When we talk about intelligent virtual assistants, the first name that comes into our minds is Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortona, or Google Assistant.
Of course, intelligent assistants have become a talk across the globe in recent times. Most of that has got to be because of the forced lockdown period due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been an increased usage of intelligent assistants to simplify many tasks.
In this blog, we will learn about the concept of an intelligent virtual assistant, its working mechanism, and its varied applications in today’s time.
Definition of an intelligent virtual assistant
An intelligent virtual assistant is a software tool that carries out tasks and operations for users when spoken to or asked to do something. There are some well-known virtual assistants like Alexa, Siri, and others. Even chatbots are visual assistants who synthesize human texts. You can create small tasks through these assistants like adding your calendar, knowing the weather, creating grocery lists, or to-do lists.
An intelligent virtual assistant is a software that is human-like and interacts that way with humans. The key to doing that is by using artificial intelligence as the base of the intelligent virtual assistant.
The working mechanism of an intelligent virtual assistant
An intelligent virtual assistant is based on artificial intelligence technology. The artificial intelligence software uses the device’s microphone to accept voice requests through a speaker. Then a blend of different technologies like recognizing the voice, voice analysis, and language processing takes place
When a user commands any personal assistant to perform a task, the natural language audio is transformed into digital data that the system can scrutinize. This data is then compared with a database of the software using an algorithm to find the right answer. For this particular reason, for the smooth functioning of any personal assistant, a reliable internet connection is a must. With the rising number of voice-based queries, the database gets expanded and optimized, increasing the system’s response time.
Let us take an example-
You are worried about a shopping trip you planned. You don’t know if the weather is fine, the traffic situation in that area, and whether the place is even open. You can use an intelligent virtual assistant to get that information. This information can come in handy to plan your day ahead.
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Devices where virtual assistants can be found
Intelligent assistants can be found on major software devices. The popular ones include Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, and Google Now from the stable of Google.
Other popular virtual assistants include-
- Smarter Child
- IBM’s Watson
- Facebook messenger bots
- Whatsapp Chatbots
- Business chatbots
- Samsung Bixby
- Google Allo
Intelligent virtual assistant – The marriage of AI and human intelligence
An intelligent virtual assistant is one software that understands what the user is telling them. All intelligent virtual assistants are loaded with a Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithm. NLP is a set of algorithms that identify, try, learn various patterns and decisions based on data from human input. For instance- The user asks when the salary will be debited, and the auto-reply is after two business days.
AI-enabled technologies are now the basis of customer service. Chatbots, automated voice systems, and virtual desks help people perform tasks secure registration, allotment, eligibility, verification status, and more.
How can companies start with intelligent virtual assistants?
Companies can start with intelligent virtual assistants if they want to start building their customer base. Companies can either outsource the tech development for an intelligent virtual assistant or create one in-house. An advanced IVA can result in good ROI- enhanced customer experience and improved automation. An intelligent virtual assistant results in effective customer engagement across industries.
Intelligent virtual assistants can be helpful to companies in many ways-
- Boost efficiency and productivity
Due to their high artificial intelligence and machine learning levels, IVA’s can understand customer intent, meet customer requirements, and increase contact levels. Since response rates are higher and faster for surface queries, you can improve customer success, minimize human intervention and maximize support.
- Cut costs and boost revenue
IVAs reduce dependency on human agents by handling routine queries, customer queries, and FAQs. It is to be noted that IVAs can handle a high amount of workload and high volume interactions with less or zero cost. High positive outcomes lead to boosting website conversion rates. This is why there are annual improvements to customer lifetime value and revenue.
IVAs can build the true omnichannel experience. This boosts customer engagement and improves conversions. A customer feels familiar with the territory, whether he is on a desktop or a mobile. An omnichannel experience leads to reduced customer frustration.
IVAs build customer loyalty. They solve problems fast, review reports fast, answer customers quickly, and thus build on two factors- convenience and speed. They can create a human-like behaviour and simulate an environment for better growth. You can boost customer retention and improve customer loyalty in the long run.
Intelligent virtual assistants are machines that use artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to understand users’ requirements and answer their queries.
Since they are available 24×7, they have the upper hand over their human counterparts. However, their ability to understand human languages differentiates them from chatbots.
Real conversations can improve how intelligent virtual assistants work. Contextual understanding is necessary to improve how these tools work. For example- if you ask for your favorite restaurant, it might be tough for the IVA to detect your tone and diction. Even vehicles have smart virtual assistants who receive real-time data.
New intelligent virtual assistants are now modelled on language models that are based on grammar. This can be used in various use cases like machine translation, intent prediction, sentiment analysis, and speech recognition.26
Intelligent virtual assistants are the new-age compulsory for company growth and success.
Dattatraya Shetty is an IT Professional with 2 Decades of experience in areas of Product Development, Implementation & Service Delivery Management. As the Head of Implementations and SOC Compliance in Smartkarrot he is on a mission to provide relishing customer experience.
Published December 13, 2021, Updated March 02, 2023