Why you don’t think you need a virtual assistant and are wrong

There are plenty of reasons why businesses resist using a virtual assistant. They may think chatbots are just a passing fancy and they will be wasting their money investing in the technology. Perhaps they are under the mistaken impression that being greeted by a chatbot online or on the phone will anger their customers. 

Whatever notion has prevented your business from using virtual assistance as a customer service tool, you need to get over it. The benefits far outweigh any fears you or your team may have about virtual assistants. Some of the most common excuses used for avoiding this helpful technology, such as the following, can be refuted easily. 

Chatbots are just a trend

One of the most popular reasons businesses resist chatbots is that they think they’re just a trend. Hardly. Some chatbots predate computers. Long before there was Alexa, there was ELIZA. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed the mother of all chatbots in 1966 under that moniker. ELIZA used a decision tree support algorithm to walk through some simple scenarios. Software engineers continued to build on the earlier success through the 1980s and 1990s. Chatbot technology became standard in most automated telephone systems using simple decision trees.

Chatbot technology has continued to evolve both in automated telephone systems and online. North America and the UK dominate the chatbot market, with a share of 55.5 percent. One of the most compelling reasons why chatbots are here to stay is that they have evolved far beyond the simple decision trees of their early years. They have become more intuitive and can recognize images and everyday language regardless of accents. You can have quite the conversation with a chatbot online without ever realizing you aren’t speaking to a real person.

Customers prefer talking to humans

There is some truth to this common reason companies avoid adding chatbots to their customer service lineup. Early versions of virtual assistants could be clunky and annoying, forcing customers through an endless menu of options before providing the help they sought. 

Not anymore. AI chatbots and automated phone assistants have gotten smarter and more conversational. They can more accurately identify customer needs to quickly solve problems. Maybe the solution is to connect to a representative at your company who can finish the transaction. Or the answer might be to provide a customer with their automated account balance. Even when consumers would rather speak with a live customer service member immediately, they still favour interacting with chatbots over long wait times on hold.

We don’t need a virtual assistant

As a business leader or financial advisor, you may not think you need a chatbot to help with customer service. What do your employees think? If you haven’t asked them, you’re missing out on valuable input from the front lines.

Companies that resist using virtual assistance for automated customer service calls or online interactions from their websites fail to understand its true value. You may not be able to clone your call center agents, but you can replicate their capabilities with chatbots. Why does this matter? Well, it can greatly relieve the burden on your team members by providing them with the assistance they need to filter calls and solve customer problems.

Chatbots can do more than keep customers happy. They can help improve employee retention. Here’s how.

  • Chatbots enhance employee self-service. Your customers aren’t the only ones who may have questions or need assistance. Employees can rely on chatbots 24/7 to help with employee benefit questions, scheduling, or other issues that arise.
  • Chatbots streamline hiring and onboarding. AI has become more adept at finding the right candidates to fill roles, ensuring qualified applicants make it through the recruitment process quicker. Once hired, those same virtual assistants can seamlessly onboard new employees from virtually anywhere.
  • Chatbots assist with skill development. Professional development can be the bane of any employee’s existence. Virtual assistants can help with reskilling and upskilling, ensuring your team members have ongoing growth opportunities.
  • Chatbots make customer service more responsive. Virtual assistants can do more than reduce long wait times for customers eager to speak to a real person. They also can help your live customer service agents retrieve access to data and information that helps solve customers’ problems quickly.

On average, it costs just over $4,000 to hire and train a new employee and roughly 42 days to fill vacancies. Repeating the cycle can quickly add up. AI can help increase the likelihood your new hires will stick around. Still think you don’t need a virtual assistant?

 

We don’t have money in the budget

Some companies justify their reluctance to use chatbots on their tight annual budgets. The truth is you don’t need much wiggle room to put virtual assistants to work for your brand. There are virtual assistance models designed to fit every budget. Companies can automate end-to-end processes to create value at every level of their business model or choose only those that fit within their financial constraints.

Capitalizing on chatbot AI produces a return on that investment. Implementing a fully functional chatbot is cheaper than hiring another employee. An added benefit is that unlike a human member of your customer service team, a chatbot never needs to take breaks. This can lead to high engagement and sales opportunities by making information available to your target audience during times when human staff are not on the clock. Their flexibility alone makes chatbots a worthwhile addition to any size venture.

Simplify customer service with chatbots

From solving customer issues to analyzing email requests in real time, the breadth and scope of virtual assistance are nearly limitless. As AI continues to advance, chatbots and other virtual assistance technology can mean the difference between staying competitive and falling behind.

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