By Ross Feldman Chief Technology Officer - Banking, Insurance, HP Enterprise Services
In your opinion, are there any new security and privacy risks with the advancement in virtual agent technology?
No. In fact, one might suggest that security, privacy and brand reputation risks are reduced to minimal levels. The virtual agent is programmed for very specific purposes and is unable to deviate from programmed responses and queues, which, frankly, is different from human interaction and behaviors. Any virtual agent technology has security and risk standards applied but also must adhere to testing, audit, compliance and risk standards within the institution from which it is being employed. In such a setting, it generally would be considered among the most secure environments, right along with government security agencies.
In your view, what are the key qualities that companies should consider when evaluating potential virtual agent providers? Cost, architecture, vendor viability, support?
Vendor viability and flexibility are two that come to mind. One of the most important things to remember here is overall quality, as the virtual agent will be a direct touch point to the customer. So providing a positive, meaningful and efficient interaction is paramount. After all, if the customer isn’t happy and doesn’t feel it was a good interaction, it doesn’t matter how efficient or how great the level of cost savings: Everything else becomes secondary to the customer experience. Only when the customer experience is solidly positive will the efficiencies play out, cost reduction benefits soar and other components become more vital to the implementation of virtual agents, to broader interaction models as the business scales over time.
Is there anything else you want the reader to understand or consider as they begin to consider implementing virtual agent technology?
The applications and rollouts are customized and can scale beyond traditional usage, depending on innovation ability and appetite. Secondly, there is a growing community of underserved consumers in the banking industry. Integrating virtual agent technology within alternative communication channels—notably social media—provides an innovative way to capture varying demographics without changing the base products and services offered by financial institutions. They’ll enjoy net gain in new consumers while retaining investment in products, services and administrative processes. Those are significant efficiency gains and drivers of profitability.
In the next blog Ross will answer the following questions:
- You’ll eventually see virtual agent technology across all industries, but in particular, how do you see them fitting best in the banking and insurance segments?
- How do you see banking and insurance firms addressing the dilemma to implement innovative, cost-saving technologies such as virtual agents in the customer service area while at the same time fighting the negative image that can result from those technologies displacing human workers?
What additional questions would you like to ask Ross?
If you’d like to learn more about virtual agents, read our Viewpoint Paper.
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