Virtual assistants: The software development behind them and how they improve your business

Anyone with a business wants the greatest return possible on their services, as well as to stand out for the quality of their work. Thanks to software development, companies have tools at their disposal with which to improve the quality of their tasks, and by default, the brand itself. Adapting to the trends of the times is paramount to standing out from the crowd.

In order to position a business among the best in their industry, preparing it for a digital transformation is incredibly important, so that it’s able to not only keep up, but surpass the competition. It’s imperative to expand whenever possible, as this obviously brings in a bigger audience, which inevitably increases income.

What is needed to grow a business?

Some answers seem obvious: open more franchises, hire more employees, add special services like delivery, among others. But there is one key aspect that needs to be at the top of the list overall: customer service. With this, we’re not referring to the action itself, but how the service is provided. Many companies deal directly with their customers; the difference is how they communicate with them.

A company that treats their customers poorly will quickly damage its reputation and hurt their chances with prospects, as people who have gone through a bad experience with a business are incredibly likely to share it extensively. The idea is to trigger the complete opposite: give customers the best experience possible so that they share it, attracting more business.

This is where virtual assistants come in. While the business is expanding, more people will try to establish communication with some part of the company, to the point where it will be impossible to cater to all of them as you can’t hire enough employees to be available to communicate with your customers on a one-to-one ratio. Virtual assistants are a tailor-made software.

One of the best technological solutions

In simple terms, virtual assistants are robots that use an interface that is well known to us humans: Conversation. Yes, everyone can speak like a human, but the benefits of an automated assistant go far beyond that when it comes to benefits. More on this later.

First of all, the machines that will be in charge of customer service need a sophisticated artificial intelligence setup to perfectly understand the messages they receive in spoken or written conversations with customers, taking into account the fact that these won’t always be correctly formulated, spelled, or pronounced, depending on the scenario.

Just like customers can ask for information, virtual assistants can request it from clients, for example, to complete an online sale. The problem here is that the more information that is asked of a customer, the more likely they are to become suspicious of the transaction. In the case that information is needed, only the absolutely necessary should be asked.   

Complexity in building the perfect virtual assistant

Making a machine communicate with a human is complicated, especially if the business uses informal language which can lend itself to multiple interpretations, double-meanings, or misunderstandings, depending on the context.

Customers can potentially misspell their messages: “wat time u close?” or “how much are this?” are not in proper grammar, and that’s the key part to prepare for. Poorly written messages due to typos for missing a key, contractions, or common acronyms are the new normal. Obviously, it’s unreasonable to expect everyone to write perfectly, which is why the virtual assistant must be programmed to understand any word, with possible misspellings, while also being able to properly read the context of the message.

Something similar happens with the virtual assistants programmed to process the voice of the customers, as sometimes people mispronounce words or have accents that change their intonation of a word, and it’s also important to keep in mind those with vocal handicaps or any disability that prevents them from pronouncing words clearly. With this in mind, a virtual assistant must be able to:

  • Identify the customer’s voice, differentiating them from other voices that may appear in the audio
  • Ignore background noise
  • Recognize the sound of each word, even if it’s mispronounced.

In the case of the customer using slang words, independently of where they’re from, the virtual assistant must be programmed to recognize all of the vocabulary in the language to create a friendly environment, obviously avoiding any profanity or words that could be misinterpreted.

Benefits of a virtual assistant

At this point, it’s clear that leaving this job to a machine can create positive tangible results and allows companies to save employees’ time so they, for example, don’t have to answer the same question repeatedly. Having a virtual assistant is almost like having an additional human resource in the team. Other important benefits include:

  • Customers don’t have to wait too long to receive an answer, it’s immediate
  • This is customer service 24/7, without having to hire someone for overtime
  • More productivity with reduced labor pressure
  • Increased competitiveness in the industry
  • Increased customer loyalty and trust in your business
  • More time for your employees to deal with specific and complex situations.

Other aspects to have in mind

Virtual assistants not only help the customers, but also the workforce and business owners, because they automate tasks which increases the amount of time and resources that can be devoted to something else. What other tasks can a virtual assistant accomplish, you ask? Well, another common and time-consuming item on the to-do list of many companies is marketing via sending promotion e-mails or other delivery platforms. This is something that can easily be added to the virtual assistant’s list.

Billing cycles, for example, with companies that provide internet, phone, TV, etc. are inconvenient both for the company requiring payment, as well as for the customer that most likely needs a reminder. The billing itself together with the task of sending messages can be bundled up into an automated system that works on its own to remind consumers when and how much they owe, which will turn into money saved for the company by eliminating or at least decreasing the use of materials like paper, shipping items, as well as in human resources.

In closing, virtual assistants are just one of the wonderful ways in which software development can create. To inquire about your own virtual assistant, you can reach out to us, as an enterprise with a proven track record of automating tasks.