Another recession is coming. It’s part of the economic cycle. And this downturn could be mild or bad… not just for the nation, but for your company.
Fortunately, there’s a tool that can help you sustain your revenue during challenging times and be the difference between whether your business makes it or not. Should you spend some to make some with augmented workforce company Conversica or not? In this story, you’ll see two cases which can help you determine whether or not having a virtual AI sales assistant is the solution to helping companies become recession-proof.
Scenario No. 1: The Case of the Frightened Firm
It’s the third quarter in one of the coming years, and you’re just coming into work.The New York Stock Exchange has been dropping for the last few weeks, and reports show unemployment is on the rise. A headline in your morning paper confirms that the National Bureau of Economic Research is calling it a recession. You and your company have to act, and fast. What do you do?
The good news is that with falling prices for your products and services, your sales team is getting a lot of leads from the public. But there’s a downside. With so many tips to follow up on, you don’t have the human resources to track down all of them. What’s a good lead and what’s a dead end? There are too many cases to sift through. Your sales team is forced to guess, and a bad choice not only means you’ve wasted time chasing a lead that isn’t yet ready to convert to a sale, but your workers used time that could have been better spent with a more promising opportunity.
Enter Conversica with its intelligent virtual assistant, or IVA.
“We’re geared toward engaging customers and other businesses in a humanistic way,” explains John Pincott, general manager, UK at Conversica. “Our augmented workforce drives efficiency in communication. We’re a resource to help companies transition what they do best, in a more efficient way.”
Typically, your marketing department produces leads. But most companies don’t have the scale to deal with a huge volume of leads. They pick and choose the cases with the highest chances of success.
But that’s not what Conversica does. “We approach it differently, giving customers the chance to follow up with every lead in a two-way human-like conversation,” explained Pincott. “The customer doesn’t wait to be contacted by the company; the intelligent virtual assistant (IVA) engages with the prospect immediately. This creates value instantly, a 25% uplift or return on investment. A pipeline is built, and new leads are built.”
This concerned company scenario isn’t completely fictional either.
“There was a global tech company with a great marketing team,” Pincott related, when asked for an example. “They had so many leads. The sales team had to cherry-pick prospects for best chances of success and had to leave too many leads behind. It wasn’t very cost effective. Our intelligent virtual assistants reached every lead. What they once deemed to be low-chance leads, the IVA helped out. They saw huge lift in engaging prospective customers.”
But won’t there be friction between the human and non-human employees? “Humans and machines work harmoniously,” Pincott argued. “They help humans do what they do best. It’s all about efficiency, getting more bang for [your] buck.”
Scenario No. 2: The Case of the Concerned College
At the college you work at, you’ve got enrollment targets to hit to keep the doors open, and a looming recession isn’t going to help. It’s hard to tell who’s more nervous: parents paying the bills, donors taking a hit in the market to their funds or students before the big exam.
A lot of students want to go to universities. But finding the one that’s interested in your school is a tall order, with so many prospective students and so few staffers in your admission department to get them to apply to your college, accept your offer, put down the deposit and pay the tuition. There are almost three times as many high school graduates as college students, but where do you find the ones that fit your profile, who have the interest, can make the grade and walk across the stage to get the diploma on graduation day?
Colleges aren’t as different from corporations as one might think. They have to find future students the way companies must chase clients. “We work with multi-billion-dollar companies, but we also work with much smaller organizations as well,” Pincott explained.
So how can Conversica help colleges? “It’s like hiring an SDR (sales development representative). This assistant’s job is to reengage in potential clients across many verticals, for education, telecom, tech, financial services. Our IVA has a phenomenal capacity for help, and they can work 24/7.”
According to Pincott, it not only successful but also usable. “To be effective, it had to be easy. From signing an agreement to going live, it could be up and running in seven days. We build into platforms, sit along their tech stack or education management platform. It’s easy to deploy, and short, requiring just a few hours of interaction.”
The college connection is not just a hypothetical case study, either. Conversica works with universities, and not just the high-end cases or Ivy Leagues; the real need is in those colleges that have to work hard to recruit students.
You Can’t Avoid a Recession—But You Can Cope, Perhaps
“I worked in software for a long time, always interested in helping businesses be more efficient, with the sharpest tools, and an IVA is a sharp one,” Pincott told Observer. “You need to use all of the tools available. It’s not about avoiding a recession, but coping with it.”
Pincott, a Canadian, went to Europe, interested in e-commerce. His “origin story” wasn’t about taking apart clocks or building a computer in his garage, but starting a business. “I started working with minor construction and decorating, made money, hired friends,” he explained. “Then, I went from being an entrepreneur to American Express, earning an MBA in France in international business. I’m not a techie. I live in awe of them though.”
His work with Conversica and its AI assistants isn’t driven by a lifelong love of computers but an understanding of the value of this technology for businesses.
“We show you that here is your investment, and here is your return,” Pincott asserted, sharing several reviews with me. “We provide value-add for sales, marketers and customer success and help to drive revenue. You can’t afford not to invest in this.”
John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Georgia—read his full bio.