Human-Centered Design Is the Heart of Intelligent Virtual Agents
Virtual voice agents can be a blessing or a curse for your customers. Done right, they provide a rich, natural, personalized experience that soothes frazzled nerves and either swiftly provides a relevant automated answer or directs them to a live agent who can help.
When it’s done wrong, callers are forced to endure labyrinthian menu options that provide no answers, just more questions. Reaching a human can be nearly impossible. An emotionless robotic voice asks them to repeat the same information over and over. And they feel stuck in a frustrating, endless loop, often hanging up, muttering “Never again!” and switching to your competitor.
The solution? Truly intelligent virtual voice assistants with a human-centric design that delights rather than displeases, with artificial intelligence (AI) that improves CSAT, decreases wait time, and lowers costs. But technology is just part of the answer. When designing your call flow, there are some essential things to keep in mind to provide an optimized experience.
1. Use a natural, empathetic voice.
No one wants to listen to an unfriendly, unhelpful, and inhuman voice. Your IVR voice should be warm and friendly, evoking the feeling that the caller can see a smile on the speaker’s face. You also want a voice with a wide range – one that’s compelling, empathetic, and helpful, as well as professional.
Make sure the voice is relatable and fits your audience. If all of your customers are senior citizens, use a more mature voice. Similarly, a GenZer is more likely to want to listen to someone from their age group.
2. Personalize it.
Use your CRM. It’s a valuable tool. If you can tie a call back to a number, you can personalize the interaction from the get-go. If the caller isn’t already in your database, collect their name at the beginning so you can use it to personalize interactions. AI can also detect what they are calling about by the options the caller chooses, adding another level of personalization. “Hi, Mike. I see you’re looking for information about…”
3. Defuse tense situations.
Some callers will dial into your contact center because they are frustrated by something like late delivery, unauthorized charges, or having to return a product, etc. A little empathy goes a long way. Add empathic responses such as, “I’m sorry you’re having trouble,” or “I know this is frustrating. Let me get you some help.”
There’s nothing like a demonstration to bring things closer to home. In these two very different customer conversations, you’ll see the difference intelligent IVR makes.
Imagine this scenario: Alex cannot get his car started and calls for roadside assistance. In the audio below, you’ll hear a supposed “smart” virtual agent take an entire minute just to ask him what the problem is as a robotic voice interrogates Alex. He’s trying to answer questions while rapidly fumbling through his wallet for a membership ID because this virtual agent has no personalization.
Now, contrast this with Alex’s interaction with an intelligent agent powered by AI. You’ll notice a few significant differences:
- Empathy and sympathy as the agent apologizes for the trouble Alex is experiencing and asks if he’s in a safe location.
- Comfort. The virtual agent tells Alex they are there for him and will work to get him on the move again.
- Personalization. The agent knew who Alex was without asking his name by finding his phone number in the database associated with his name.
- Rapid resolution. Instead of a minute, the agent took only 14 seconds to understand Alex’s problem and tell him how to resolve his issue.
You can hear the difference intelligent IVR makes when it comes to reducing customer frustration, tension, and, in some cases, panic. Everyone wants to feel valued and heard. No one wants to be treated as just another among many. Intelligent IVR leads to a personalized, human-centric experience other virtual agents simply can’t match.
Intelligent virtual agents with heart
Who really runs your business? Customers do. What do they want when they call your organization? Intelligent, empathetic, human-like virtual agents who can solve their problems quickly.
Create a contact center others envy with SmartAction. We partner with you to implement conversational voice assistants that are finely tuned to manage automated voice at scale so your agents can offer white glove treatment for more complex issues.
SmartAction is the number one rated virtual customer assistant platform, providing conversational AI solutions at a third of the cost of a live agent, with a 30% increase in customer satisfaction scores. We’ve helped more than 100 major brands create the very best customer experience. It’s time to crush the competition and reap the rewards of conversational AI. The future is human-centric. Request a demo now.