Technology makes it seem appear the days of the human Virtual Assistant are numbered. Apple started the revolution last 14 October 2011 when it launched its virtual assistant “Siri” with the Apple iPhone 4S. Since then other technology giants such as Motorola, Black Berry, Facebook and of course, Microsoft followed suit.
But does that mean the human Virtual Assistant will go the way of the dinosaurs and become extinct? Is Siri the virtual comet that ends the civilization of human virtual assistants?
The answer is an unequivocal “No” for the following reasons:
Human VA’s Have Foresight. In an unpredictable business environment as we are in right now, you need to implement flexible strategies.
The key to having effective flexible business strategies is foresight because it helps you anticipate changes in conditions before it happens.
People have the capacity to foresee because they are constantly working, learning and thriving. Tech VA’s functions depend on their programming capabilities.
Human VA’s Can Adapt. When a human VA foresees change, he or she can conceptualize strategies or introduce revisions to the current one in order to accommodate potential problems.
Tech VA’s are limited to the extent they can design, adapt and implement changes to strategy. Even if they can, they will not conduct tests and assurances the human VA does to ensure risks are mitigated.
Tech VA’s Have No Empathy. If you think dealing with human Customer Service is frustrating, try dealing with a customer service with a tech VA.
Customer service is all about creating a feedback loop between the end user and the service provider. The feedback loop allows a consistent exchange of ideas that will hopefully lead to a resolution.
It is common for human VA’s to deal with irate customers online or over the phone. In order to placate the customer, the Virtual Assistant must know how to re-route the negative energy and navigate it toward positive solutions.
You need empathy for this; the ability to place oneself in the position of the customer. Siri and the rest of the tech VA’s do not have empathy.
Tech VA’s Have a “Hidden Agenda”. Before you decide to download a tech VA, you should understand there is a price to pay for the convenience. These technology giants use the tech VA’s to compile information about users.
Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and all of these giants want to know your online behavior so they will know which products or services they can sell to you.
It should be no surprise that over the last few years, Facebook has been moving away from being a social media site to becoming an advertising company.
Big Data is Big Business; if they have information on you, they can monetize this in a number of ways.
Despite their imperfections, human Virtual Assistants remain more valuable than a tech VA. If your human VA makes a mistake, it is easy to rectify the issue and come up with an immediate solution. But tech VA’s may require program reviews and further analysis.
In a volatile and unpredictable world, perfection is not a realistic objective. In fact, it is precisely because of the imperfection of the human VA that makes him or her more valuable in this day and age.