With ChatGPT bursting onto the scene and tech giants like Google rushing to respond with their own offerings, it appears as though we’ve reached a tipping point for artificial intelligence.
But even though AI’s capabilities are becoming more impressive and more widely known, for the call center industry, AI is not something for the future. In fact, AI and automation have been increasingly adopted by call centers as tools to improve operational efficiency, boost revenue, and lower costs.
Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA) are one such solution that’s already revolutionizing the way business gets done for sales and lead generation companies.
Learn just how IVAs are reshaping the present and future of call center life—and discover the benefits this incredible technology can bring to your organization.
What Is an Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA)?
An Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) is a type of artificial intelligence that has the capability to interact with humans through natural language processing and dialogue. It was developed to supplement human customer service representatives in customer-facing roles, such as call centers, and represents a marked improvement on older voice-recognizing tech like interactive voice response (IVR).
IVA Contact Center Use Cases
IVAs are increasingly being utilized across many industries, from financial services to healthcare, as a way to reduce costs and improve customer experiences in both inbound and outbound contact center settings. With the IVA market expected to balloon to more than $47 billion by 2028, up from just $7 billion two years ago, just what is driving all this increased adoption?
IVA technology is a great tool for engaging customers and leads over text-based channels such as SMS, chat, email, and others. IVAs can provide 24/7 automated customer service and sales communication while preserving a natural conversation flow. This efficient approach helps to save time and resources while still providing customers with personalized interactions based on their individual needs.
IVAs can also be used to automate the entire process of outbound communication, from initial contact to follow-ups, resulting in increased efficiency and improved customer experience. The technology can even help identify leads with a higher conversion rate and enable brands to better manage their lead nurturing process.
Aged Lead Outreach
Using IVA technology to dial aged leads is an effective way to increase customer engagement and reduce customer service costs. By leveraging natural language processing and automated dialogue, IVAs can reach out to leads that have been dormant for months or even years, helping businesses to reconnect with potential customers who may still be interested in their services. Likewise, IVAs can be used to qualify leads and prioritize outreach efforts by collecting short surveys or qualifying questions.
Call Screening and Lead Qualification
IVA technology can be utilized to screen inbound calls and qualify leads on outbound calls, without the need for a human customer service representative. On inbound calls, IVAs are able to understand the caller’s intent and route them to the appropriate department or agent. This can help save time and resources by allowing customers to be connected to the right person immediately. On outbound calls, IVAs can quickly determine whether a prospect is interested in further engagement and route them to an appropriate contact center agent.
IVAs are also capable of providing self-service customer support by understanding customer requests and providing automated responses that help customers find the answers they are looking for. Self-service IVAs can handle a variety of such requests, from providing product information to helping customers reset passwords. Additionally, they can provide callers with helpful tips and advice, further improving the customer experience.
The Benefits of Implementing IVA Technology in the Call Center
A study from the IBM Institute for Business and Oxford Economics found that 96% of businesses utilizing IVA solutions have achieved or expect to achieve their anticipated ROI. This total ROI is a reflection of the across-the-board positive impact IVA is having on nearly every measure studied—from customer and employee satisfaction to productivity and cost savings. Here’s what those benefits of IVA look like in the call center environment.
Better Customer Experiences
The IBM study cited above found that effectively all companies employing virtual agent technology—99% of those surveyed!—saw an increase in customer satisfaction. And it’s no wonder why. With IVA’s only-improving ability to sound and interact like a normal human agent would, the technology is capable of delivering improved handle times and extremely efficient self-service, without the potential for human error. Best of all, solutions that rely on self-learning AI will only continue to improve, meaning there are still brighter days ahead for IVA.
Improved Agent Productivity and Efficiency
As we’ve covered before, the purpose of IVA and similar contact center automation solutions is not to replace agents but support them. By incorporating virtual agents into both customer service and sales operations, call center agents can be freed from tedious and mundane jobs, giving them the opportunity to tackle more complex tasks. This not only allows agents to grow their skill sets but increase their overall fulfillment with their job roles. After all, repetitive tasks have been shown to be drivers of call center burnout. IVA can also help alleviate pressure during busy periods by redirecting customers’ inquiries away from contact centers and handling engagement with aged leads.
Greater Lead Efficiency
By supporting ongoing outreach efforts with automated omnichannel communications, IVAs ultimately help sales teams make more efficient use of their leads. Just think: if you could be dialing and texting more leads—including those aged leads with lower contact rates you’ve got on the back burner—without requiring more of your agents, what would your cost per lead look like? Improve your lead penetration without sacrificing sales effectiveness and you’ve got a recipe for greater call center ROI.
Lowering your cost per lead isn’t the only positive outcome IVA can deliver to your balance sheet. It’s no secret that employing live agents can be expensive; indeed, payroll is likely always going to be your call center’s biggest cost. By enabling improved handle times, greater lead efficiency, and better lead penetration—in short, by empowering your call center to do more with less—you can streamline processes and cut costs in the process with the use of IVA.
How to Incorporate IVA Software Into Your Call Center
By implementing an IVA-driven automation solution, you can obtain a competitive edge while delivering what consumers want, improving your sales performance, and cutting overall costs. All that stands between your business and this competitive advantage is a pilot program where you can put IVA call center technology to the test.
Speak with your existing call center software provider or learn what to look for in a dialer as you explore options that offer IVA solutions.
Convoso was named a Hot Vendor in AI for the Contact Center by Aragon Research. According to the report:
Convoso IVA is an omnichannel, no-code virtual agent that uses natural language understanding to predictively respond to prospect requests, schedule appointments, answer questions, and qualify leads before passing them on to live agents. With its omnichannel approach, Convoso can also power drip campaigns, follow-ups, and other text-based interactions to augment dialing campaigns and drive even stronger results for customers.
What makes Convoso a hot vendor is both the incorporation of AI into its already robust dialer software, and the fact that its IVA has a powerful auto-intent detection.
Convoso has always been committed to powering conversations at scale, and the incorporation of IVA technology further supports that focus.
Put our omnichannel IVA solution and the most powerful predictive dialer out there to the test by scheduling a free demo today.