There is a lot of discussion and marketing of IVA’s (Intelligent Virtual Assistants/Agents) and when you read it at first you ask yourself what’s the big deal? This is not new-- this stuff has been around for a number of years. People associate IVAs with chatbots, speech recognition IVR (Intelligent Voice Response) and/or AA (Auto Attendants). Many times, they are influenced by negative experiences with these applications. In this article, you will learn the basics of where this technology has come from and where we are headed in the future as we leapfrog traditional IVA and enter the world of Virtual Assistance-Employee-Agent 2.0.
The Basics of IVR vs IVA
At first glance, the application and uses for IVR and IVA are very similar. However, what has changed is the experience and results. For example, consider the first airplanes flown by the Wright brothers. While the airplanes of today also fly through the skies, they are much more sophisticated and safer than the original at Kitty Hawk. The latest generation of these applications leverage Natural Language Processing from Google, IBM, Amazon, or a few others. In practice, when you engage a next-generation IVA in a voice conversation, or a chat, you are not simply answering a long series of questions and getting a single response or a few separate responses that are pre-programmed into a set scenario. You are instead conversing. The IVA is asking follow-up questions based on what information it needs that you have yet to provide. That being said, why do some people still have such negative experiences with it? It comes down to how these solutions are implemented and deployed.
Just Like Training a New Employee...
Like all newer and evolving technology, the level of performance you get is a direct link to how well it is implemented and how committed your team is to achieve the best result possible. Configuring and training an IVA is similar to a human. Training a new employee requires a good plan, regular care, and tuning of performance with continued education. After the onboarding, the new virtual agent needs ongoing training to stay at the top of their game, but they will work 24/7/365 and never leave, never take a sick day, and can't complain. Every IVA project requires a good understanding of the back-end NLP source and the ability to properly set up the API’s to your primary database/CRM.
Pro-Tip: work with a partner that can leverage any existing communication ecosystem, not just their own.
What You Need to Know
We have reached a new level in the evolution of IVA technology where what once required a team of programmers and a customized solution can now be accomplished through a number of different platforms. These give you the ability to configure instead of build custom programs and can actually simplify the API integration process as well. This is a crucial evolutionary step. It creates a far more rapid adoption rate and development rate than was possible before and streamlines the entire process.
When you are looking at adding self-service solutions or different ways to automate organizational workflows and processes the latest generation of virtual assistants is a great productivity enhancer. No matter where your company or organization is in its journey, it’s worth keeping an eye on this next generation of virtual assistants.
Lastly, think outside the Box...
There are a million ways to leverage Intelligent Virtual Automation Technology. Some of the most advantageous and creative ways we have seen clients be successful using IVA is:
- Mitigate staffing issues
- Reduce missed customer engagements
- Increase sales through automated prospecting and upsells
- Achieve customer engagement on their preferred channels/terms
- Automated appointment scheduling
- Compliant collection of payment information
- Collection of key data prepending a live interaction
Where we can Assist
The newest member of the Matrix Networks family, LANtelligence, has been developing IVA solutions for almost a decade. They have even developed their own Virtual Assistance-Employee-Agent 2.0 technology, LISA (she's the one you see in the image above). LANtelligence has successfully deployed hundreds of IVA solutions, they take a consultative approach to every project, and can work with any existing contact center solution. To learn more about LISA and what the team at LANtelligence can do for you, visit: https://lisa-virtualagent.ai/
Author: Matrix Networks