When I have trouble with a product, I often find myself on the company’s website tracking down how to fix it. Often the info on the webpages doesn’t go deep enough to help my particular circumstance. I try on-line chat if available and sometimes wonder if the agent is virtual or a real person. It’s not so easy to tell at first.
Most consumers prefer to have a conversation with a person to help them resolve issues with after-sales support. The cost to staff call centers or live chat can be prohibitive for some companies, especially in mature market countries where labor costs tend to be higher.
Virtual agents handle many consumer questions and help diagnose problems with devices. As with a human agent, the ability of the virtual agent to provide help depends in part on how good their knowledgebase is. For virtual agents, their ability to understand my question in any of the half a dozen or so ways I choose to ask it is key. Several companies are improving the virtual agents’ ability to process natural language and give a response in a conversation-like manner.
With consumer electronics, it can be difficult to know whether the trouble is due to the device, or its connector box, or the software, etc. Some providers of virtual assistant technology seamlessly link the virtual agent for the company that makes the device, with the virtual agent of the company that makes the connector box, with the virtual agent of the company that provides the software application, etc. They go right through the checklist for diagnosing a problem, and it is easy not to notice the hand-off to another company. There is no “hold” while being transferred between agents. As a consumer if there is a problem with a device I’ve purchased, I want to get it resolved conveniently with one chat session or call, if possible. The latest virtual agent capabilities in on-line chat are one way to improve the after-sales support experience.
Thank you for reading my blog! I suggest you take a look at the following Gartner reports on consumer research, emerging chatbot technology and players pertinent to the virtual assistant market.
You may need to be a Gartner client to view these documents.