By Ross Feldman Chief Technology Officer - Banking, Insurance, HP Enterprise Services
In our last post, we spoke about artificial intelligence and specifically the value virtual agents can bring to an organization. We also acknowledged that while not stand-alone solvers of business problems, virtual agents can provide far-reaching benefits in serving as part of an overall solution and business strategy for customer service. Virtual agents can enable both customer migration to alternate interactive channels (such as the web) for providing service, and develop trust within the business that their virtual agents are programmed optimal customer responses.
And – as is the case with any fast moving technology-- virtual agents continue to evolve their capabilities. Part of being a successful service-oriented company is being able to service your customers in the way in which they want to be served, how they want to be served, and through the medium they choose. Effective customer service is so critical to any company; without it any organization will fail. Therefore companies continue to invest in ways to handle their service needs in -- you guessed it-- better, faster, cheaper ways. Those who adapt, innovate and implement quickly often are the winners in their markets.
To that end, there is now virtual agent capability that leverages not only text-based chat interaction, but also voice recognition. The expanded capability means that clients can interact directly with the virtual agent on the phone OR via web chat OR via SMS text OR via voice over IP on their PC, OR via public kiosks, OR via social media: the list is limitless. Just as critical to the business is virtual agent’s capture of all those interactions (regardless of channel) in ONE repository for business intelligence reporting. This development represents a tremendous capability advancement in the market, as now businesses do not have to drive customers to the web to take advantage of the cost savings that online virtual agents bring. Essentially, content developed for answering questions or escalating issues on the web is now available via the phone, where customers can speak to a virtual agent directly to resolve problems or make inquiries. From a corporate customer perspective, the cost savings business case has just dramatically changed, with the earn out of the expense exponentially accelerated, as virtual agents can handle ALL incoming calls to the customer service desk/help desk, in addition to online. While most virtual agents can handle level zero or level 1 issues via text chat sessions on the web, the most advanced offering can now perform this service across ALL interactive channels, which is a huge step. The next steps of their advancement will be for deeper levels of service, and on to cross selling, opportunity canvassing, and PROACTIVE measures, where it becomes both a cost save as well as a revenue driver.
When you think about it, what industries don’t need something like this given existing busines challenges…..can you think of even one?