Have you ever noticed how everyone in your business is always busy? Wherever you go in any organization, you’ll find every department run off their feet, with too few resources, not enough time, and a seemingly maddening need to juggle twenty projects at once.
Despite the help and efficiencies that technology has brought us, the same electronics that made our lives easier has also ramped up expectations. Every customer, contact, or prospect needs attention right now, whether in the Marketing Department where new leads are developed, or Sales where deals are hammered out, or in Customer Care, where help and support are needed on tap.
The reality is that everyone now is so used to getting immediate results from an app, the click of a mouse or the touch of a screen, that to be successful, organizations have to be on-the-ball 24/7 — and that’s why everyone in the building is so very, very busy.
Breaking down the problems
The details of the problems faced by departments and business functions across the organization change. For instance, in the Marketing function, there’s a great deal of pressure to supply qualified leads to the Sales department. For Marketing, therefore, that means a great deal of initial activity (for instance, organizing campaigns around webinars or virtual conferences), plus people-profiling, background research and vetting.
By the time Sales get leads, the problems are different. Sales tend to take a long time: conversion from prospect to customer isn’t a quick process. So, it’s easy for a potential lead to go forgotten, or for a red-hot prospect to look elsewhere (to a competitor, typically) because of lack of attention.
And even after the new customer is onboard, there are numerous questions to answer, supplementary information to give, help, and advice to impart. On the shop floor of the Customer Success function, the problem is coping with the influx of inquiries, sorting out the “low-hanging fruit,” and spending the appropriate amounts of time helping and guiding the customer.
When these three activities come together, customers become brand advocates, which is great news. When that doesn’t happen, however, it’s usually because workloads are too high and resources too scarce. Therefore, potential customers walk away or worse, publicly express their dissatisfaction.
The way(s) out
Any organization struggling with its workload can usually solve these types of problems with a checkbook: employing more people certainly lightens the load, but the costs are astronomically high.
However, companies today are starting to use exciting new possibilities in technology that are only just beginning to appear in this space. And early adopters are getting fantastic results; results which are putting them streets ahead of their competitors.
The technology platforms in question are built on the “traditional” chatbot, but rather than a dumb set of computer code that trots out rote answers, this new generation of intelligent virtual assistants learns as it goes along and improves, feeding off the data it’s given, both from customers and the data that the company already has in its databases.
Such a solution coming with literally 1,000s of “data points” built-in, is from AI assistant specialist, Conversica. Conversica’s software can not only “read the room” in multiple settings (pre-sales, Marketing, customer care & support, and so on), but a single platform can be used in dozens of ways, right across the organization’s activities. That means it can handle thousands of communications, simultaneously, 24/7/365.
In this article, we’ll not dive too deeply into the underlying technology (look out for a later article where we add tech “flesh” to the bones of the Conversica Intelligent Virtual Assistants), but for now, here are a few pointers.
– Think of the intelligent virtual assistant as part of an augmented workforce. The smart bots will follow up on marketing activities for you, answer questions and help spread the word (there’s full integration with martech like Hubspot and the like).
– The sales pipeline won’t leak because smart bots can initiate contact, answer inquiries intelligently, and respond with the information that you’ve tailored for your prospects.
– Instead of customer care departments having to repeat the same answers to the same queries, the smart assistants use AI to help determine the issue, help out in the right ways, support the client and, where necessary, refer the customer on to a human or to other resources.
Unification of sales and marketing, and data
As Sales, Marketing, and Customer Support come together to use the same code, the smart, AI-powered virtual assistants are at use in millions of simultaneous conversations. The platform brings together communications using data from existing systems: the marketing tech platform, the sales and aftercare CRMs, the enterprise-wide ERP, and even the highly localized databases found in all corners of the modern organizations.
The AI brain trains to learn the specialist ways the company operates and can get a jump start from many thousands of templates available. Along with NLP (natural language processing), the Conversica intelligent automation platform can understand sentiment and react accordingly, automatically sending messages internally or externally, alerting personnel, and adapting over time to new and more challenging circumstances.
The conversational library that ships with the Conversica solution is already vast and rich, but the AI engine can be adapted and improved, and of course, it scales seamlessly as demand grows.
This article has only scratched the surface of what’s possible with the new generation of AI-powered intelligent virtual assistants. The technology can free up a great deal of overworked staff’s time, remove a massive amount of the heavy-lifting that everyone in the company has to do daily, and finally puts to use the data goldmines that most of us are sitting on.
To learn more, check back on these pages in a few weeks, or, if you can’t wait, head on over to the Conversica site to learn more.