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Virtual Customer Assistants and Knowledge Management: A Winning Combination for an Omnichannel Customer Experience

Creative Virtual

Presented By: Creative Virtual

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO, Creative Virtual   

More than just buzzwords, multichannel and omnichannel are hot topics for organizations today and each brings its own definition and challenges to an organization’s customer experience strategy.  

Multichannel is allowing a customer to simultaneously communicate with your organization via multiple channels. To be truly multichannel, a company must not only offer multiple engagement channels for customers, they must also properly support those channels with the necessary information and staffing.  

Omnichannel takes this one step further and is defined as a seamless customer experience across all channels, with seamless being the key to this strategy. An organization with a successful omnichannel customer experience program must connect their engagement channels to create a consistent, seamless experience and offer personalized support to customers.  

One of the biggest challenges for organizations to overcome is the surprisingly high number of business leaders that don’t actually understand the definitions of these terms or the importance of having a true omnichannel experience. As customers become empowered with new technologies, their expectation for a seamless, consistent experience is continuing to grow. Organizations with leaders that understand the true meanings of multichannel and omnichannel, and allow that to guide their customer experience strategies, are going to gain a clear competitive advantage.  

Once that understanding is in place, organizations can then look to implement innovative, flexible technologies backed by an experienced team that will enable them to offer a seamless and consistent experience. Virtual Customer Assistant (VCA) technology combined with a knowledge management platform empowers organizations to meet omnichannel challenges. These customizable and flexible solutions give customers consistent, connected and personalized engagement.  

A VCA, also known as a virtual agent, engages customers in a natural language conversation and provides an instant, single answer to the customer every time. Current advancements and innovations in virtual assistant technology are attracting the attention of industry analysts, including Gartner who see VCAs as a player in the Smart Machines field. Today’s VCAs can be deployed across contact channels – web, mobile, social media, contact center, kiosk, IVR – and integrated with other support options, such as live chat and call back, for seamless handover. The flexibility of the technology also makes possible integrations with site search, community forums, speech technology and personalized account information, as well as other existing backend systems (e.g. contact center and CRM systems). These are important elements for many organizations as they strive for a seamless experience.   

VCAs become a true omnichannel solution when they are backed by a powerful knowledge management system. Knowledge management is key for eliminating departmental and information silos and managing all content from one platform. This allows your organization to easily identify gaps in your information, create customer-specific conversations for virtual and live agents, manage workflow and deliver that all important consistent messaging to customers across channels.   

When deployed in the contact center, VCAs improve first contact resolution and reduce average handling times while also enabling live agents to provide real-time feedback on knowledgebase content. With the right workflow, collaboration and approval processes in place to support this within your knowledge management platform, live agents are constantly improving the virtual agent just by doing their normal jobs, and your organization can create a feedback loop in line with industry best practices.  

By bringing together knowledge management with VCA technology, you create Smart Help solutions that deliver consistent, accurate and personalized information to your customers and produce a seamless experience regardless of the initial contact channel.  

VCAs have proven themselves to be a win-win for organizations and their customers. These solutions give customers 24/7 access to smart self-help they can rely upon to deliver consistent, accurate and personalized information. The customer experience becomes convenient and seamless. Organizations not only see improved customer engagement, but at the same time are able to reduce customer support costs, increase sales and achieve ROI in typically less than 12 months. Plus, VCAs offer unique customer insights through advanced business intelligence and Voice of the Customer reporting capabilities which enable your team to make better informed decisions about the future of your customer experience strategy.  

Take a moment to look at your customer experience. Is it a true seamless experience or is it time to rethink your definition of omnichannel?