We’d like to thank everyone who joined our recent webinar where we discussed strategies for leveraging Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs) to enhance customer and employee experience. This insightful discussion featured panelists from Online Business Systems and one of our key partners, Five9, the number one supplier of intelligent virtual agents in the world.
The webinar opened with a demonstration to showcase how AI agents and live agents can both interact with a customer over multiple communication channels such as voice, chat, and SMS. The AI agent listens, transcribes, records, and provides real-time insights to the live agent who is speaking with the customer creating an enhanced customer experience while improving operational efficiencies by collecting data along the way. What you don’t see in the demo is how voice biometrics were used to provide a very secure interaction as well as hyper-personalization. Check out the interactive demo here.
After the demonstration, a few commonly asked questions were brought to a panel of experts to dissect.
In short, no. Intelligent Virtual Agents can handle more complex and lengthy customer interactions across multiple channels. You no longer need to have long, structured menus that IVRs offer, but rather have bi-directional, natural conversations to help the customer with what they need in up to 120 different languages. IVAs can understand the words, but where they shine is how they can also understand the key elements to support the interaction such as understanding sentiment and pulling out key data points like account number to assist the live agent.
The key difference between different chat systems is the technology used. Live chat, rules-based, and open source systems have been available for quite some time with basic functionality to help customers obtain limited information. The evolution of deep learning has taken IVAs to a new era of customer experience that understands content and context. These natural language engines have been developed by the most advanced data companies like Google and Amazon who have invested billions of dollars into AI technology.
We’ve all had chatbot experiences that leave you frustrated after repeating “representative” to an emotionless bot. But times have changed, and so have customer experiences. COVID left companies with employee shortages so digital interactions became the main way people connect with brands. There has been an influx of self-service technology giving you the ability to get the information you need by speaking to Alexa, Google, or Siri; we’re in a different world now. Customers are beginning to show preference for having an efficient chat with an IVA, provided it does a good job. In fact, IVAs have been shown to resolve calls faster 66% of the time and reduce the amount of misdirected calls by 40% which means customers are actually getting a better experience when IVAs are involved.
On the employee side, customer service staff are left answering the same questions which is a poor use of their time. Removing repetitive tasks from their plates, allows them to focus on more valuable work, leaving them more engaged. IVAs are also becoming much easier to install and integrate for companies which makes the ROI very compelling.
Crawl before you run. Start with a customer experience strategy that considers your business objectives. It’s important to start with a plan rather than investing in the tech solution and end up trying to wedge the technology into your business. Map out where you are, where you want to get and identify how and where an IVA solution fits within that map. Adopting an agile methodology will help you start walking before you run. If you’re unsure where to start, we’re here to help.
- Jaime Reloj, RVP of AI & Automation, Five9
- David Barentsen, a Principal Consultant, Online Business Systems
- Jamie Whitty, our Director of Customer Engagement, Online Business Systems
- Maurice Da Silva, RVP Sales, Five9
- David Neufeld, VP Corporate Services, Online Business Systems