Virtual agents for customer engagement

To delight the customer, you must offer the unexpected. One area where this is particularly relevant is when it comes to delivering stellar customer service. 

We all know that the best customer support agents are empathetic, helpful and knowledgeable about the company’s products and services. On top of this, they connect with the customer through relation and interaction. However, at their very best, customer support agents are expensive and often inaccessible, especially when compared to digital solutions. 

When it comes to virtual agents, Clevertar, a South Australian technology company, stands out from the crowd. With the world’s first self-service platform enabling businesses to create virtual agents for their website, the company transcends the conventional approach towards customer experience. 

Most chatbots are designed to answer questions and be ‘smart’. Clevertar’s virtual agents go one step further. Not only are they smart, but they are also engaging (which is critical in a customer relationship). Clevertar achieves this through an embodied conversational agent; a chatbot with a face, a voice, and a personality that represents an organization and interacts with customers on its behalf. Unlike conventional chatbots, the company leverages a human’s natural bias towards interacting with others. 

Clevertar’s platform may sound familiar – service providers take their very best customer support agents and use their in-house knowledge to ‘train’ the virtual agent. Doing so ensures a gold standard 24/7 customer service at a fraction of the cost of a human customer support agent. 

Clevertar’s ‘conversational flow’ approach means that content is quicker to produce than that of purely intent-driven chatbots that rely on ‘what-if’ scenarios. The platform’s content management system enables creators to script their existing knowledge into useful conversations, which together with an appealing range of characters, allows a business to deploy a virtual agent in minutes rather than weeks. Also, in situations where open questions are useful for engagement, Clevertar seamlessly incorporates natural language processing for guided and self-directed conversations, as and when needed.

A spin-off of from Flinders University’s research into using human communication to improve computer engagement with humans, Clevertar’s experience in the health sector, in particular, the mental health field, is worth mentioning.  “We began in health because this is where behavioral change and adherence is critically important,” says Clevertar CEO, Tanya Newhouse. “Our first health coach was for Type II diabetes, where a clinical trial with the University of Melbourne demonstrated how people were willing to be accountable to their virtual health coach and how this daily accountability changed their behavior and improved their health outcomes.”

Clevertar has proved how conversational agents are suitable, even in the most sensitive of situations.  More recently, it has expanded its reach into other service-based industries such as finance, telecommunications and government services and sales and is delighted by the uptake.

 “If our virtual agents can help with a patient’s psychological distress, they can most certainly answer queries about insurance or banking,” continues Newhouse. “Relating to customers on a human level changes the customer’s experience, and Clevertar’s self-service technology makes it easy for any business to make the leap between ‘digital availability’ and ‘human understanding’. 

“Most excitingly, because we’ve made this technology available to everyone, we’re seeing our vvirtual agents in real-world situations that we never imagined!” 

As their virtual agents are adaptable, Clevertar has offerings to suit businesses of every size. Their self-service product, called Conversagent, is suited to small businesses and is free to deploy. For organizations looking for a more custom-made solution, Clevertar provides assistance to implement a virtual agent onto an organization’s CX suite. Clevertar has in-house experts who can advise on behavioral change and offer technical scriptwriting, custom 3D character development and project management to create solutions that also come with a measurable ROI. 

From its roots in human-computer interfaces and its impressive results in customer engagement, Clevertar is leading the chatbot industry by creating a genuine connection between customers and digital engagement. Although virtual agents may not replace every aspect of a customer service center, they are proven to effectively take care of the repeatable conversations that can burden inbound call and live chat teams. 

Newhouse finishes by explaining, “We have demonstrated that customers engage with a virtual agent to help them with really personal and difficult issues; this opens up a world of possibilities for 24/7 customer support.  

“Clevertar’s technology fundamentally changes the customer experience for the better.”