DMG Consulting’s Intelligent Virtual Agent Product and Market Report
The market is ready for IVAs. These solutions use artificial
intelligence (AI), machine learning and other technologies to produce highly
innovative and exciting self-service capabilities for enterprises and their
customers. IVAs are designed to emulate human conversations and interactions.
They can provide assistance for many activities that previously required the
attention of live agents, including customer service, help desk, product
information, marketing, sales, placing orders and reservations, and more. These
solutions are capable of delivering an intelligent and personalized customer
IVAs, also known as
“bots,” “chatbots,” “virtual assistants,” “virtual agents,” and a wide variety
of other synonyms, are “smarter” and more accurate than their voice
self-service predecessors. They are also far more advanced than natural
language processing (NLP)-based interactive voice response (IVR) systems. IVAs
make it possible to build advanced speech and digital-enabled self-service
solutions that are cost effective and appealing to customers, who actually
prefer to help themselves in this channel, as long as it works.
AI-based applications are a “hot” topic in the world of
technology, although this concept has been talked about for over 30 years. The
new AI-based solutions address a wide variety of enterprise and contact center
needs. And what we are seeing today is just the beginning, as there are
billions of dollars of investments being made in these solutions. Next-gen IVAs with more self-learning
capabilities are on the horizon. In the future, IVAs will use an increasing
amount of self-learning technology that allows them to get “smarter” over time
and adapt to customers’ individual preferences as they “learn” from past
interactions to improve their understanding of what customers want and need.
The time for IVAs is now. Many companies are using voice
self-service technologies that are 10 – 20 years old and long past their prime.
Even if your current IVR handles a large percentage of calls, it’s time to
revisit and update your self-service environment to improve its effectiveness
and the customer experience. IVAs have the potential to revolutionize the world
of self-service. They can automate activities that do not require the cognitive
capabilities of a live agent, and for interactions that do require live
assistance, they can use their “smarts” to route the customer to the most
appropriately skilled representative. If IVAs can automate just a few
percentage points of additional calls (or emails and chat sessions) that
previously required live assistance, their adoption will be higher and more
rapid than for most new IT segments.
is ready for IVAs: Self-service applications are outdated and in dire need
of an overhaul or full replacement. The current generation of IVAs comes in all
types of channels and styles. These self-learning AI-based applications are
more accurate and effective than their predecessors. They are engaging for
customers, who want to be able to conduct hands-free, mobile-enabled
conversations that allow them to help themselves.
capabilities enable IVAs to personalize the customer experience: Today’s
consumers want companies to “know” them and thoroughly understand their wants
and needs. IVAs “learn” from previous interactions and familiarize themselves
with customers’ preferences. This allows an IVA to customize each transaction
and provide a personalized and engaging customer journey.
more than just replacements for IVRs: Although conceptually similar, IVAs
represent a great advancement over traditional IVR self-service technology. The
underlying science of IVAs is newer, and these solutions run on faster servers,
many of which are in the cloud. IVAs are being used in many channels to
automate activities that do not require live assistance, and to route those
that do to the right agents/representatives.
offer compelling benefits: Enterprises are in great need of enhanced
self-service applications that are flexible and cost-effective. IVAs can
displace expensive calls to live agents with automation, while also delivering
an excellent service experience. These solutions,
when used properly, are a preferred method of service for customers.