Most consumers know the frustration of getting interrupted in the middle of an automated exchange with a company’s intelligent virtual assistant (IVA). And for every such occurrence, there’s a company fretting about a fractured customer experience and potential lost revenue and brand deterioration.
Artifical intelligence (AI)-based IVA company Interactions says it has the answer to this problem with what it calls the industry’s “only true omnichannel IVA solution.”
Simply put: Customers can have a continuous dialogue with a company across channels and devices.
Here’s an example of how it works. A customer wants to contact her insurance company to get a copy of her policy. First, she enters into a conversation on one of the company’s platforms by providing some personal details to authenticate herself as a user. The most common authentication data is a phone number, but it’s up to each company to decide what level of identification is required.
Interaction’s IVA will then ask the customer where she would like that policy delivered — anywhere from email to Facebook Messenger to text. And if the conversation is interrupted, the customer can tell the IVA to pause the conversation. Then, the agent will ask the customer to identify where she’d like to finish the dialogue, and when she is ready to continue, the conversation is waiting for her there.
Jane Price, the company’s senior vice president of marketing, told me that Interactions uses a combination of AI, machine learning and company-specific business rules to provide a seamless experience.
“What we basically do is allow people to talk [to a smart speaker] or text or type [into a chat box] so they’re able to get things done,” Price said. “And our automation is able to understand that and proceed with the conversation. We can really be that link between businesses and consumers as [the consumers] are trying to do things like check on their orders or modify their account information or create a hotel reservation.”
Though the company acknowledges that other IVAs can be used across multiple platforms, Price says the ability to continue the conversation across platforms and devices makes it a true omnichannel experience.
“This is the first true omnichannel experience, which means that the customer never has to repeat herself when she moves from one channel to another to complete a transaction,” Price said. “The content is persistent and it moves with you. You just pick it up in the next channel.”