Cloud Communications Provider Avaya announce an update to your Avaya OneCloud platform, in which its virtual agent is available as a ready-to-deploy, turnkey, configurable service. This will allow customers to quickly deploy a virtual agent powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that can be used immediately.
This complements the Avaya current Google Dialogflow-based agent that requires developers to create a virtual agent from scratch.
The customer experience is the new battlefield
In the last few years, there has been an intense focus on improving the customer experience (CX), as CX is now the best differentiator of the brand, surpassing price, product quality and all other factors. Interesting point of data from ZK Research is that in 2021, two-thirds of millennials changed their brand loyalty due to a single bad experience. If deployed properly, virtual agents can significantly reduce the time it takes for an individual to interact with a brand to resolve a problem, get an answer to a question, return a product, or perform another task.
I used the “if they are positioned correctly” warning because virtual agents can damage customer loyalty if the experience is bad, and this is often the case. In his media councilAvaya cites some data from Ipsos, which found that only one in three customers would recommend this business to others based on their recent interaction with a virtual agent. The survey also found that only 50% of customers have resolved their problems or concerns through the virtual agent. Much of this is due to the complexity and hard work required to provide solutions for virtual agents.
Avaya offers composite communications
Over the past year, Avaya has adopted the concept of “Compositeness“in terms of its communication solutions. ZK Research defines a composite enterprise as a business that achieves business results by quickly adapting to change through a combination of packaged applications and application building blocks such as export data, application programming interfaces (APIs) and low-code / non-code systems.
Avaya has mountains of data, a developer API for virtual agents, and its new solution targets codeless use. This leaves the low code as the only missing part of having a complete, composite set of virtual agent tools, and that’s coming soon. In a conversation with Laura Fottenbury, senior product marketing manager at Avaya, she told me that they are developing a low-code option that upgrades their partner. Cognigywell known conversational AI provider.
Avaya’s diverse approach to product development is highlighted by the range of options for virtual agents. At one time, like most technology companies, Avaya built all of its own products on site. Given the rapid pace of innovation, Avaya has chosen to build where needed and use partners where needed. For example, it uses levers Maxine on NVIDIA for AI capabilities in your product for meetings in Spaces and Google CCAI to bring enhanced capabilities to your OneCloud Contact Center answer. I asked Faughtenberry about it and she summed it up like this: “Why build it when you can use something that already works?”
Experience requires many approaches to product development
With the arrival of CMO Simon Harrison, Avaya has positioned itself as a company that allows its customers to build best-in-class experiences, and this has been a big part of the thought process around the pre-built virtual agent. Faughtenberry told me, “We’ve all had those moments where we tried to contact a virtual agent and left the conversation angry. We wanted to facilitate the implementation of interaction automation technology, which allows the agent to handle more complex tasks, ensuring the customer’s experience is better. “
One last point: The virtual agent is built on Avaya’s communication platform as a cloud service backend (CPaaS). In my opinion, over time, the providers of unified communications and contact centers will shift from product companies to suppliers of platforms where value is at the back end. As mentioned earlier, Avaya advertises the value of composing, and the virtual agent is an example of a composite solution that can be built on CPaaS, as well as Spaces and a contact center.
The role of a vendor like Avaya is to create turnkey products for customers who want pre-built experiences, but it also provides tools for customers who want a more personalized experience. In this case, the newly released virtual agent will meet the needs of many companies that want to offer this as an option. Businesses with more complex needs would use the low code option or build their own using the API.