In an increasingly competitive environment, it is essential to find an element that differentiates our company from the rest. Good customer service can be what sets us apart, as it will increase customer satisfaction and the probability that they will repeat their shopping experience with us. Therefore, investing time in finding the right tools is essential to meet the expectations of our consumers, who are usually looking for quick answers from our company.
In this context, new technologies have evolved to become a necessary element, as they provide the efficiency that customers are looking for. Thus, with those systems that use Artificial Intelligence, such as virtual agents, it is possible to automate certain tasks and facilitate workers’ tasks, thus helping to create personalised conversational experiences while increasing productivity and efficiency.
In this post we tell you what virtual agents are and how you can use them in your company to benefit from all of their potential.
What is a virtual agent?
A virtual agent is a system based on Artificial Intelligence that maintains a conversation with users through text messages or a phone call. This technology uses software available in virtual PBX services or call center software integrated with solutions such as WhatsApp or Telegram, which allows the user to have a conversation without a physical person answering the interactions, as long as the request is not very qualified. In the event that it becomes more complex and the answer is not found, the system will transfer the conversation to a human agent to continue it.
Virtual agents can be incorporated into websites and applications so that customers can interact with them and solve their questions easily and quickly. In this way, they help us to achieve a specific objective within the customer service of our company, whether it is to resolve any doubts, provide personalised advice, manage complaints, recommend a product or service, manage bookings…
How does virtual agents work?
As we have already mentioned, virtual agents rely on Artificial Intelligence to understand and maintain a fluid conversation with users. Before we start explaining the process they follow, we should mention that in order for these systems to communicate in a similar way as a human would, several natural language principles need to be involved:
- Natural Language Processing: this principle is aimed at understanding the language that the user speaks. In other words, it is at this point that the algorithms carry out a syntactic analysis to identify the words used in the conversation. In addition, they internally correct possible spelling or grammatical errors before searching for the answer. This way, they try to expand the meaning of a sentence based on existing databases or on the context in which the conversation is taking place. This is also when other factors such as language or the user’s emotions are identified.
- Natural Language Understanding: once the virtual agent has processed the sentence, the next step is to understand that information, that is to say, to recognise the user’s intention and collect the rest of the information provided. To do this, it uses a series of algorithms and rules that it will use to search its database.
- Natural Language Generation: finally, this principle sorts the information gathered and constructs a suitable answer for the conversation, trying to make it as similar as possible to what a person would give.
Once we know the principles involved in the communication of these systems, explaining how they work is somewhat easier. When the user expresses his or her request, either by telephone or in written form, the virtual agent will use the principle of natural language processing to identify each of the words.
Once it has done so, it will try to understand what exactly it is being asked to search into its database. In case the request is unqualified and he has the solution, he will sort the information gathered and transform it into an answer according to the situation. If it is something more complex or that it did not understand, then it will transfer the conversation to an agent to solve it.
There are more sophisticated virtual agents that are able to understand any expression and will be able to handle interactions with minimal human intervention. However, there are others that can only understand predefined words and sentences, so if the user makes a change, the response will be similar to “Sorry, I didn’t understand“.
Advantages of virtual agents
With a virtual agent in your company, in addition to obtaining an element of differentiation in customer service, you will be able to obtain many other benefits:
- Personalised attention 24 hours a day: one of the main advantages of these tools is that they are available to attend to any request at any time of the day. In this way, users will be able to solve their queries quickly regardless of the time, thus increasing the efficiency of your customer service.
- They have the ability to learn: virtual agents, like any other system that incorporates Artificial Intelligence, can detect the failures that have occurred during the interaction and improve so that they do not happen again in the future. Thus, in addition to reducing the number of errors and therefore their associated costs, they gather information from each conversation, learning from them to resolve similar situations in the future.
- Reduce waiting times: these systems are designed to handle a large number of interactions at once. In addition, they can analyse a large amount of data in a short time, so you can provide a quick answer to customers. This not only increases efficiency, but also prevents users from abandoning their attempt to contact us.
- It allows agents not to be overwhelmed: as we have seen above, virtual agents are able to answer unqualified requests without the need to pass the conversation to an agent. Therefore, they free agents from repetitive tasks and interactions that can be easily answered by these systems. This increases the productivity of our team, as agents will be able to concentrate on attending to other more complex tasks and requests.
Examples of the use of a virtual agent in your company
Virtual agents can be customised to suit your business model. You can add various functions to adapt it to your needs and use it for operations ranging from advice and assistance in the sales process to handling a complaint. Below, we provide you a list of examples of possible uses:
- To capture potential customers: virtual agents, as we already know, can be integrated in our website. Therefore, we can capture the attention of those people who are browsing our company’s website through a chatbot that asks “Do you need help? ”.
- To assist the purchasing process: it helps to quickly solve any doubt that customers may have during the purchasing process and can even offer them complementary products and services adapted to their needs.
- To book appointments: with a virtual agent we can automate this process, which will provide efficiency to our service and allow the client to get an immediate confirmation of their appointment.
- To report about the status of the order: the customer will be able to find out the status of their order and track it quickly and easily.
As you will have seen, virtual agents cover different aspects of a company’s customer service. This is a list of basic examples of how to use them in our business, but the way we want to employ and customise them will depend on the needs we want to cover and the service we want to provide.
A virtual agent in your PBX or call center software
Nowadays, companies are looking for communication channels that allow them to attract attention and provide a fast and efficient service to users. On the other hand, users also prefer communication via instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp or Telegram for the same reason.
Therefore, having the right tools can be key to achieving an efficient and reactive service at critical moments. Virtual agents are thus becoming a key element in automating company processes, especially now that many companies are opting for omnichannel communication. Having tools to manage all these channels from a single platform is thus becoming essential.
Fonvirtual’s virtual PBX and call center software solutions will allow you to streamline your processes thanks to the Artificial Intelligence systems they incorporate. You will be able to use virtual agents to free your employees from repetitive tasks and take the customer experience to the next level. If you want to know everything you can automate with us, do not hesitate to contact us. We will inform you and help you find the solution that best suits your company’s needs.