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DMG Consulting’s Intelligent Virtual Agent Product and Market Report

DMG Consulting LLC

Presented By: DMG Consulting LLC

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 experience.

 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.

Report Highlights:

The market 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. 

Self-learning 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.   

IVAs are 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.  

IVAs 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.