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December 13, 2012

Creative Virtual V-Person Virtual Assistant Drops Live Chat Volumes

By Steve Anderson, Contributing TMCnet Writer

There are times when a customer just needs to talk to a real person. Maybe the question said customer has doesn't fit into the neat pigeonholes a company establishes in its interactive voice response (IVR) system. Or, maybe it fits into multiple categories and the customer isn't sure just which is the right fit.  

But, having live people answer calls can be expensive, which is why Creative Virtual's V-Person is looking like a better deal in a lot of firms' eyes, especially for one online financial services company who discovered big savings with the V-Person.

Creative Virtual's V-Person is a virtual assistant program much like Siri, but geared for the financial services market. One online financial firm put the V-Person in play back in February, and the result was that not only did live chat volumes plummet--down over 80 percent since its launch--but that now, only about five percent of all calls the virtual agent handles have to be routed to a real person.

Basically, the firm was looking for a way to easily replace large numbers of real-person chat help with a machine, allowing them to save money as well as process more calls, not to mention do so with the help of information about the caller for an added personal touch. Better yet, customer transcripts of V-Person calls allowed the company to further fine-tune V-Person responses to make the service steadily better, and cut back on the workload of the live human agents, who then were turned over to high-level tasks that weren't quite suited for the machine.

Since the company was using Oracle (News - Alert) Live Chat for its chat services, it made V-Person especially easy to add on to the current systems, further smoothing the installation and helping to keep costs down. Plus, since V-Person's use is already compliant with SEC (News - Alert) rules, it also keeps regulators happy, and happy regulators also keep costs down. Perhaps best of all, with V-Person in play, the company could offer up customer help on a 24-7 basis, a great selling point for those interested in doing business with the company.

While a virtual assistant isn't necessarily a great fit for every company, for those who can make it fit into their operations--especially when it comes to dealing with low-level questions that are commonly handled at the IVR level--will likely find that it goes a long way toward solving many simple questions and keeping live operators free to handle the bigger jobs that a virtual assistant simply can't. It provides the illusion of full coverage, while at the same time, solving so many problems outright that a significant portion of the customer base is satisfied.

At the end of the day, the more customers are satisfied, the more they come back. The more they come back, the more they're likely to spend and keep spending with the company, keeping it intact.

Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli
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