Streamlining Your Contact Center Experience with Intelligent Virtual Agents

05.31.21 07:00 AM
intelligent virtual agents
Artificial intelligence (AI) has increasingly been making its way into the contact center world. Along with supporting improved data analytics, AI can improve the overall contact center experience, streamlining the process for customers and companies alike.   While some of the earliest iterations involved simple self-service options, today, AI is supporting the rise of intelligent virtual agents. With an intelligent virtual agent, customers can have natural conversations to access information, making the experience more comfortable and intuitive. Additionally, if they have an issue beyond the technology’s capability, they can be routed to a support agent in far less time than navigating menus often requires.   If you would like to learn more about how intelligent virtual agents can streamline your contact center experience, here’s what you need to know.  

Simplified Call Steering

  In many cases, the call steering process is inherently cumbersome. Even with interactive voice response options, customers typically need to navigate a series of prompts to get them routed to the right team, a process that can be tiresome and frustrating.   With advanced intelligent virtual agents, cutting the steering time down is possible. The system can provide a simple prompt, asking how they can help, and through natural language processing (NLP), assess the reason for the customer contact and send the call to the proper destination.  

Increased Agent Support

  Intelligent virtual agents can streamline a live agent’s role in the equation by automating specific related tasks. For example, the system can transcribe conversations, reducing the need for contact center reps to spend time typing.   Additionally, the intelligent virtual agent can analyze calls in progress and make recommendations or present other helpful information automatically. This can include marking upselling opportunities, displaying relevant troubleshooting documentation, and more.   With any of these processes, the live customer service rep isn’t having to take these actions as the intelligent virtual agent does it for them. As a result, the live agent can focus more on the customer, all while moving through the contacts more quickly.  

Enhanced Self-Service

  Intelligent virtual agents can enhance the self-service process, making it feel more personalized and natural. They can have interactions that are closer to genuine conversations, making the experience feel less automated even if automation is playing a big role.   Additionally, intelligent virtual agents can access critical information quickly, ensuring that contacts get precisely what they need in less time. With NLP, the virtual agent can listen to customer questions and use those single input points to determine what needs to be shared.   Precisely what you make available through self-service can vary. However, at a minimum, this can include account overviews and answers to common questions. If you sell technical products, you could also make basic troubleshooting instructions available through the system.  

Improved Live Agent Relaying

  When most people reach out to a contact center, their first interactions are automated. While this can be ideal for many situations, there are plenty of instances where a live agent is both necessary and highly desired by the customer.   If the customer is aware that they need to speak with a person, requiring them to route through several layers of automation can increase their frustration. Thankfully, with intelligent virtual agents, you can eliminate this pain point.   First, NLP can increase the odds that the contact will be identified as needing live support right away. Second, the intelligent virtual agent can also recognize signs of frustration – like changes to how loud a customer is speaking, their cadence, and their word choice – and use that information to get the customer to an appropriate live representative quickly.  

Heightened Security

  Account security is often a concern for companies and customers alike. With intelligent virtual agents, contact centers could incorporate voice biometrics. As the customer speaks, their voiceprint can become part of the authentication process.   At times, this approach to identity verification could simply streamline the experience by eliminating the need for other authentication steps, like numeric PIN entry or SSN-based validation. Alternatively, it could be used to heighten security, creating an extra layer to keep customer accounts secure.