb the subtleties of these interactions, expand their collection, and stay smarter and more accurate over time. Thus, solving client problems becomes more humanized and therefore facilitated.
In addition, because the software recognizes the natural language of the clients, the service performed by intelligent virtual assistants is more personalized being able to, for example, perceive grammatical errors, interpret them and, from there, offer a satisfactory response to the consumer.
What are the advantages of the Smart Virtual Assistant?
For businesses, one of the main advantages of technology is the economy. Because AVI is able to meet and solve many of the customer demands, relationship centers tend to receive fewer leads, which already represent significant costs, but also eliminate some activities and expenses with salaries, overtime and charges, as well as with the physical and technological structure to keep large teams working.
Personalized service when and where the customer wants
As we have seen throughout the article, a virtual assistant should be able to offer a very personalized service and in addition, it is available full time.
In addition to availability, customers can access the internet in various ways, via computer, tablet, computer, television and other devices. That is, it means being available when and where the consumer wants.
Agility in service
The agility in attendance is already implicit in the previous topic when I mentioned about being available, but I think it is worth emphasizing this point, because it meets one of the main needs of people today that is not wasting time.
In addition to these 3 great direct benefits of using AVI, there are indirect benefits because once your business is in a better financial structure, serving clients on a personalized basis, when and where they want to, the trend is that you have more sales, have more satisfied customers and consequently suffer less loss of customers.
Will Virtual Assistants replace people?
This is a very controversial issue also on the subject. And it is clear that in some cases yes, because today we have many people doing activities that can be solved with AVI. But it is also a consensus that they will not be able to solve 100% of the issues and human intervention will be essential.
In short, I believe they will help people work on their intellectual side and really add value to customers and businesses rather than repeat activities or follow scripts. The integration of the AVIs with the operators will leave the service more efficient for companies and consumers.
What is the difference between Smart Virtual Assistant and Chatbots?
This is also a good question! In fact, this is a controversial question, since some companies and experts refer to Chatbots as simpler tools and Smart virtual assistant services as more complete and sophisticated tools.
But this reading is not correct. Chatbots have similar capabilities to virtual assistants, but they work in different “places” and have some specific characteristics.
To try to simplify and avoid unnecessary controversy, we are using the following concept:
Chatbots are systems that work within messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Telegram, Skype, Slack among others, and can be rule-based or AI-based and typical.
Smart virtual assistant services are systems that work within enterprise-wide messaging applications on their websites and mobile applications and are represented by a persona, a graphic representation also called an avatar, aligned with the brand’s identity and values.