A virtual customer assistant is a business application that simulates a conversation in order to deliver information and, if advanced, takes action on behalf of the customer to perform transactions. Engagement with a VCA is possible via the web, SMS, consumer messaging apps, and more. They look a lot like a chatbot but don’t be fooled.
In order to build a robust, useful Virtual Customer Assistant for your business, a developer needs to know conversational logic, your particular customer experience, and the best ways to funnel many different customer interactions to completion. An IVA that is going to be on the front lines for your business must be designed with the entire anticipated interaction in mind. This requires knowledge of your customer’s business processes and their customers’ intent. This intent is the reason for their contact with you – and each reason has a specific path to follow. While customers may have 25 possible intents, you might need 25 responses or ways of handling each of those intents.
An example where these can go wrong is if a patient asks a doctor’s VCA if they should take aspirin for an ailment. It would not make sense, and possibly be unethical, to have it answer. At this point, the VCA would not have all the knowledge a doctor would have regarding diagnosing patients. Not to mention that it may not have access to medical history where certain recommendations could actually be harmful.
That is why it is critical that in-depth discovery and mapping of the potential conversations are prioritized. It will be time well spent. Programming happens when all human elements have been defined. The “defining” is the hard part. The programming is the easy part, at least here at DiRAD Technologies
The VCA solution must mirror your business processes, mission, purpose, and vision. That’s why consulting with experts in the VCA field is always recommended. From planning and development to testing and implementation, DiRAD considers all aspects of your use case in order to build the best VCA for your customers and your business.
To the delight of many, the emotional analysis ability of VCA’s will continue to improve. This will allow them to adjust their responses based on the user’s mood and sense of urgency.
In the future, speech recognition technology will become more advanced. Your voice will be cataloged and combined with other data points to get a clearer picture of you as a person, a consumer, and a citizen. Voice verification currently exists and there is no real barrier (outside of privacy issues) beyond the sheer amount of data and processing required to map a voice to a person, similar to facial recognition. Everything could be voice-driven. Think of an ATM at your bank. It could be equipped so that it looks at your face and matches it with your voice – no PIN required. And to thwart would-be criminals, a secret word or wink of the eye could trigger an alarm to the police that you’re taking out money against your will.
VCA will also continue to improve intent detection (i.e., what does this person really want), and make more decisions “on its own” about what to say next. Think of a case when someone is calling for store hours 10 minutes before closing. What the caller is really wanting is for the store to be open in 15 minutes when he finally gets there to pick up a birthday gift. For these situations, the IVA can be programmed to give store hours, but also alert a store representative of the question. If there is flexibility in closing times, the rep can pick up the phone and talk to the customer to let them know they would be happy to stay open an additional 10 minutes to accommodate them.
Do you still have questions you aren’t sure of when it comes to what a Virtual Customer Assistant can and can’t do? Is there a project where you feel a VCA would be a great solution, but you just can’t figure out how it would be developed? Give us a call. Our experts love talking with businesses to figure out how the latest technology can help streamline customer experiences and make businesses more efficient.
Publish Date: June 8, 2021 2:17 PM
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