By now you may have heard of Intelligent Virtual Assistants and understand the basic concepts of how this technology is a great advancement for businesses and consumers. But what does an IVA look like when it is functioning? What are the situations and platforms where you would find an IVA in action? Let’s take a look.
A popular use for Intelligent Virtual Assistant is for Appointment Applications. Let’s say you want to book an appointment at the hair salon. Historically, you’d have to wait until they open to call them over the phone. Today you can still call to make an appointment and some businesses also have a web-based appointment program. Taking things even further with a single IVA, a customer can call, text, Facebook message, or even webchat with the application in order to make an appointment.
An IVA is not limited to the initial platform that a customer chooses to communicate with. A customer may find the need to cross platforms when speaking with a business. With a well-developed IVA, it will be a seamless interaction. For instance, a patient could be on a text chat with a doctor’s office IVA to schedule a routine appointment. At some point, they type in a symptom (i.e., ‘105 fever’) that triggers the need for a more urgent response. The IVA then triggers a phone to ring for an on-call doctor or nurse, or that professional can take over the text chat.
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One of the biggest benefits of an IVA from DiRAD offers over other technologies is that it is built using Google’s API. This programming interface is connected to vast AI resources and a speech recognition library. This means it is constantly learning and updating itself. Because of that, development resources needed for speech recognition are zero. Unless you have a specialized domain where the words and phrases are unique to that space, that is.
In most cases, development efforts can focus on the actual conversation and not the underlying technology. This leads to lower costs and an increase in the situations the IVA can handle. It also frees up resources for other business needs.
We all agree that a well-developed and maintained IVA can benefit businesses and customers, tremendously. There are some circumstances where an IVA might not be the best solution, though. Since conversations need to have structure ahead of time, anything that requires free-form interactions could be difficult. Information and tasks must be finite. While AI and machine learning are terms thrown around with reckless abandon, IVA’s are still task-oriented, and those tasks must be anticipated during design and development time.
In other words, for the IVA to perform, the performance has to be defined during development. An IVA alone cannot understand something it wasn’t designed to understand, so a skill is built to handle it. These skills are typically unique to your subject matter, business, and specific tasks you want to be able to define and control.
Areas such as emergency services, medical test results, and other emotional scenarios are also not the best application of IVA. Sensitive situations are where automation may never be the best solution. It would be virtually impossible to develop a system for all types of emergencies to allow people to get the help they need quickly. An Intelligent Virtual Assistant may never be able to provide the empathy required to help a patient through a difficult diagnosis. Of course, with technological advancements that could change. For now, businesses need to make sure they look at IVA from all perspectives before deciding to implement it.
About DiRAD Technologies:
DiRAD implements technology solutions including call center software, outsourced customer care, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), mass messaging, and AI-based, omnichannel chatbot & voicebot technology.
Published: Monday, June 7, 2021
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