Virtual or real? Or both?

How do you know whether a customer would benefit from a virtual assistant or human agent?

With the rise of chatbots and virtual assistants, we see chatter about these technologies replacing humans. But it shouldn’t be an “either – or” decision. Instead, organizations should look at their own unique needs and connect the two to deliver a better customer experience.

When it comes to utilizing both in combination, there is a variety of conditions to consider when it’s time to present a virtual assistant (or chatbot) or a live agent to your customer. Here are just a few.

  • VAs can be trained to handle specific questions so that if the customer shows intent within that scope, they can be helped by the VA. The VA can determine intent with a combination of information from the targeting engine and customer history. If the customer’s intent is proven to be out of the VA’s knowledge range, they can be routed to a live agent within that scope.
  • If there is adequate agent availability, then certainly use a human agent. However, if there is limited agent availability, there will be missed opportunities to connect and convert. This is the perfect scenario for VA support.
  • Occasionally a customer may be interacting with a VA, but there may be some incomprehension of the question. In this case, they need to be transferred to a live agent. Yet, it is critical to check on agent availability beforehand.

When routing from VA to live agent occurs, the VA needs to transfer all information for a seamless experience, keeping in mind that 69% of customers would like to move between channels and not have to repeat their situation every time. (Forrester)

The important thing to remember, though, is to be honest with your customers. Tell them when they are talking to a VA versus a human; that also helps for the user experience because users tend to use simpler and shorter phrases when they know they are talking to a self-service tool.


Better together!

Whether a customer receives service from a VA or a live agent, they get optimal service when the two work in tandem. Overall, the combination of both VA and human will benefit organizations and customers in several ways:

The two working together creates a better, more seamless customer experience, thus driving customer loyalty.

  • It enables customers to get answers immediately in their moment of need.
  • It reduces operating costs – automating repetitive tasks enables more efficient agent operation, which also leads to higher agent satisfaction.

To learn more about this partnership that’s so vital in meeting customer expectations, watch this brief interview with digital engagement expert Jessica Langdorf. She also answers the question – if a VA has to transfer to a live agent, is that considered a fail?

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About Monique Lind

Monique Lind, Product Marketing Specialist for Nuance Enterprise Division, focuses on vertical-specific marketing and strategy as well as customer facing marketing material for the digital portfolio. Monique joined Nuance in 2015 as a Marketing Intern. Prior to Nuance, Monique attended Pepperdine University where she earned her B.S. in Business and minored in Marketing.