August 31, 2021
Natural Language Processing (NLP) is gaining ever more relevance as it applies to virtual agents. The technology is efficient in the challenge of automating interactions with customers, without compromising the quality of service.
In this post we will elaborate about the subject. First, we will address the concept and the importance of virtual agents in corporate service processes. Next, we will detail some of the main challenges and major advantages of NLP when used woth bots.
Finally, we will make the case of why Interactive Media, founded more than 20 years ago, is the best choice in service solutions with NLP support.
Virtual agents: what are they and why are they important in service?
Increasingly common in corporate daily life, virtual agents are computer applications that use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to optimize service processes. Virtual agents use Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) as the basis for conducting a conversation with people.
By incorporating virtual agents into workflows, companies have a double gain: while leveraging service team productivity, speeding up problem solving through technology, they also optimize important resources – such as labor, time and money. The result of the equation can be extremely positive and, therefore, very attractive to high performance companies.
NLP, in turn, plays a decisive role in the effectiveness of virtual agents, especially when the user experience is a central theme. “Generally speaking, Natural Language Processing is the ability of a computer system to interact with people using speech, adapting to understand what they say and to respond to them in a natural way,” says Livio Pugliese, CEO of PhoneMyBot, an Interactive Media company.
Technically speaking, NLP is at the intersection of linguistics and information technology, benefiting from the advances of both. According to a Gartner report, it is estimated that by 2021, 15% of all customer service interactions will be fully handled by artificial intelligence mechanisms. In Brazil, the virtual agent market also continues to be heated: in 2019 alone, 60 thousand bots were launched, a number almost 353% higher than the previous year.
Natural language: what are the biggest challenges and main advantages?
The rapid advance of technology, especially of artificial intelligence, has in recent years led to a substantial increase in the quality of comprehension and language generation. As a result, virtual agents also improved and gained more and more space in business departments – from sales to technical support.
In practice, NLP needs written text to function. Therefore, it is necessary that machines accurately transcribe what people say, providing a coherent and precise interpretation – which undoubtedly emerges as one of the main challenges of Natural Language Processing.
“Even more challenging, however, is the mission of assigning a faithful meaning to the transcript, since people use many different phrases to say the same thing and, in some cases, the same word can mean different things in specific contexts”, comments Livio Pugliese.
However, overcoming this obstacle brings a substantial reward: adopting automated service solutions brings many advantages and can represent significant gains in the short, medium and long term.
“When we are talking about voice, NLP can help whenever people need to communicate with machines without using their hands,” explains the CEO of PhoneMyBot. The executive reinforces that these days it is not just questions and answers, but conversations. The biggest advantage lies in the ability to understand the user’s intention to, if possible, provide the services most appropriate to the question or complaint.
“Often, the virtual agent gets only some of the meaning during the first conversation exchange” according to Livio Pugliese. But with AI and machine learning resources, this is no longer a problem: the technology can continue to ask complementary questions to single out the intention until it is completely understood, and the most relevant answer is sent to the customer.
The operational impact of virtual agents is important for the bottom line as well. When bots are in charge of leading the initial interaction with customers, often containing the operation into self-service, professionals in the field can dedicate themselves to more analytical and strategic tasks, which helps the overall company performance.
If you still have doubts about the efficiency of virtual agents in generating savings for corporations, it is worth remembering that a survey by Juniper Research predicts that, by 2022, companies will save 8 billion dollars a year with the application of conversational technologies. In other words: it is worth investing now.
Experience and technology: why is Interactive Media a specialist in NLP?
Interactive Media develops, deploys, and continuously improves conversational virtual customer service agents across multiple channels. With great expertise in artificial intelligence tools and machine learning, the company helps its customers to optimize their interaction flows with users.
With more than 20 years of experience in voice applications, Interactive Media has implemented many successful use cases in organizations of the most diverse sizes and segments. “Based on the history, we know that virtual agents can solve up to 80% of the problems in the call center, freeing human agents from countless telephone contacts”, points out Pugliese.
Interactive Media’s platform uses a carefully tailored approach to build technologies that fosters high-performance understanding, allowing for more accurate interactions – which, in turn, improves both ends of the chain. For the company, it is about maximizing resources and reducing costs; for the user, it means that problem solving is more agile and efficient.
“At Interactive Media, we cover the complete lifecycle of virtual NLP agents and also of all integrations, which ensures that we can provide the most appropriate and intelligent solution to the problem presented by the customer”, concludes the PhoneMyBot CEO .
We want to end with two complementary conclusions. The first is that Natural Language Processing emerges as the most assertive way to enable a more human-like automated service, capable of really understand the user’s intention. The second solidifies Interactive Media’s position as a reference in the area; after all, even before the chatbots boom, the company already offered AI-based conversational services and they have only become smarter and more focused with time.
To improve the service flow in your company you need an effective technological mechanism. Contact us and find out how we can help you implement more complete solutions, in line with the demands of an evolving market.
The Author co-founded Interactive Media in 1996 and is the CEO of the company. Interactive Media is a global developer and vendor of speech applications. Interactive Media has a long history of developing progressively more sophisticated speech applications, with more...
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