How Chat and Virtual Agents Can Work Together to Best Serve Customers

Kevin Payne | January 30, 2015

The ideal experience for a customer is getting the information they want with minimal effort. If I’m on your website and have a question, I may not stick around long if I have to wrestle with how to get an answer. But if you anticipate what my question may be, and automatically offer me the most appropriate way to get the One Right Answer, I'm likely to to buy, visit again and spread the word.

So how do you determine in advance whether the better path to a customer’s answer is via a virtual agent or live chat? And what’s the best way for those solutions to work together?

A recent report from Forrester Research (published in October 2014) addressed these issues. "Good Alone, Better Together: Integrating Chat and Virtual Agents" describes how an integrated self-service approach helps deliver seamless online experiences. It covers key areas including:

  • Building Virtual-Agent-To-Chat Pathways:

    The solution is to use predictive analysis that works in real-time in the background. This can determine whether a virtual agent or a live chat representative has a higher likelihood of successfully answering the customer’s question. And it can escalate as needed, automatically passing along the customer’s data to maintain context throughout their journey.

  • Avoiding Self-Service Pitfalls:

    Self-service tools can be more harmful than helpful, especially if customers have to manually switch between channels, or worse: get conflicting answers. You'll learn how to ensure unified self-service experiences by steering clear of three critical situations: Incomplete knowledge bases; “one size fits all” escalation strategies; and siloed infrastructure.

  • Developing a Strategy for Self-Service Success

    The report explains the six elements needed for self-service to create smooth experiences. That includes a crucial one: incorporating technology to provide customers with situation-specific assistance. This leads to improved revenue and satisfaction, and ultimately to turning your customers into your advocates.

You can learn more by downloading the Forrester Research report or joining a Good Alone, Better Together webinar on February 12. It will feature Forrester analyst Brendan Witcher, the author of the report.