While your organization may be excited to make the switch to a virtual agent, it is important that your customers share in this excitement. In order for this to happen, your customers must trust the AI you deploy. With 77% of customers using an AI-powered service or device everyday, it is not a foreign concept to most. However, there are some precautions that must be taken to ensure your customers are as confident in your virtual agent as you are.
Whether you are deploying an AI-powered bot, virtual assistant, or conversational IVR phone system, your customer’s trust must be a top priority. Below we discuss some ways to ensure trust is maintained with your customers.
1. Show your customers how they benefit
The first step towards getting your customers to trust your virtual agent is showing them why you deployed it in the first place. Promote your AI for all the benefits it brings. This can be done by promoting statistics of how much time is saved by using your AI-powered bot or virtual assistant, posting testimonials from your previous clients, or providing examples of popular use cases that your AI has succeeded in. Whether it’s efficiency, simplicity or availability, there is something about a virtual agent that can win over almost any customer. In fact, recent research from Salesforce has shown that customers who have interacted with AI are 9.5 times more likely to call it “revolutionary” than “insignificant”. Before customers can trust your AI, they must be willing to give it a try.
2. Be ethical when designing your AI
To maintain the trust of your customers, it is crucial to remain ethical when designing and optimizing your AI-powered bot or virtual assistant. If asked, a simple reminder of your bot’s compliance to privacy laws, such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and other similar data protection policies, could put their minds at ease. This is particularly important in use cases where customers divulge personal information such as banking and retail transactions. In cases where your bot authenticates users and asks them to log in before providing user-specific information, sending a quick message reminding customers that their information will not be shared, and upon request can be forgotten, can make them much more willing to accept assistance from your AI. Verifying their identity prior to receiving personalized help can also reinforce the fact that you are serious about protecting their data.
3. Be honest and transparent
It is important to be upfront and honest with your customers throughout their virtual agent experience. This usually starts with your bot identifying itself as an AI-powered Virtual Assistant, and often includes details on how they will use data to provide a better customer experience. A good way to do this is to have your bot start each interaction by introducing itself and what it can help with. This way, the customer knows who they are speaking with and can choose whether or not to continue the interaction. Another way to reduce any distrust towards your AI is to have as much information about the workings of your bot available, if at all possible. It is much easier to trust a bot’s conclusion if you are able to see or understand the basics of how it arrived at that conclusion.
4. Maintain a human-like presence
Although it is critical to let your customers know they are speaking to AI, it is equally important to ensure the AI still delivers the service you would expect from a human. These characteristics will help customers see that your bot or virtual assistant is not a daunting, foreign technology but a useful tool. There are many ways to personify your bot. These include giving it a name and personality, as well as training them with a somewhat casual, natural dialect that is reflective of your brand.
In addition, it is important to let your customers know a live agent is available for them at any time should they need or want one. This will prevent your customers from feeling as if they are trapped with a bot and cannot get the assistance they need, especially if they need to escalate an issue. Virtual agents are meant to work alongside agents and cannot run autonomously – it requires constant training and optimization from humans to learn and get better everyday. Therefore, a lot of it’s human-like characteristics are brought to life from the very humans who take care of it.
As your company’s customer service environment evolves, it is important no customer gets left behind. While many will be eager to embrace virtual agents, you may encounter some who are skeptical. This is why it is essential to ease the transition for them, building trust between customers and your AI. When customers trust your AI-powered bot or virtual assistant, they will feel safe enjoying all the help and benefits it brings them.