Voice self-service solutions have evolved far beyond those unending, '90s-era Interactive Voice Response (IVR) menus that customers have often loved to hate. Today’s technology has enabled brands to embrace Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs), which use the latest advances in artificial intelligence and speech recognition to satisfy consumer demand for 24/7, conversational self-service experiences. From scheduling appointments to insurance enrollment to voice authentication, virtual agents automate a wide range of tasks. Businesses that deploy them benefit from cost savings, improved customer experience and increased compliance with standards like PCI-DSS and HIPAA.Five9 has partnered with Inference Solutions to offer AI-powered virtual agents in the Five9 Intelligent Contact Center. Let’s take a closer look at how IVAs can improve your service outcomes. Automate intelligently A very large number of customer contacts involve little more than a listen-search-retrieve activity (What are your hours? Where is my order? Is this in stock?). For these activities, speed and accuracy are paramount. Recent research has shown that a vast majority of consumers expect customer service to be faster than it was five years ago, and nearly 90 percent say a quick response to an initial inquiry is important when deciding which company to buy from.Automating routine service requests for speedier service has become easier with Intelligent Virtual Agents and their natural language processing (NLP) skills. NLP creates a conversational user experience while automating tasks that were previously too cumbersome to be handled via IVR. It also increases the percentage of inquiries that can be automated, helping businesses reduce costs.With NLP, you eliminate complex IVR menus and go beyond speech-enabled, directed dialog systems. You elevate your self-service applications with IVAs that can determine caller intent and respond to a wide variety of requests using open ended prompts (“How can I help you today?”)They can also understand speech and respond with text-to-speech in hundreds of different languages.Empower your customers With Intelligent Virtual Agents, your customers can get the support they need in real-time and resolve their inquiries with impressive immediacy. For example, a virtual agent can steer calls to the correct person or department (“Please tell me who you’d like to reach”) without requiring the caller to wait for a receptionist or choose from a menu of extensions. Implementing a natural language call steering system has helped Pizza Hut Australia offer broader and more accurate self-service options, resulting in higher customer satisfaction, increased loyalty and repeat purchases.We are also seeing customers and businesses in the hospitality industry benefit from virtual agents. A major hotel chain we work with handles more than 600,000 calls a month, and it has dramatically streamlined its service organization by allowing guests to book or change reservations through virtual agents. In an industry influenced by real-time factors like the weather and flight delays, this convenience helps customers feel in control, which goes a long way in encouraging loyalty. Demonstrate CX innovation and thought leadership Did you know that one in four Americans own a smart speaker? As consumers become accustomed to interacting with personal virtual assistants that understand them with increasing accuracy, they will naturally begin to seek these types of experiences when contacting brands for service.Expect virtual agent innovation and adoption to continue to evolve and explode. In fact, Gartner has forecasted that by 2020, virtual agents will participate in the majority of all commercial interactions between people and businesses. They also forecast that virtual agents will drive $1.2 trillion in business value by 2030 through cost saving, improved customer experience and new revenue generated.Show your customers that you’re on top of - and even ahead of -these trends by deploying and perfecting conversational AI in your contact center sooner rather than later.Want to learn more?To learn more, download our Five9 IVR to IVA Solution Guide or ask your Five9 account manager for more information. Or, if you’ll be attending the Five9 CX Summit, drop into my session at 2:30 PM on Thursday, Sept. 19.
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