If you have ever called out “Hey Siri” or “Hey Alexa”, then you have used an Intelligent Virtual Agent.
But while tools like Apple’s Siri, Alexa or Google Assistant have helped improve our everyday lives, many businesses are using Intelligent Virtual Agents to increase the quality of customer experiences.
Today’s consumers are accustomed to immediate and fast responses – from same and next day package deliveries to instant messaging apps. The reality of contact centres, however, is that agents are often at capacity while floods of customer requests are coming in, requiring customer calls or chats to be placed in a queue.
With these new customer expectations, businesses are turning to Intelligent Virtual Agents to boost agent productivity and solve customer service challenges.
What is an Intelligent Virtual Agent?
Intelligent Virtual Agents, sometimes called digital agents, are like a digital workforce. They work like employees, carrying out tasks and learning skills over time, only they are a piece of software. An IVA uses a set of rules and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to interact with customers.
Onecom partners with Five9, which recently awarded us EMEA Innovation Partner of the Year, to deliver an Intelligent Virtual Agent solution which not only helps to automate and improve the day-to-day experience and workload of your staff, but also the expectations and satisfaction of your customers.
What are the business benefits of Intelligent Virtual Agents?
Works together with business systems
Integrations with your CRM, contact centre or customer support software are crucial to track customer activity and close any leads generated. Intelligent Virtual Agents can easily be integrated with your current business systems, such as Salesforce, enabling customer enquiries to be logged directly in the CRM.
Intelligent Virtual Agents can carry out the same interactions as you or I, whether that’s a voice call or online chat, in multiple languages.
Not only this, but many live agents would prefer to have digital agents performing tasks like answering questions on store hours or locations – answers that might be readily available on the web but contact centre agents are having to answer calls for.
With an Intelligent Virtual Agent, your live agents are relieved from mundane tasks, and as a result their work becomes more interesting, and they can handle more complex customer issues. This can greatly improve productivity, their engagement and job satisfaction
Productivity also increases when pressure is taken off your contact centre as Intelligent Virtual Agents take care of customer requests during busy periods.
Improve customer experience
A Virtual Agent can help to improve customer experience in a number of ways:
Faster response time – one of the most important factors for a good customer experience is a fast response to queries. Intelligent Virtual Agents can answer customers instantly, making them a reliable way to provide fast responses.
Eliminating wait or hold times – Intelligent Virtual Agents can minimise if not totally remove wait times or the need to put customers on hold. They can be designed to handle this in other ways, such as scheduling an appropriate call back time from a live agent and/or responding to their queries directly.
Easy to upscale
One added benefit of an Intelligent Virtual Agent system itself is how agile and flexible it can be. You can have it take care of calls, surveys, appointment scheduling or automate lead generation with a system like Salesforce. You can even flex the solution up and down depending on demands.
How can businesses use Intelligent Virtual Agents?
In order to determine where an Intelligent Virtual Agent could fit within your business, look at the challenges you are facing. Here are some solutions we have provided:
- Automated attendance system – this might be a digital agent answering calls for employees who are going to be late or not attending work. This is ideal for large, multinational businesses, as calls can be taken in many languages. It also frees up the live agent or employee to work on other HR activities such as hiring, recruiting and retaining staff.
- Business wanting to bring on a second shift, to operate a 16-hour work-day – Intelligent Virtual Agents are ideal for company’s used to getting enquiries past normal business hours. With this technology you can leverage a virtual agent to take those queries for quotes, for requests as well as enquiries into recruitment or another service.
- Booking appointments – Intelligent Virtual Agents can be used as online appointment systems. They can be trained to understand complex conversations, as scheduling appointments are not always a straightforward conversation.
- Prescription Management – this includes picking up repeat prescriptions checking it against medicine inventory and issuing them (digitally) to Doctors to sign off.
When it comes to integrating an Intelligent Virtual Agent solution into your business, there are a few elements you may want to consider. How will it affect the way you do business? How are your customers asking questions? Do you need to implement a new voice, biometric or digital environment?
Employees may also be resistant to change, especially if part of their role is being picked up by a digital agent. But it’s important to remember that this would bring more flexibility for the employee and time to spend on other more meaningful tasks.
Intelligent Virtual Agents provide businesses with new and unique ways to solve customer challenges. Businesses of all sizes could benefit from this technology, but especially those with large customer service operations.
Use our Savings Calculator to understand how much cost saving you can make by using a team of virtual agents to handle routine service tasks.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with our experts or listen to our OneSPARKS podcast episodes on Intelligent Virtual Agents – catch up with them here.