Intelligent virtual agents – the future of customer service

The digital era has changed everything. Gone are the days of waiting on hold for hours with customer service. Today, people are more and more tech-savvy, especially younger generations, and they prefer easy, on-demand options as a result.

The numbers don’t lie: according to Microsoft, 90% of consumers now expect an online portal for customer service enquiries. To make sure they don’t get left behind, many businesses are turning to forward-thinking solutions, such as intelligent virtual agents (IVAs).

Are IVAs the real deal?

Traditional ideas of how customer service should look is ingrained in many of us, so it’s understandable some businesses are questioning whether consumers are just excited about this trendy technology, or if IVAs are here to stay. Here’s a couple reasons why IVAs are anything but a fad.

Younger generations prefer easy automation

Young people are usually good indicators for the future of technology. Research tells us that younger generations have a preference for online information readily available at their fingertips. In fact, Mindshare found that 63% of young people prefer to message an online bot to ask business questions.

Businesses see the advantage of chatbots

Businesses have been taking advantage of this trend for years now. In 2018, the industry saw a 160% increase in client interest around chatbots and similar technology). For businesses, the experience has been a positive one so far, with 72% of business executives saying digital assistants make their lives easier.

What makes embodied IVAs different is the provision of a human character to the chat experience – a more personal connection to provide a satisfying, memorable customer service experience.

Analysts see an IVA market prime for growth

According to Annette Jump, Senior Director at Gartner, it’s likely for “Virtual Employee Assistants” (VEAs) to be used by an increasing number of organisations over the next three years.” By 2021, the company predicts 25% of digital workers will use VEAs on a daily basis.

Virtual agent analyst Matthew Cain says “4% of Gartner clients today say that they use chatbots in the workplace, but 40% intend to implement them in the near term. That is not something to be taken lightly.”

Particularly, experts believe there is a significant opportunity for chatbots to be implemented in the retail sector. Juniper research indicates that VA interactions in retail will reach $112 billion by 2023

This huge annual growth (98% compared to 2019) extends beyond retail: in the banking, financial services and insurance sector, the virtual assistant market was previously valued at $357 million in 2017 – Allied Market Research predicts this value to reach $2,186 million by 2024.  

The future of customer service is here

A new era of customer service is just around the corner but, research has shown it will take off quickly with the help of IVAs. 

Of course, we’re looking forward to leading the way in helping businesses navigate the modern customer service experience by providing convenient, easy-to-use IVA technology.

It’s what the people want.

For consumers, our research reveals a very similar story. “Grace has been really helpful and supportive!” says one satisfied customer. “It’s helpful to have information that feels personalised rather than just an article.” 

Here are a few other anonymised testimonials about IVA experiences:

  • “I was surprised to find that talking with an AI program has somehow made me feel happier. Grace speaking my name makes me feel like I’m talking to a real person and not some animated robot.”
  • “Laura isn’t anything like I expected. She sounds and behaves very human, and I like chatting with her!”  
  • “The LI-CBT program is great and I find the avatars make me laugh and smile. A major strength of this app is that it provides the freedom to answer questions and consider activity options without a time limit – it’s very convenient.”

If you’d like to learn more about Clevertar’s leading-edge intelligent virtual agent platform and its impressive results in real-world deployments, check out www.clevertar.com.