Providing a stellar customer experience is more important than ever, and these bots deliver
It’s difficult to separate great customer service from business success. In our modern digital world that means speedy service with accurate information along with self-service options. As a reward for providing what customers want, 68% of consumers say they’ll pay more for a product or service from a brand that provides a good experience. And 86% say that stellar customer service inspires brand loyalty.
To meet customer expectations, organizations must up their customer service game. Hiring endless numbers of agents is both impractical and expensive, which is why many are building a virtual contact center using Amazon Connect. These contact centers offer customers the convenient options they want – voice, chat, or automated chatbots, also known as virtual agents.
You should also know that virtual agents will help save businesses $8 billion annually. In this article, we’ll discuss the current state of customer service, how virtual agents work, and why customers love them. We’ll also touch on how easy it is to set up your virtual contact center in Amazon Connect and how to set up interactive messages for your Amazon Connect virtual agents.
The current state of customer service
Almost all consumers expressed dissatisfaction with customer service in 2021. It’s unclear why so many businesses place such a low value on customer service – lousy customer interactions cost companies about $4.7 tr
illion in customer spend globally each year. A recent study found that:
- You are risking 9.5% of your revenue if you provide bad experiences.
- After a positive customer experience, consumers are over three times more likely to buy from you.
- A great experience means your customer is over five times more likely to recommend your business to others.
Pricing is important to consumers, of course, but 80% of your potential buyers think the customer experience must be improved. Unfortunately, while more and more people are buying online, companies have failed to respond to their needs, and are simply doing business the same old way, hoping things will go back to “normal.” This isn’t going to happen, and customer expectations are going to continue to rise.
So, what’s a company to do? The answer is easy, and the solution is simple to implement: Deploy a virtual contact center in Amazon Connect that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI)-powered interactive chatbots. This is a great solution for improving and infinitely scaling customer service, and customers love it.
How your customers feel about virtual agents
Virtual agents have positively affected user experience, say 58% of users. When it comes to interactive bots versus live agents, 43% of consumers like talking with a human, but 40% say they are okay interacting with both. Where they get the right answer doesn’t matter as long as they get the right answer. And that same percentage prefers virtual agents.
You might have an expectation that younger people who grew up with digital technology would be the ones to enjoy the speedy, self-service benefits of virtual agents. However, it’s baby boomers who love them, and 61% expect an instant response. For example:
- About 49% of female shoppers like to use virtual agents when shopping.
- Around 48% of males use virtual agents to get answers to questions.
As you can see, your current and potential customers are bullish on virtual agents. While the accuracy of answers depends on the information the virtual agents have available to them, 80% accuracy is a good number to aim for. Judging and improving accuracy depends on analyzing individual conversations to assess how well the bot is working. But we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves. Just how do these bots work and what are the business benefits?
Virtual agents save live agents time, create happy customers, and have a great ROI
Your virtual agents represent an evolution in self-service and help customers speedily find answers to simple questions. They also reduce the number of incoming calls to your contact centers. This means improved efficiency and reduced operating costs.
But you get more than a reduction in overall incoming call volume. They also lower overall interaction volume, which includes chats, emails, and social media. Every time a customer interacts with a virtual assistant before reaching a live person, your cost per query goes down. Even if a customer initiates a “call me” command to connect by phone with a live agent, you’ll pay 33% less for outbound calls than you pay for inbound calls.
During an interaction, virtual agents can capture relevant customer information so that the agent can start the conversation with prior knowledge about the inquiry. Knowing what the customer’s query is and what the bot has suggested shaves off valuable time in the interaction, which means a faster resolution for customers, a lower cost-per-interaction for you, and a better use of paid agents’ time. And you already know customers are ready, willing, able, and looking for your intelligent virtual agents.
Customers get 24/7 availability that costs you very little while giving them the always-on, speedy resolutions they seek. Your agents are happier, too. No one likes basic, repetitive work, and agents can focus on customers who have complex questions and really need help. Your total ROI depends on a lot of things, but here’s a handy virtual agent ROI calculator.
How virtual agents operate
A virtual agent is a program that can have a conversation with a human. If someone asks the bot a question or makes a statement, it will answer or perform a necessary action. It simulates human conversations and works without a human operator. Its responses come from a combination of pre-programmed scripts and machine learning (ML) algorithms, and it uses the available knowledge database.
Customers who use the virtual agent aren’t completely left with a nonhuman interaction. If a concept is introduced that the virtual agent doesn’t understand, the customer will be passed along to a human agent who can provide further assistance. At the same time, the bot will learn from that interaction.
AI-based virtual agents are equipped with what is basically an artificial brain that’s trained using ML algorithms. They can understand open-ended queries, comprehend orders, and understand the language. As your bot learns from customer interactions, it will continue to improve.
- Virtual agents offer your customers 24/7 service without having to pay live agents for overnight shifts.
- Customers expect speed and self-service, and bots deliver.
- Virtual agents generate more conversations with customers that provide relevant data that leads to more sales while improving overall customer service.
- These agents can handle multiple customers at the same time, something that is difficult for live agents and frustrating for customers waiting for answers.
- Virtual agents can collect data that leads to greater personalization for both customer service and your marketing efforts.
Plus, virtual agents can help you both save and make money. You can reduce your number of agents and deliver a better customer service experience. It’s a win-win, and it’s all possible with Amazon Connect. It’s easy to add an Amazon Lex bot and set up interactive messages.
We’ll help you make the most out of virtual agents
Your customers are waiting, and CloudHesive can partner with you to make the most of what virtual agents offer. Your business depends on providing the best customer experience, and it is well within your reach to deliver it.
CloudHesive is a cloud solutions consulting and managed-service provider with expertise in all things Amazon Web Services. We have eight AWS Competencies, more than 50 AWS Certifications, and membership in nine Partner Programs, plus the experience and knowledge to help your business realize all the benefits of AWS cloud. We’ve helped more than 100 companies reduce their operating costs and increase productivity with our focus on security, reliability, availability, and scalability. With over 30 years of experience, we leverage cloud-based technology to its full potential. Contact the CloudHesive team today.