Why You Shouldn’t Let a Personal Virtual Assistant Represent Your Brand

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With the rise of Personal Virtual Assistant offerings from Apple, Amazon, and Google, the fact is that these brands are increasingly becoming part of your customers’ lives. With a simple voice command, these AI-powered helpers provide on-demand information and productivity. And, when it comes to your customers, you have every reason to be jealous.

As Apple and other Personal Virtual Assistant (PVA) providers open their APIs, more brands can reach customers through these interfaces. Which can mean great things for your business, because artificial intelligence can both increase efficiency and minimize customer frustration. But the more you rely on external AI systems to manage touch points, the less you can control and benefit from these interactions.

Each “Siri, where’s the closest [your store]?” makes Apple the hero. Each “Okay, Google, set up an appointment with [your brand]” is a lost opportunity to show that you – not Google Assistant – make things easy.

Simply put, PVAs get between you and your valuable customers. Despite this, it’s understandable why there is a significant temptation to partner with these automated middlemen. After all, executives everywhere are curious about the business benefits of AI, including:

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    Strengthening competitive advantage
    Generating revenue
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But while every relationship is about compromise, do you really need to trade direct access to your customers to get these benefits?

A MORE HARMONIOUS CHOICE
Artificial intelligence clearly offers a lot of advantages to enterprise-level companies. But relying on external AI means PVA providers reap the benefits, and deprive you of the opportunity to create your own brand experience.

The alternative? Having an enterprise Virtual Assistant of your own. Especially in today’s customer-obsessed business environment, competing with rival suitors is the only way to keep your customers happy – and loyal. Here’s how having your own AI-powered customer care solution lets you do just that.

BENEFIT #1: COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
Marketing alone can only do so much. In fact, for many brands, customer experience is the most important (or even only) differentiator they have. That means direct access to your customers is one of your most valuable resources.

By having your own Virtual Assistant, you can ensure a positive end-to-end customer journey. It’s a lot easier to stand out from the competition when there’s no third-party Virtual Assistant cutting you off from your own customers.

BENEFIT #2: REVENUE GENERATION
Customer experience is critical to brand affinity. It’s not only about additional revenue opportunities – it’s also about mitigating risk and the loss of existing customers. Just one negative experience with your brand can turn once loyal customers into detractors. And thanks to the rise and pervasiveness of social media, each view or share compounds the damage of a frustrating customer experience.

With your own Virtual Assistant powering customer care, you own the channels customers use to communicate with you. That means you can deliver a truly branded experience, including supporting lucrative upsell and promotional opportunities. Customers still get the on-the-go convenience they demand, while you strengthen your relationship at the same time.

BENEFIT #3: DATA OWNERSHIP
In the competitive world of customer care, data ownership is critical. Customer insights provide valuable data that can be used to create even more intelligent solutions via Machine Learning – but where this data lives is extremely important. If a PVA is controlling the dialogue with your customers, then your company data is actually being held elsewhere. This means that buying preferences, customer data, frequency of contact or any information that your customers share may not make its way to you. Your customer data is a valuable asset, which is why it’s important that you control the interactions with your customers.

BENEFIT #4: NEW EFFICIENCIES
Reducing frustration and manual effort? That could be a lot easier – and with automation, it is. If you have a branded Virtual Assistant, you can automate routine transactions and streamline more complex ones. Like sending a map and directions to customers who ask for your closest location. Or resetting a password without the need for a live agent. Or serving up product recommendations at just the right time to optimize conversion. You can even reference prior customer actions to show that you really do listen and remember.

For consumers, artificial intelligence continues to offer improvements in everyday life. And for businesses looking to expand their customer care capabilities, the implications are significant too. Standing out from the competition. Enhancing revenue streams. And empowering easier and more efficient ways to get things done.

Having an enterprise Virtual Assistant of your own makes these benefits possible. All while minimizing customer effort – and without surrendering direct access to your customers. When it comes to harnessing artificial intelligence for customer care, a branded Virtual Assistant is the smart way to build stronger, more profitable relationships.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Tara, while I agree that these tools create a man-in-the-middle that has the potential of decoupling brands from customers – given that there is an increasing weariness to install apps and the increasing popularity of voice controlled devices: What (besides marketing Interactions’ tools and services 😉 ) would be your strategy to get best of both worlds?

    Cheers
    Thomas
    @twieberneit

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