The Future of Customer Experience: Virtual Agent and Artificial Intelligence

Posted on at

Good customer service is very important to maintain good relationship with the clients and the company's reputation. With most people and companies going digital nowadays, one of the easiest way of connecting with them is through online. Whether booking or rescheduling an appointment, fixing an issue of a product, or anything that needs help and solution from the company.

Customer service on a company is a necessity. It's great a way to make clients feel that they are valued and well taken care of. Though it can be a hit and miss. Some clients get a successful transaction with their issues or inquiries getting solved, but there are also clients who doesn't get their issues resolved for reasons like the customer service agent who is in charge is not available or the current agents available are not capable enough to help the client with the problem. Some customer service even takes several minutes before reaching an agent. Worst part of it is not getting solutions after waiting for a very long time. But with the rise of artificial intelligence, virtual agents are developed and now used to improve the quality of customer service.  


(image source: Pixabay)

Artificial intelligence (AI) or machine intelligence is a type of machine that possesses an intelligence of a human. Machines with artificial intelligence have cognitive intelligence which means it can be trained and can learn or acquire more information and skills on its own through experiences and its environment. AI machines can recognize and understand speech, perceive emotions, manipulate objects, learn how to run and jump, play board games against humans, make decisions on its own, etc. Artificial intelligence is now being used on different industries, one of which is the virtual agent on customer service.


(image source: Pixabay)

Virtual agent (also known as "chatbot" or "virtual rep") is an artificial intelligent software that function as virtual customer service. Through the innovation on artificial intelligence, virtual agents can now communicate with their clients in human-like type of conversation and giving personalized response based from its perception to the situation and client. It is used on live chats and mails, and is initially trained for its tasks then it could learn new information as it is used. Virtual agents are currently used on simpler tasks while complicated tasks are still handled by humans.

(video source: ServiceNow Support via Youtube)


"Aritificial intelligence with a heart."

One example of a virtual agent is the chatbot Querlo. Querlo is a chatbot here on bitLanders which prides itself of being a "chatbot with a human touch" due to its capability of giving a human-like engagement to its clients. It is an automated data management solution that has a more secure and private mode of collecting data compared to social media and communication with another human. Its partnership with Microsoft and IBM Watson and the incorporation of its DeepQA "Emotional" Artificial Intelligence feature have made Querlo stand out from other chatbots. It also has a feature of recognizing voice and facial expressions.

(video source: Katsanslimites via bitLanders)

The development of technology may sound very amazing and definitely very interesting, but technology is like a double-edged sword. It has its good and not-so-good side as well, that's why I am listing below the advantages and disadvantages I know for using a virtual agent. 



(image source: Pixabay)

A lot of time is wasted on waiting for someone to pick up your call or reply on your mail. Time could've been used for other productive tasks instead of holding your phone next to your ear waiting for who knows how long. Now with the implementation of virtual agents, clients can immediately transact with the customer service. Waiting time will be diminished or probably reduced as virtual agents are always on standby. No more excuses of agents on lunch break, meeting, on another phone, etc. On the other hand, replies to our queries can now be instant as well. We dislike waiting and we want immediate response, right? A virtual agent can surely help solve that problem.


Remember calling the customer service and being put on hold for a long time then being told that the person you're reaching is still busy, so you or they have to call back later? That's very frustrating, right? Through virtual agents, clients can access the customer service simultaneously which helps save a lot of time. The company can also reach out to more clients in a short span of time, and preventing clients from getting impatient. Virtual agents are also very important in data gathering as it can collect massive information all at once compared to a human who would need to talk to their clients one at a time.


(image source: Pixabay)

Humans need to take a rest and sleep which is a downside for clients because they can only be entertained during office hours. Meanwhile, machines can be available twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week. With the usage of virtual agents, clients will be able to transact with ease and at their most convenient time, may it be at the wee hours of the morning or during weekends. It gives clients the freedom of time.


(image source: Pixabay)

I didn't mean humans are inaccurate but there are possibilities for mistakes to be committed due to different factors like restlessness, fatigue, lost of concentration, lack of sleep, etc. Whereas for virtual agents which are machines, they can function continuously while still giving the same quality of service. Well, machines can also be prone to glitches but I believe this could only happen rarely.


(image source: Pixabay)

Not interacting with a human customer service agent is probably the joy of all introverts and socially anxious people. Thanks to artificial intelligence as it is making the world more friendly and easier for people like us. Kidding aside, I think interacting with a virtual agent can also promote equal treatment for the clients and eradicate cases of discrimination.


(image source: Pixabay)

Companies will definitely save a lot of money by using virtual agents as there will be lesser employees to pay. The system would be surely expensive but it is certainly cheaper and practical in the long run. In return, the company can put the saved money on creating or improving other projects on their company.


(image source: Pixabay)

There is one very clear disadvantage that I can foresee through the implementation of virtual agents, and that is the lost of jobs and the employment rate going down. Since machines are now beginning on being capable of taking over the jobs of humans, people will lose their jobs and have to find another in order to sustain their living. Employment would be lesser and this is going to be a problem for people whose skills and expertise is on the customer service.


(image source: Pixabay)

Switching to a virtual agent will surely help companies improve their service in many ways. It can be a big disadvantage for employees but advancements in technology is a reality everyone must face. If technology would help make something better for a company and its clients, then why not use it, right? The use of virtual agent is a big step in building a better relationship with their clients and providing convenience for the company. This can possibly be widely used soon especially when developers have made virtual agents learn its complicated tasks to be able to cater all the client's needs.   

(video source: OverAI via Youtube)

Thanks for reading!

✧ Katsanslimites

About the author