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Article : Virtual Agents - To Bot or Not?

#contactcenterworld, @Synthetix_Ltd

AI software can play a powerful role when engaging with customers online. What does this mean for the Contact Centre? Neldi Rautenbach, Head of Marketing with Synthetix explains more in the following article.

The role of Artificial Intelligence in Customer Engagement

AI software can play a powerful role when engaging with customers online.

Every few years we eagerly anticipate the next big thing in the realm of Artificial Intelligence. Like computing, it’s hard to distinguish between classifications for AI, sometimes referred to as machine intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, or cognitive learning.

Artificial intelligence, in fact, is a broad term. In other words, machine learning, natural language processing, robotics, and computational intelligence all refer to a wide variety of algorithms and methodologies under AI.

Virtual Agent, Chatbot, Intelligent Virtual Agent, Virtual Assistant, Personal Virtual Assistant, or Conversational bot?

Google, IBM, Facebook and Microsoft have all made announcements this year about Intelligent Virtual Assistance. Advances in text analysis, natural language processing and automation are enabling many queries and tasks to be resolved without any human interaction. Gartner states that this combination of speech and Virtual Assistant technologies provides a strong customer service proposition. Offering more than just search, an Intelligent Virtual Assistant should enrich the quality of the customer experience and assist the customer throughout their online interaction.

As we are one of the pioneers of Virtual Agents as a concept - building our first versions in 2001 - it’s important to clarify the differences between Personal Virtual Assistants, Virtual Agents and Chatbots to understand their value to a business as AI has led to erroneous expectations, especially in terms of customer engagement.

Personal Virtual Assistants

Google Now, Siri, Alexa, Cortana – There’s a new voice assistant in town and they are having a showdown. The hint is in the name.

Personal Virtual Assistants are friendly, helpful, personalised, can perform tasks and answer questions. This type of AI has been designed to be helpful and highly entertaining. They can have a voice, a face or Avatar.

In a personal capacity, there isn’t a big downside if the system misunderstands a command or responds with the wrong answer, but in a business sense, this would be critical.

Different accents, dialect, synonyms, or contradictory meanings can have speech recognition AI struggle to respond accurately.

Virtual Agents

Synthetix were creating virtual agents for companies like the BBC, Vauxhall, and Ford, using AI techniques comparable to Siri, Cortana and Google Now, before they became the norm. It’s true, our NLP (Natural Language Processing) technology has answered millions of customer questions by making sense of naturally (and sometimes, badly) worded questions.

The difference between a Virtual Agent and a Virtual Assistant however, is that a Virtual Agent is goal orientated, designed to perform detailed tasks or queries, much like a virtual employee with a specific job description. Like Virtual Assistants, Virtual Agents should be friendly, personalised, and conversational.

Although Virtual Agents are designed to mimic human learning, understand user intent, and to perform tasks that would normally require human intelligence such as speech recognition, NLP, decision-making or language translation, it should not be posed to be a real human. Automation can be a great customer service tool, however in a recent study by myclever, the ‘personality’ of a Virtual Agent barely registered with consumers – AI needs to be smart and effective first - witty and personable second.


A chatbot (also known as a talkbot, chatterbot, Bot, chatterbox, Artificial Conversational Entity) is a piece of software that conducts a dialog via auditory or textual methods. Chatbot programs are often designed to credibly simulate how a human would behave as a conversational partner, thereby passing the Turing test. However, simulating a human being doesn’t make for a more compelling customer service experience as Microsoft discovered earlier this year.

Chatbots live within in a social domain or messenger platform and are popular amongst millennials whom prefer these channels for customer support, shopping or to interact with a brand. Asking a chatbot a simple question will have it deliver a helpful response or carry out a simple administrative task such as making a reservation at a restaurant.

Chatbots are only as intelligent as they are programmed to be. Some conversational programs simply scan for keywords within the input, pulling a reply matched to the most similar wording pattern or matching keywords from a database. Other chatbots use AI techniques such as Natural Language Processing, rules, and decision trees to ‘understand’ intent and commands. It can be self-learning making it smarter through each conversation. In fact, the Facebook Messenger chatbot is learning increasingly more about the language patterns and questions asked by users globally.

Chatbots are also popular in smartphone app deployments. A popular category of smartphone app that relies on a chatbot is the dating sim or romancebot category. The 36 You Games app "Boyfriend Maker" and WET Productions Inc.'s "My Virtual Boyfriend" are popular examples.

Will Virtual Assistance replace the contact centre?

Imagine one affordable, intelligent point of contact that can efficiently respond to a limitless number of queries with relevant information, any day, any time. Why is it then that Virtual Agents haven’t replaced the contact centre?

None of the technologies mentioned is a ‘plug and play option. Consider the potential combinations of colloquialisms, questions and meanings that exists within everyday language. Although it advances every day, AI technology is not adequately advanced to understand all the questions put to them. In the land of customer service, every interaction matters and any investments in these types of technologies will falter if the user experience comes up short.

Programming the right features are key. Although these technologies can be powerful in engaging customers’ careful consideration should be taken for other methods such as an intelligent self-service tool powered by a knowledge-base might be quicker to deploy and prove effective.

Determine which technology is right for you – To bot or not?

#contactcenterworld, @Synthetix_Ltd

About Neldi Rautenbach:
Marketeer and customer experience advocate with a true passion and fascination with AI, especially the future of cognitive learning, NLP and the business prospects they create as Head of Marketing for Synthetix, one of the pioneers of Virtual Agents.

About Synthetix:
Company LogoSynthetix has been empowering companies with conversational customer engagement tools, powered by AI since 2001. The cloud-based software supports your customers and employees through the power of unified solutions that promote CX. With AI-powered knowledge management, self-service, chatbot and live chat tools that can seamlessly integrate, agents become more productive and customers receive an enhanced, optimised level of customer support and digital experience.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Avoid The “Knee Jerk” Reaction

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Wednesday, January 4, 2017

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2023 Buyers Guide Dialer Solutions

Premium Listing
Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.

Acqueon Technologies Inc.

Acqueon's AI-driven conversational engagement software enables sales, marketing and service organizations to engage in emotionally connected dialogs with customers via their channel of choice for significantly improved results. The Acqueon suite adds multichannel campaign management, contact center analytics, desktop, and CRM connectors for your contact center software of choice, including Amazon Connect, Cisco, Nice inContact, and Twilio. Acqueon conversational engagement software leverages the Acqueon IQ platform to aggregate data from the various applications, assemble rich customer contexts, and drive next-best-action using powerful statistical and predictive models.

Avyukta Intellicall Consulting Pvt. Ltd.

Dialer CRM VoIP CTI Cloud Solutions
We are a single roofed solution for Dialer / Hosted Dialer / VoIP / CRM and CTI Solutions . With 300+ call center clients in above 9 countries and recent features such as :

Dynamic custom agent crm popup

avatar module

10+ Custom Reports

Cloud Telephony with/out "Host your Trunks" option

and End to End CRM on the cards we are supposed to grow exponentially within the next 6 Months

Cloud IT Services GmbH

Dialfire offers you a complete call center solution that is simple and intuitive to use and adapts to your needs. It's completely cloud-based, saving you the hassle of setting up a phone system and installing software. In addition to predictive dialing and call blending of inbound calls, you can create personalized campaigns through an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Features include automated workflows and full control over the agent screen.

You can see the full list of features here:

ComSys S.A.

CList for Outbound Campaigns Management
CList by Comsys is an application that helps contact centers enhance the performance of their outbound campaigns. It accomplishes that by enabling the planning and execution of sophisticated communication strategies. Additionally, the AI-powered module of CList extends the possibilities of outbound campaigns delivering unprecedented results.
Comsys is a provider of οmnichannel customer engagement solutions that assist companies around the world in delivering unique customer experiences. For the last 15 years, Comsys designs and implements complex projects for clients from the outsourcing, financial services, telecommunications, and retail sectors. Comsys enjoys strategic partnerships with t...
(read more)

Consilium Software

Consilium UniCampaign™
Reaching the right person with the right information on the right channel at the right time is a tall order. That’s the power the new Consilium UniCampaign™ has been adding to Cisco outbound contact centers, easily tripling or quadrupling results, from improving digital customer acquisition to managing post-sale customer relationship. Delivering proactive outbound engagement in a game-changer product, Consilium UniCampaign™ is an omnichannel List and Campaign Management (LCM) solution which complements the strength and robustness of Cisco's Outbound Dialer with the implementation of multichannel (voice, email, and SMS) outbound contact strategies. The new 7th release of UniCampaign™ is des...
(read more)


Dialer software that makes customer contact pain free, so your team aren’t worried about complex technology and can focus on what they do best. Dramatically increase agent productivity using a variety of dialers, combined with AI, leveraging data-driven contact strategies to ensure the right agent is contacting your customers at the right time.

Take control, and ensure your team are on-message by designing the perfect agent interface with a drag-n-drop visual WYSWYG editor.

Rotate CLIDs, and auto-wrap certain calls to ensure maximum agent productivity and performance.


Genesys PureConnect
Genesys PureEngage

Cloud IT Services GmbH

Companies of all sizes rely on the cloud-based call center platform Dialfire and its powerful predictive dialer. Dialfire is ready to use within minutes and easily personalizable. From small ad-hoc to large multi-step campaigns, Dialfire offers high scalability. Adapt customer masks and automate workflows per mouse click. Integrated scripting and APIs ensure a smooth connection with external systems.


With Megadialer you will get a customized call center software. With the creation of personalized questions, surveys and sales script you will have the information you need from your customers quickly and efficiently. Improve the performance of your agents with a 100% online contact center, real-time analytics and predictive dialer to optimize the time between one call and another.

All rates include:
Instant Call Reports
On-Demand Recording
Call Supervisor
Call Layout after Completion
Your Own Caller ID
Call Monitor
Automatic Re-Calls
Automatic sending of Mails
Incoming Call Management
Real-time Activity Panels
Call Lists for Agents
Different Levels of Administration


Advanced outbound solution including predictive dialing, featuring patented technologies such as Live Person Detection (LPD™) and SNoDrop™ using Artificial Intelligence to deliver compliant & effective predictive dialing with 0% abandoned call rates. The solution includes its own CRM system as well as visual campaign creation and management as well as automated data import and export capabilities. The package comes with highly visual and open call scripting technology and an SDK (Software Development Kit) is also available for embedding the dialer into your own user front end.

Nuxiba Technologies

Discover Nuxiba's all-in-one dialer solutions. Either predictive or automatic, our software adapts to your business needs with a powerful and easy-to-use system. We offer TCPA compliance options, so you never have to worry about issues with the law and PCI Data Security so you can protect your cardholder's data information during every call.

Stop worrying about technicalities and focus on the most valuable aspect: giving the best service and customer experience with our intuitive features. All of our features and modules are fully adaptable to any business needs.

Obtain the benefits of using software fully tailored to your business, start saving money, and boosting your productivity.


Reach more contacts, in less time with PhoneBurner. Powering thousands of client and millions of calls, our cloud-based software eliminate repetitive tasks so agents have up to 4x more live conversations. Unlike other dialers, PhoneBurner delivers 100% delay-free connections with no awkward pause. Conversations start off with promise, not hangups.

- Call 60-80 contacts per hour, per agent
- Instantly leave voicemails
- Send 1-touch emails
- Automate workflows and call logging
- Record and transfer calls
- Access reporting and analytics
- Intelligently distribute leads
- Dial from local Caller IDs
- Get free white-glove onboarding

Scales to any size team with no contracts, no setup fees, and no per minute charges. Start a free trial without a credit card.


Predictive Dialler
A predictive dialler is an outbound call system that automatically dials from a list of telephone numbers. Also known as Power or Auto dialers it will automatically help agents make more calls, generate higher rates of connections, increase conversions, manage voicemail, no-answers and disconnected numbers.

We’ve made it easy to get started, we offer packages to best suit your needs and don't tie you into long term contracts. Don't take our word for it take out a no-commitment free trial!

Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

InterDialog UCCS
The InterDialog Dialer is an independent & intelligent auto dialer software that controls the outbound calls using various algorithms. This call center dialer works as Predictive Dialer Software, Progressive Dialer Software, Preview Dialer Software or Power Dialer Software based on the requirement of the process. It allows the system to create groups/caller lists and then dials out to multiple calling groups/lists at the same time, thus helping target a wider market segment in a shorter period of time.

The predictive dialer software and automatic dialer algorithms used by the InterDialog Dialer are designed to improve efficiency by lowering the wait time, the number of dropped calls and t...
(read more)

Tru29 Outsource Solutions Inc.

Custom Outsourced Solutions
Tru29 Solutions tailor fits a dialer solution that will truly suit your needs.


Voiptime Contact Center
Our contact center solution allows processing the high volume of client requests from different channels (voice, webchat, email, web callbacks), running massive outbound dialing campaigns, and makes all call center operations visible for management. Voiptime Cloud Contact Center is a professional calling solution for outbound and inbound calls. It’s a plug-and-play software that immediately increases the productivity of your call center department. With the help of our solution you are able to:
- Automate lead prospecting and have 4x more live conversations daily;
- Increase the agent occupancy up to 80-90% with the help of the fastest Predictive dialer;
- Smooth out the peaks of calls by...
(read more)

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