Virtual Agents – Your New Best Friend in Business?
You might have heard the term “virtual agent” before, but what exactly are they?
Let’s start with the basics…
What is a Virtual Agent?
In short, virtual agents are artificial intelligence (AI) software programs that can simulate human conversation. They are often used in customer service to provide answers to common questions or help with simple tasks.
In recent years, however, businesses have begun to explore other ways to utilize virtual agents. Here are a few examples of how virtual agents can be used in business.
Common Uses for Virtual Agents
1. Sales and Marketing Virtual Agents
Think about all of the times you’ve visited a website and been greeted by a chatbox popup asking if you need help. More and more businesses are using virtual agents for sales and marketing purposes.
By programming virtual agents with the ability to engage in natural human conversation, businesses can provide potential customers with a helpful way to get the information they need about products and services without having to speak to a human being.
Additionally, businesses can use virtual agents to collect information about website visitors so that they can create targeted marketing campaigns.
2. Human Resources Virtual Agents
Virtual agents can also be used in human resources. For example, imagine that you’re a small business owner who is looking to hire a new employee.
You could use a virtual agent to screen applicants by asking them questions about their qualifications and experience. This would save you a lot of time because you wouldn’t have to sift through resumes or conduct initial interviews with every single applicant; the virtual agent could do it for you.
Additionally, virtual agents can be used to answer common HR questions from employees, such as vacation policy or how to change their direct deposit information.
3. Customer Service Virtual Agents
Perhaps the most common way that businesses use virtual agents is for customer service.
By programming virtual agents with the ability to understand and respond to common customer inquiries, businesses can take some of the pressure off of their human customer service representatives.
This frees up employees’ time so that they can focus on more complex issues while still providing excellent customer service.
Top Virtual Agent Technology
1. Amazon Lex
Amazon Lex is a cloud-based virtual assistant technology that enables you to create conversational bots or virtual assistants to take care of tasks like scheduling appointments or ordering goods and services. Amazon Lex is powered by the same deep learning engine that powers Amazon Alexa, making it easy to build natural language apps.
One of the key advantages of Amazon Lex is that it offers built-in integration with popular chat platforms like Slack, Facebook Messenger, and Twilio SMS. This makes it easy to get started with creating your own chatbot.
2. Google Dialogflow
Google Dialogflow is another popular virtual assistant platform that enables you to build chatbots or virtual assistants for your business. Dialogflow is powered by Google AI and offers features like natural language understanding, conversation management, and automatic speech recognition.
Like Amazon Lex, Dialogflow also offers built-in integration with popular chat platforms like Slack, Facebook Messenger, and Twilio SMS.
3. IBM Watson Assistant
IBM Watson Assistant is a virtual assistant platform that enables you to create AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants. Watson Assistant is powered by IBM Watson AI and offers features like natural language understanding, conversation management, and automatic speech recognition. Unlike Amazon Lex and Google Dialogflow, Watson Assistant does not offer built-in integration with any chat platforms. However, it does offer an API that you can use to integrate Watson Assistant with your own chat platform.
4. Microsoft Power Virtual Agents
Microsoft Power Virtual Agents is a bot-building platform that enables users to create and deploy AI-powered chatbots with no code. The platform offers a library of pre-built bots that can be customized to fit the needs of any business, and users can also create their own bots from scratch using the drag-and-drop interface.
Power Virtual Agents uses natural language processing (NLP) to understand user input and provide accurate responses, making it an ideal solution for businesses that want to provide 24/7 customer support or automate tasks such as data entry.
In addition, the platform integrates with other Microsoft products such as Dynamics 365, making it easy to add chatbots to existing workflows. With its powerful capabilities and ease of use, Microsoft Power Virtual Agents is quickly becoming the leading solution for building chatbots.
As you can see, there are many ways that businesses can use virtual agents. If you’re thinking about implementing a virtual agent into your business, consider what tasks you would like it to be able to handle and research which software programs would be best for your needs.
Implementing a virtual agent could help your business run more efficiently and free up employees’ time so that they can focus on more important tasks.
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