Many of us have become used to having intelligent virtual agents (IVAs) in our daily lives. Think of your daily interactions with Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant. With their natural, human-like dialogue and ability to engage with us intelligently—asking and answering questions, offering recommendations, completing tasks on request. It’s easy to forget they’re not human. So it makes sense that companies would want to integrate IVAs into their contact centers.
IVA: The Next Generation of Automation and Enhanced Customer Service
Powered by AI and Google Natural Language processing, IVAs are the heir apparent to interactive voice response (IVR) technology. IVAs enable firms to truly provide a 24/7 self-service experience to their customers since they’re available any time. With more and more customers expecting service whenever they need it, IVAs will increasingly play a key role in a firm’s contact center.
Always at the ready, IVAs can also help reduce wait time for customers. This can be a considerable boost to a firm’s customer service program since long queues can easily diminish a customer’s experience. IVAs can also free up live agents’ time by asking the appropriate questions to resolve the customer’s inquiry. They can also streamline customers’ interactions by guiding them down the path to complete their transactions without the need to speak to a live agent.
Although an IVR also interacts with the caller, it’s one-dimensional in nature. The IVR takes direction from the prompts the caller provides, whereas an IVA is dynamic. The virtual agent will have a conversation with the caller, remembering everything the caller says and asking the appropriate questions to complete the transaction.
If the nature of the call requires the customer to speak with a live agent, the IVA directs the customer to that action in a personalized, conversational manner. Moreover, thanks to the IVA’s intelligent routing capabilities, the IVA is able to match the customer with the agent and area best equipped to help the customer. They will also provide the live agent with the reason for the call, allowing the agent to pick the conversation right up from where the IVA left off.
Identification and Authentication Strategies Covered with IVA
When a customer speaks with a live agent, the agent first needs to verify the customer. This critical protocol needs to be replicated in the IVA world. Good news: IVAs can authenticate callers. At the start of the conversation, the virtual agent will collect information to identify and authenticate the customer.
If the nature of the transaction requires the customer to transfer to a live agent, the customer’s information and reason for their call will automatically appear on the agent’s screen. The live agent doesn’t have to re-verify the customer, and the customer doesn’t have to repeat their information—the agent’s focus is on resolving the customer’s inquiry. This helps improve call quality, reduce average handle time (AHT) and create a better customer experience overall.
IVA technology allows firms to integrate additional fraud security tools, such as LexisNexis® Phone Finder or voice biometrics. Incorporating advanced authentication strategies can further help firms scale faster, increase efficiencies and bolster fraud defenses.
IVAs Coming to the SS&C Contact Center
If giving your customers the ability to truly self-service 24/7 in a personalized, conversational manner and with less effort is important to you, IVAs may be of interest. Virtual agents will soon complement SS&C’s contact center program as we plan to deploy IVAs in the coming months. We’re excited to provide our clients with an advanced self-service solution that can help improve engagement with their customers and contribute to increased customer satisfaction. Contact us to learn more.
Written by Leigh Ann Bennett-Aldrige
Sr. Director, Global Investor and Distribution Solutions