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Virtual Agent

A virtual agent is an AI-powered entity that simulates human interaction across a range of channels, such as:

  • Telephone
  • Email
  • Live chat

Virtual agent technology (VAT) combines natural language processing, robotic process automation (RPA) and intelligent research, serving as a conversational interface. VAT can be used to understand and respond to user queries, execute tasks, and provide information or assistance - all without the direct involvement of a human agent.

 

Virtual Agent vs Virtual Assistant - Are They The Same?

In short, no - a virtual agent is not the same as a virtual assistant. A virtual agent typically operates within specific domains, such as customer service or technical support, and is primarily focused on task-oriented interactions.

A virtual assistant, however, tends to be more generalized. A virtual assistant can assist users with a wider range of tasks, including scheduling appointments, setting reminders, or retrieving information.

 

Types of Virtual Agents

There are several types of virtual agents, each with its own applications. Here are some of the key types to be aware of:

 

Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA)

An IVA utilizes advanced AI technologies such as machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to comprehend and respond to user inquiries effectively.

One of the key benefits of IVAs is that they constantly learn from interactions to enhance their performance over time.

 

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

IVR is a VA system that interacts with callers through voice prompts and DTMF tones. This type of agent is typically beneficial for phone-based customer service systems - for example, call centers/ contact centers.

 

Chatbot

A chatbot is an application designed to simulate conversations with human users. Chatbots are typically used for text-based interfaces such as messaging apps or web chat apps/ widgets.

 

How Does A Virtual Agent Work?

Now we’ve determined the different types of virtual agents, let’s explore how they work. 

Virtual Agents use a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, including machine learning and natural language processing (NLP), to understand user queries and generate the right responses. 

Here is the typical process that occurs when a customer engages with a virtual agent: 

1 - The Initial Interaction - the user initiates interaction with the virtual agent through a certain interface, such as a chat window, voice call, or messaging platform.

2 - Natural Language Processing (NLP) - the agent then analyzes the user input using NLP algorithms to understand the intent and context of the interaction. 

3 - Response Generation - based on the intent, the virtual agent creates a relevant response or takes appropriate action. This could involve accessing databases, carrying out predetermined tasks, or interfacing with other systems.

4 - Feedback Loop - typically, VAT involves feedback mechanisms in order to improve performance. Interactions will be logged and analyzed to improve the capabilities over time. Virtual agents acquire valuable data from user interactions, providing you with insights into customer preferences, pain points, and frequently asked questions.

 

What Are the Benefits of Virtual Agents?

A VA can benefit your business in many ways. At MaxContact, we can provide the ultimate virtual agent and remote agent solutions for your business. 

Our conversational voice AI leverages existing materials (e.g. website, scripted answers, chatGPT and knowledge systems) to provide accurate answers and feedback efficiently. 

Trust our Conversational Voice AI assistants to provide unique and human-like responses to your customers, improving CX and saving you time and money in the long run. 

 

Efficient Customer Service

First of all, VAT can provide quick and efficient assistance to customers. This can reduce wait times and improve overall customer satisfaction. 

Additionally, ai-generated agents can operate 24/7, ensuring that customers have constant access to support whenever they need it, regardless of time zones or business hours.

Virtual agents can handle a variety of interactions at the same time, allowing you to scale your customer service operations efficiently. Ultimately, when you opt for ai-agents, you can reduce the need for human agents, which can help you cut costs. 

 

Consistency 

Another added benefit of virtual agents is that they deliver consistent responses. Likewise, they adhere to the business rules that you have determined and inputted, which ensures a consistent customer experience.

 

Improved Productivity

Finally, opting for virtual solutions can increase overall productivity. When you designate the more repetitive tasks to ai-agents, human employees can focus on more complex tasks, increasing their productivity and job satisfaction. 

 

An Example of a Virtual Agent

Let’s put this information into practice - consider you’re the manager or owner of a contact center: 

1 - You implement an AI-powered agent to handle incoming inquiries via phone calls.

2 - When a customer calls with a question about their account balance, the virtual agent uses natural language processing to understand the query.

3 - It retrieves the relevant information from the company's database and provides the customer with their account balance in real-time.

4 - If the inquiry requires a human agent, the virtual agent seamlessly transfers the call to a live agent while providing context about the customer's issue.

This integration of automation and human support can help to ensure that inquiries are answered efficiently while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction.

Virtual agents play a key role in modern customer service operations, utilizing AI technologies to deliver personalized assistance and streamline interactions across various channels. 

If you’re looking to incorporate virtual agents into your business, don’t hesitate to contact us today.