10 Key Tips to Launch A Virtual Assistant Successfully
When you complete each and every technical step to create a successful virtual assistant, it is time to build a marketing strategy and set the action steps to successfully launch it. Beyond the technical part, marketing is crucial to ensure that the virtual assistant is used by the target audience and creates value in terms of both the needs of the end-user and the company’s initial aims to build an assistant.
In this blog, we discuss the components of a successful launch for a virtual assistant after all the technical phases are completed.
1- Design an image, name, and voice
To make your virtual assistant attractive and to ensure that it supports your overall brand strategy you should create a unique character or at least a stylish brand name for your virtual assistant. Creative brand components aligned with your corporate identity will motivate your customers to chat with the assistant.
In most cases, companies initiate their virtual assistant as a chatbot on the text-based channels and they add a voice assistant in the upcoming phases. When it comes to a voice assistant, character building becomes a deeper process where the company should set the tone, the gender, the voice, and the manner of the communication.
You can involve the end users in the design process to some extent. Conducting a small survey for selecting the name or the image of an avatar might increase users’ awareness of your virtual assistant and make them feel themselves part of the creation process.
2 – Start with a soft launch
After testing your virtual assistant in several steps, you should consider a soft launch where you display the assistant to a limited group such as the employees or a small part of the target audience. As the volume of interactions is limited you can better monitor and redesign the conversations based on the user reactions. There are several ways to plan a soft launch instead of displaying the assistant to everyone:
- Only set the assistant in specific languages, channels, or web pages
- Turn on the assistant only for specific periods
- Display the assistant to only a percentage of the web page visitors that are selected randomly
3 – Direct the customers from other channels
If the virtual assistant is part of a customer service strategy, in most cases the company wants to move the customers from human-based channels to the virtual assistant which is a cost-effective way of communication. Directing the customers from the agent conversations to text or voice-based assistants is an important part of launching a virtual assistant. It is evident that each channel of communication can be considered as a way to remind customers that the assistant is ready to serve them instantly and easily. Beyond reminding, you can force the customers to chat with the assistant by avoiding them to get some specific information or realise some specific transactions via human-based channels. A proper communication to encourage the customers to interact with the virtual assistant for a specific action might increase the usage.
4 – Advertise on all social media channels
Launching a new virtual assistant is an important development for a company that deserves an extensive announcement through all social media channels. In addition to posting the announcement, it is typically a good idea to switch your social media cover photos to images that publicise your virtual assistant.
5 – Promote your virtual assistant with a channel-based approach
You can promote your virtual assistant on the channel that it is positioned to help the customers. Each channel requires different actions. To mention a few examples:
- If the virtual assistant is on the website, the assistant can pop up and write a specific message when the user is on a specific part of the website. It helps to convert site visitors into users.
- For Facebook Messenger, it is easy to post Facebook Messenger links on your website and other social media accounts.
- For the virtual assistants that operate on your WhatsApp channel you can consider sending business initiated-messages to your customer base to announce that the assistant is ready to help.
- If your organisation operates in physical locations, you can make use of QR codes to provide customers with easy access to your virtual assistant.
6 – Blog your bot development process
It is always a good way to tell the story of your assistant creation process which will attract the attention of both end users and other companies who plan to launch their own virtual assistants.
You should capture the initial idea, the essence of how it was built, the key decisions, and any other phases in the process. This content will provide your company with good recognition as a technology leader.
7- Announce it with a press release
In most cases, businesses announce their virtual assistants with a press release in addition to social media posts. The key is always to highlight the benefits of the bot, in other words, tell how it creates benefits for the end users. You should design the press release in a way that leverages your brand positioning and your company’s thought leadership.
8 – Prioritise your existing customers
Your existing customers deserve to be informed about the assistant in a special manner. Each company has a customer or prospect database to announce the virtual assistant via an emailing campaign. This emailing campaign should directly encourage the contact to go and try the assistant and clearly explain which benefits it will offer.
9 – Leverage influencers
You can use an influencer to promote their virtual assistant. An influencer can use the assistant and post it on social media and encourage the target audience to use and share opinions about it. Specifically, if the assistant is targeting a defined age group or social profile, using celebrities can play a key role in raising awareness of the bot, and helping people find and use it.
10 – Don’t hesitate to announce your assistant on larger platforms & celebrate the success
If you think that the team responsible for the creation of the virtual assistant did a great job, announce it on larger platforms in a bold way. A key way of doing this is submitting the virtual assistant to the relevant award programs and competitions. These programs might be national or international but it is certain that winning an award or being featured by a distinguished institution will increase the team’s motivation to leverage the assistant, motivate the decision makers to invest more on it and enhance your overall brand performance.
There are small tips for successfully launching your virtual assistant whether it is a text based or voice based one. It is apparent that these actions require teamwork where the marketing, creative, CX and technical teams work together and contribute to the whole process. After launching it, there are other steps to maintain it, as implementing a virtual assistant is not a one-shot process, but an ongoing journey that you should always keep an eye on.