As the glow of back-office RPA fades, spotlight turns to front-office virtual assistants

As the glow of back-office RPA fades, spotlight turns to front-office virtual assistants

How well a company handles business interactions defines its performance. Within most companies, customers and employees wait too long for support, from getting answers to simple questions to executing complex transaction, and support channels provide limited self-service and poor personalization.

Leading companies are turning to virtual assistants powered by conversational artificial intelligence (AI). Gartner predicts that by the end of 2021, 40 per cent of digital workers will use a virtual employee assistant daily, up from only 2 per cent in 2019, and virtual assistants will automate 69 per cent of front-office workloads by 2024.

Knowing where to aim virtual assistants and understanding how much can be automated has been a key challenge for companies. “If you think about the types and volumes of interactions within a business as a triangle, where simple FAQs are at the wide bottom and strategic debates are the peak, the bottom 80 per cent of interactions can be automated with virtual assistants,” says Adam Devine, chief marketing officer at Kore.

Both customers and employees follow a similar journey into and within a business, starting with FAQs during onboarding, followed by a series of transactions along with efforts to retain and develop, whether that’s upselling customers or making human resources and IT support effortless for employees.

The key to automating this continuum of interactions, while ensuring a great experience, is natural-language processing that can identify both intent, for example “transfer funds”, and entity, for example “from current account to savings”, and manage and lead dialogue with contextual awareness and empathy across any channel.

Intelligent conversational user experience gives people instant, personalised responses from a business, and integrations between virtual assistants, enterprise systems and robotic process automation (RPA) make these conversations actionable by automating a wide range of transactions.

“The benefits speak for themselves,” says Devine. “Typically, businesses that use conversational AI are able to reduce 30 per cent from their front-office costs. That’s a huge win for support teams. Even a single percentage point for big contact centres, which spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year on live agents and technology, really adds up. The speed of service increases tenfold, which increases speed to revenue.

“But probably most importantly, when you’re talking about financial services business in particular, you’re able to improve your customer satisfaction or net promoter score by 25 per cent and fend off competition by born-digital fintech competitors.”

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