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Continued progress in reinventing the relationship between people and technology.

Meet the new generation of virtual assistants: Learn and grow smarter, Part I

How does a virtual assistant become smarter? There are several ways to grow an intelligent assistant that understands customer language and intent, and can answer specific questions. Josefine Fouarge takes us on the learning journey of a virtual assistant in this series “Learn and grow smarter.” Today we look at the beginning of the journey when the virtual assistant is first deployed with a brand.
To meet customer expectations, virtual assistants must be able to learn and grow smarter.

What do consumers want out of the customer experience? According to eMarketer, technology drives up consumer expectations, as customers increasingly expect fast, consistent and reliable experiences across all devices. They expect your brand to be all-knowing and always-available when it comes to serving them.

But customers get frustrated with technology when they can’t find the answers they want in a timely manner. Virtual assistants can be a fantastic solution to this problem, but not all are created equal.


Addressing the need for capable customer service virtual assistants

In both the consumer and enterprise space, the word “chatbot” is becoming a buzzword. Though often used interchangeably with “virtual assistant,” the two terms are different, in that a virtual assistant is more humanlike, contextually aware, and consistent across channels. But at a base level, both terms describe a conversational interface designed to help customers solve problems.

Consumer expectations for this type of technology are high, with AYTM data showing that 73% of consumers agree that interacting with an automated system that they could converse with would significantly improve their experience. The problem is, much of the chatbot technology on the market is simply missing the mark. Further AYTM surveys seeking to understand current consumer perceptions of chatbots have revealed that fewer than one in three (30%) consumers today are confident in a chatbot’s ability to successfully help them when it comes to customer service. For instance, the majority of consumers (71%) who are using chatbots today are primarily searching for news or information, playing music, or playing games. But few consumers are confident in a chatbot’s ability to assist with more complex and domain-specific activities.


Closing the gap between what customers want and what they get

So how can brands close the gap between customer expectations and customer experience? By increasing a virtual assistant’s confidence. When deploying a virtual assistant, brands often start from scratch, meaning the virtual assistant isn’t even able to understand questions at first. Over time, the more someone interacts with the virtual assistant, the smarter it gets, thereby increasing its confidence.

But why start with a virtual assistant from scratch? Wouldn’t you rather start with one that already understands consumer questions?


The beginning of a virtual assistant’s journey to optimization

The ideal virtual assistant would be designed with pre-loaded, industry and business-specific knowledge and expertise. It would leverage past experiences to deliver answers with a wide range of knowledge upon deployment. Your company would be able to start with a virtual assistant that can understand customers’ questions, and then you could personalize its answers. This ready-made virtual assistant would be available faster versus 90 days of set-up and training.

With this kind of virtual assistant, businesses would be able to give customers the self-service experience they expect with efficiency and accuracy, and receive a faster ROI. A virtual assistant that can quickly and accurately respond to questions with understanding of the customer’s intent from the get-go – that’s what both enterprises and their customers want.


The rest of the story…

OK, so companies should start with a virtual assistant that comes with a preset library of knowledge on which to build more customer answers. Check. It should also have an innate understanding of customer intent. Check. What’s the next step in “educating” a virtual assistant to be smarter and smarter? Stay tuned for future installments of Learn and grow smarter!

In the meantime, you can find at Nuance just such a virtual assistant that is designed with business and industry-specific knowledge to get you started with quick and accurate responses to your customer’s common questions. Learn about Nuance virtual assistant, Nina.

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Intelligent automated conversations with a human touch

A conversation with Nina feels much more human than a chat‑bot, understanding everything your customers do to maintain a truly consistent voice for your brand.

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Josefine Fouarge

About Josefine Fouarge

Josefine Fouarge is Sr. Product Marketing Manager in the Nuance Enterprise Division, focusing on automated and human assisted engagements in digital channels. Josefine brings more than 10 years of experience in sales and marketing for technology related businesses in Germany and the U.S. Her past expertise ranges from selling and configuring Apple computers to defining the market and messaging for a security software for on-premise datacenters and services offered through the cloud.