Intelligent Virtual Agents: Guide to IVA Software and Services

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Learn more about virtual agent software and services for your call center and customer support team. In this article, you learn what a virtual agent is, how a smart virtual agent can help your business, how to measure IVA success over time.

We might have fewer daily commutes these days, but we still feel pressed for time. As a customer service agent, the last thing you want to do is switch between multiple screens adding minutes to your average processing time. As a customer, the last thing you want to do is wait on the phone for the answers you need.

Recognize this feeling? This is what most customers are feeling these days. According to a recent MIT study, 80% of initial customer inquiries can be successfully addressed in virtual events led by virtual assistants, intelligent virtual agents, and conversational AI.

With these new customer expectations, contact centers are turning to tools that use robotic process automation and natural language processing through intelligent virtual assistance to increase agent productivity and solve their most critical customer engagement issues. more frequent.

What is an intelligent virtual agent?

What is an IVA, you ask?

An intelligent virtual agent, also known as an IVA, is a software platform that uses a set of rules and artificial intelligence (AI) to interact with customers. Companies are implementing intelligent virtual agents as a replacement or first interaction with customer service.

Smart virtual agents are similar to the commonly used chatbot. The difference is in the capabilities. Chatbots search for keywords and provide standardized answers, answering a finite set of possible questions. intelligent virtual agents, on the other hand, can respond with questions relevant to solving a customer’s problems or gather additional information to pass on to a live agent.

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Why do you need it ?

Intelligent Virtual Agents allow live agents to automate the first level of engagement with a customer while providing real-time service with integrated omnichannel routing.

Intelligent virtual agents enable the quick response time customers expect, while helping escalate issues that need to be resolved quickly. This type of interaction reduces the need for human agents online from the start and improves the customer journey. According to the MIT Sloan Management Review, “The biggest gains for virtual customer service agents come from improving the customer experience, not cost savings. ”

But there are also significant cost savings to be found. Call centers with unified communications that include workflow automation and omnichannel routing with intelligent virtual agents saw a 239% increase in ROI over 3 years, as this book reveals Forrester white.

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What are the advantages of IVA software?

The advantages of intelligent virtual agent include:

Automating

Intelligent virtual agents are always available and, with the right workflow automations, can get seamless answers to routine questions. If an intelligent virtual agent can predict and navigate a customer’s intentions, it can respond to a customer request faster and more efficiently. The advantages here are twofold: you can infer client intent faster and eliminate wait times to almost zero, as the capacity of an IVA is only determined by the capacity of the server, not the number. of human agents available in real time.

Eliminate waiting time

Intelligent virtual agents provide features that allow call centers to manage transactions with easily programmable information, such as tracking a package or scheduling a meeting. Removing this type of fruit at hand frees up considerable time and reduces service queues for more in-depth investigations.

Consistency

Conversations with the customer use the same terminology and the same mode of communication. The level of experience, personal motivation and current mood of human agents are no longer variables. It also reduces the potential for human errors in a customer interaction. Customers get frustrated when they have to talk to more than one agent and explain their problem over and over again. Intelligent virtual agents help solve this problem by collecting the relevant information and then referring to the right human agent. For example. In a live chat scenario, the customer’s intention is captured up front by the intelligent virtual agent and passed to a live chat agent as needed.

Generate leads and help with cross-selling initiatives

As you collect massive data sheets through IVA, you can analyze and start organizing customer stories based on recurring issues and ultimately improve the customer journey to drive more engagement and prospects. Intelligent virtual agents can also collect relevant information to improve communication between business and customer.

Intelligent virtual agents deliver value for both the business and the customer. It is 6-7 times more expensive for businesses to attract new customers than to keep existing customers.

Okay, so you’ve decided to implement an intelligent virtual agent in your customer service model. Now what?

How to Measure IVA Success in Your Call Center

To determine the effectiveness of your intelligent virtual agent implementation, it is important to track performance at different stages of use. Here are some metrics to consider:

Client satisfaction:

Are your customers getting the answers they need through the virtual agent? And if not, are they properly routed to human agents to resolve their issues?

Improved response speed

Are customers receiving timely responses? If the virtual agent cannot resolve a customer’s issues, they should still be able to reduce call wait times, blocked calls, etc. which ultimately improves response speed.

Conversions

Can you create a conversation path that helps customers not only solve problems and get their questions answered, but also complete other transactions with your business?

Reduced average processing time

intelligent virtual agents can help assimilate information faster for live agents. Especially on complicated calls where multiple account searches may be required, this can save a lot of time and reduce the overall call handling time.

Reduction of escalations

80% of initial requests are successfully handled by intelligent virtual agents, resulting in fewer live agent escalations.

Contact centers that use machine learning and conversational AI technologies to deploy intelligent virtual agents complement the existing productivity of their human agents and are able to automate service tasks.

Intelligent virtual agents help deliver a better customer and agent experience as they create efficiency, increase capacity, and increase overall productivity.
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Virtual agents faq

What is an intelligent virtual agent?

An intelligent virtual agent, also known as an IVA, is a software platform that uses a set of rules and artificial intelligence (AI) to interact with customers. Companies are implementing intelligent virtual agents as a replacement or first interaction with customer service.


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