Human Empathy in Virtual Customer Assistants

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Businesses around the globe lose billions of dollars every year due to poor customer experiences. Don’t be one of them.

Frost & Sullivan predicts that by 2020, customer experience will overtake product performance and pricing as the number one way for companies to differentiate themselves. Businesses around the globe lose billions of dollars every year due to poor customer experiences. According to Vineet Nayar, author of the book Employee First – Customer Second, the value zone is where communication between the company and the customer occurs. The customer service desk sits precisely in this value zone. Employees and systems in the value zone have the potential to heavily impact the customer experience and contribute to future growth. It is worth mentioning here that Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems and call centers outsourced across culturally different geographies have negatively affected the customer experience. After the failure of IVR and outsourcing to low-cost locations, companies are looking at Artificial Intelligence-based Virtual Customer Assistants to manage the customer service desk.

Forrester calls Virtual Agents The current darling of the media due to the evolving relationships cropping up between human beings and the Virtual Assistants. Virtual Assistants range from simple chatbots to advanced systems that can network with humans. VA’s are also currently used in customer service, tech support, and as a smart home manager.  Ever since technology giants Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and IBM started promoting Virtual Personal Assistants (VPAs) with speech recognition and natural language processing (NLP) capabilities, the following orders to the VPA are becoming closer reality.

Hi Buddy…Check with Adam Smith to see if he is available for a face-to-face meeting in Paris in the last week of this month.

Hi Buddy…My phone bill is too high this month. Will you check with the service provider to see if anything is awry?”

Hi Buddy…Please book a hotel in Kurla Mumbai for the 23rd to the 25th of April for my wife and me.

Hi Buddy…Please find reviews and critiques of the new movie “AAAAAAA” and compare with “BBBBBBB.”

While human beings will continue to focus on important intellectual activities, VPAs have become handy to do all repetitive, well-defined transactions.

In this three part blog series, we will discuss the role of human empathy in our day-to-day interactions with Virtual Assistants as well as their importance in building relationships on both a personal and an official level. We start with the Virtual Personal Assistant.

Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistants, sometimes known as Virtual Agents, are mobile applications with speech recognition skills. Mainly, they aid in the completion of simple tasks like opening applications, searching the internet for specific information, and checking calendar entries or to-do lists. Given their speech-to-text capabilities, these assistants are also able to compose, modify, and send emails or text messages based on orally dictated content that is converted into text. Apple’s Siri, Amazon Echo, Alexa, and Google’s virtual agent are a few examples of such technology.

Virtual Personal Assistant (VPA)

A mobile-based VA is called a Virtual Personal Assistant (VPA). A VPA learns and equips itself with the knowledge of the user’s profile and has access to public services such as weather, news, and market trends. Here are some examples of what a VPA can do for you:

  •  Suggest local places of interest
  • Track service package offers, teams, interests, and flights.
  • Send emails and texts
  • Manage your personal calendar and keep all items up to date.
  • Send reminders for meetings or events
  • Create and manage lists
  • Open apps on your system based on oral instructions
  • Answers questions on travel, sports, weather, etc. by referring to the internet sources.

In the next part, we will discover the difference between Virtual Executive Assistants and Virtual Customer Assistants. Check back next week.

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