Why 2022 is the year you finally get started on your virtual assistant project

Does your company adopt an old-fashioned approach when it comes to online communication? Does your website feature a comprehensive list of FAQs to satisfy your ever-curious prospects?

 

These questions face every organization today as they try to rise above the noise and compete with others. Yet, a failure to address these issues could prove costly many reasons. And if you haven’t embraced the latest virtual assistant technology today, you could be left behind.

What do you need to know about this technology in 2022? If you want my opinion, I would say that there are four big reasons to take into consideration if you want to get started on a virtual assistant project before the end of the year.

Looking back

The technology behind modern-day virtual assistants can be traced back many decades to the Automatic Digit Recognition machine (code-named “Audrey,”), which recognized the fundamental units of speech in the 1950s. Then, the first natural language processing computer appeared in the 1960s, developed by a professor at MIT. However, you probably hadn’t heard about virtual assistants –most referred to as chatbots—before the beginning of the current century. 

While online marketing, presentation or e-commerce may have become very challenging in the last two years due to sheer competition in the marketplace, technology has more than kept up in the race. Chatbots have evolved considerably and so fast that it is now very difficult to tell the difference between AI and human interaction at first glance.

What Your Customers Are Looking For

Whether they are inquisitive prospects, paying clients or eager employees, your visitors all expect the same thing: to have their questions answered with a minimum of effort – and in real time.

While some of them may be patient and willing to search, others, if not most, are interested in getting the information they need as fast as possible and are not interested in looking for the data themselves. In the latter case, a chatbot can easily become their best ally! These solutions are now more sophisticated than ever before and can greatly improve and accelerate customer service.

 

Four Reasons Why You Should Embrace VA Technology in 2022

1. It’s Reached Maturity Through Contextual Understanding and Semantic Learning

As artificial intelligence has improved by leaps and bounds, it is now possible to create a very personalized experience based on contextual understanding. Indeed, AI has combined with machine learning to allow new-age chatbots to be more dynamic and to possess a semantic grasp of user intent. Software giants such as IBM have developed natural language processing capability that enables a company in the marketplace to develop a truly intelligent user engagement center.

 The chatbot can understand what the user wants and predict what they’re looking for before returning a logical, valuable and personalized response. Furthermore, these chatbots can become “smarter” as they go along. They can learn from each individual question-and-answer session, adding to their capability for a subsequent session.

Modern chatbots rely on natural language processing (NLP) to understand human language in all its forms by identifying word patterns and converting unstructured data into structured formats. They can then apply natural language understanding (NLU) using semantic text analysis to determine the intent. From there, they’ll use another three-letter acronym, NLG, which allows them to respond in the same way as a human might while maintaining the integrity of the information delivered.  

As these software solutions are so much more agile and mainstream, they have become more affordable and easier to roll out. As such, they can be used across a range of platforms and in varied customer service environments.

2. It’s Easily Accessible

While the technology has enabled software providers to sharpen the product and make a chatbot response almost indistinguishable from the “real thing,” it’s also meant that conversational AI has now become mainstream. As such, any company can take advantage of the solution with out-of-the-box products so they can cost-effectively and confidently introduce them to their visitor base.

Organizations can use these solutions for frequently asked questions and basic customer service, and sophisticated challenges like a concierge. And they can roll out this technology without long lead times or complex processing, as these latest chatbots do not need complicated manuals or require advanced AI training. It is possible to deploy one of these virtual assistants within hours to deliver real, authentic and measurable value to the customer base.

3. It Allows You to Consolidate Costs and Be Open All Hours

As customer service for prospects, clients and employees migrate to the world of AI, an organization can cut down on its staffing costs and expect an increase in customer retention. Also, the visitor can expect to get consistent, valuable and instantaneous answers without needing to wait for a human operative. Therefore, this visitor can make an instant decision rather than having to wait for a customer service agent to clock in during “normal” business hours. And that could lead to an instantaneous purchase or help retain a satisfied customer, rather than one who may be disappointed, disillusioned or ready to jump ship.

4. It Meets Client and Employee Expectations

Remember, your clients and employees may have come across this latest AI elsewhere. In fact, it would not be surprising considering their growing popularity in recent years! Because of that, customers expect to be able to communicate naturally through these online channels, and they may wonder why you have not yet adopted the same approach. And if you still harbour any worries and are not sure whether you can trust the tech, there’s less risk than ever before. Use cases have been tried and tested, and patterns now exist.

Taking the Plunge

So, as you can see, virtual assistant chatbot technology is mature and easy to access. If I had to summarize in three points why you should get started on a virtual assistant project in 2022, I would say:

– To consolidate your costs
– To be available around the clock
– To satisfy your client and employee expectation

If you’ve not already done so, take a look at chatbot technology in 2022 – and you’ll see what you’ve been missing. Are you going to take the next step?

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