Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Virtual Assistants: 5 things to consider when choosing the right technology

The Virtual Assistant (VA) market has grown exponentially in the past two years. This is an exciting time in the industry. Technology is improving daily and new methodologies for providing Artificial Intelligence are sprouting everywhere.

This brings a renewed need for identifying the right components of a VA technology. The following list was created based on the 17 years of experience noHold has in the AI and Virtual Assistant space.

Customer Experience
Addressing customer need is paramount. The people who purchase and use your product must be considered with the utmost importance. When choosing a VA technology, ensure a history of success by looking at long term customers. The amount of time that a customer has used a given technology not only indicates the customer’s appreciation of the experience, but also reflects the positive experiences gained by the ultimate end users - your customers. The more long term customers a VA provider has, the more likely they are to consider the customer first.

The second part of customer experience is to learn and cater specifically to your user base. This means utilizing methodologies like journey mapping to understand pain points for users and identification of where a VA can help. The user interface must also be flexible and meet the requirements of your users. That means mobile first, intuitive placement, clear position statements, and meeting the customer where they are - your website, Facebook, Twitter, and Google.

Scalability
You need a VA technology that is scalable. Handling hundreds or thousands of knowledge artifacts is imperative. Look for a provider that offers multiple import options and an easy-to-use set of authoring and editing tools so administrators can make modifications. Your ability to act fast on the content and information gleaned from the VA will ensure a higher degree of success.

The underlying resources need to respond to demand of the users - for example, automatically scaling with traffic spikes when a new product is released - is quite important too. Cloud hosting means your platform responds to demand without the need for human intervention. When your servers are in the cloud, you do not have to worry about planning and modifying systems to accommodate varying usage rates.

Administrators
Your customers come first and your platform administrators are just as important. They need tools and processes that enable them to quickly, accurately, and easily author new content, check reports, or deploy a new VA. Look for a technology that enables your people to become administrators, reducing any reliance on the vendor for providing content to your users. Look for a vendor who has SLAs in place that address customer questions within the same business day and who provides training certification for your employees, as well as continuing education services.

Reporting
Your VA must capture KPIs. Not to be confused with personally identifiable information (PII), but rather the type of experiences users have with the VA. You want to be able to identify with only a few clicks the top questions for a given day / week / month. You should be able to measure the number of answers the VA was able to provide, as well as the number that it couldn’t. You should be able to track clicking behavior to understand the information most interesting to your users.

Processes should be in place to move knowledge gaps through content drafts and ultimately approved solutions. Processes should be in place to track escalations - those users who couldn’t find an answer through the VA. These processes are important to help administrators as well as the overall customer experience. It is important to frame your VA as an entity that is in continually growing.

Compliance
Look for VA technology that meets a variety of compliance standards; like SOC 2, GDPR, and WCAG. Your users are concerned with security, privacy, and accessibility. Make sure you choose a VA provider that also prioritizes these things. The technology you choose should be low-risk for security vulnerabilities and should be protecting any user PII that is inadvertently collected. And if collected by design, for example to integrate with a CRM, the data should be collected with transparency to the user and transmitted securely. Your VA should follow guidelines that make it safe to use all over the world. And it should be accessible to everyone, regardless of whether they can see the screen.

For more a personal assessment visit www.nohold.com and contact us.