What Are Intelligent Virtual Agents?

Intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) are automated, self-service applications that use advanced conversational AI technology to deliver intuitive resolutions for common questions across voice and digital channels. It provides intelligent automation that deflects routine and repetitive conversations handled by live agents, freeing them to provide value where they are needed most.

IVAs have a wide variety of features, including speech recognition, natural language processing with text-to-speech, voice biometrics, transcription, and API integration. Always working and constantly learning new skills, they can also work on tasks across different channels, while performing back-office functions as well as react to changes in real-time.

IVAs offer capabilities that are similar to human service and support agents. They can also automate common tasks such as authenticating callers with voice biometrics, process PCI-compliant payments, look up orders, survey customers and answer all kinds of questions over the phone, web, or SMS. Many organizations also use them to provide call routing, appointment scheduling, office hours, direction.

Intention Analysis

IVAs understands the tone and intentions of customers. Therefore, they can recognize and predict various intents when customers interact, all in real-time with tailored responses.

Human-Life Automated Conversations

IVAs leverage Natural Language Processing (NLP), making it easier for customers to get support through the automated system. NLP dramatically simplifies the complexity of the interaction, while increasing the percentage of inquiries that can be automated. In addition, this lets you eliminate complex IVR menus and go beyond speech-enabled, directed dialog systems. This makes the user experience more conversational while enabling businesses to automate tasks that were previously too cumbersome to be handled using speech recognition.

When a live agent is needed, context such as customer identity, intent, and other CRM data can be used for routing to the right individual.

IVAs can also leverage Advanced Speech Recognition (ASR) to easily interact with customers regardless of grammar, accents, and background noise alongside text-to-speech in various languages with hundreds of different voices that sound lifelike. IVAs can also send text messages in different languages, providing a two-way multilingual chat interface.

Efficient Business Operation

Businesses find enormous value in IVAs as they solve key business problems:

  1. Improved Customer Experience
  2. Consumers are becoming more demanding. They now expect an immediate service response anytime, anywhere, and on any channel. They’re also looking for self-service options that enable them to solve problems without speaking to a live agent - and customers almost always prefer an Intelligent Virtual Agent over waiting for a live agent.

  3. Improved Agent Experience
  4. By off-loading common, repetitive, and sometimes mundane tasks to an IVA, agents are provided the opportunity to handle more fulfilling, high-value requests for assistance. In addition, these tasks continually challenge agents and tap into their knowledge and skills to help customers leading to a better customer and agent experience. What separates Intelligent Virtual Agents is that they never rest or take a vacation—and they’re substantially less expensive than live agents.

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About The Author

Sarika Prasad is a product marketer who loves being the voice of the product. She has extensive experience developing and implementing go-to-market strategies, differentiated product positioning and messaging, and programs for customer acquisition for high-growth SaaS companies. She is passionate about CX, CCaaS, Digital Engagement, and AI-powered technologies. She enjoys partnering and collaborating with cross-functional teams for product launches and driving business outcomes.