Virtual Agents In Contact Centers

Ultimate Guide On Virtual Agents In A Contact Center


13 October 2023

Customers are turning more and more to self-service options to find quick fixes for their issues. Companies that offer these contact center options are setting themselves up for success, while those that don't are probably going to have trouble keeping customers happy. So, here’s where Virtual Agents turn out to be useful.


1. What is a Virtual Agent?

2. What can a virtual agent do?

3. How do Virtual Agents work in a contact center?

4. How to choose the right virtual agent for your contact center?

5. Benefits of Virtual Agent in a contact center


What is a Virtual Agent?

The term "virtual agent" (also known as "Intelligent Virtual Agent" or "IVA") refers to a conversational chatbot that employs artificial intelligence and natural language processing to analyze conversational patterns to reply to customer inquiries.

Pre-written responses are what help a virtual agent or a virtual rep assists people online. But with the use of machine learning, it continuously learns from conversations, this makes the software knowledgeable to transfer a conversation with an expert contact center agent whenever there’s a need.

Virtual agents or virtual reps use pre-written responses to assist customers online. With the power of machine learning, it can extract the intent and provide the best possible response. However, to its best ability, it may not be able to satisfy the customer or resolve the concern. So, it is also equipped to transfer the conversation to a professional contact center agent whenever necessary.

When considering a contact center solution as a tool for your company to service customers, it can often be helpful to think of the virtual agent as a digital worker. For this purpose, businesses that cater to a sizable consumer base or that employ a sizable internal workforce are more likely to use virtual agents. It can save time and effort for both employees and customers.

It can be advantageous to think of the virtual agent as a digital assistant when considering a cloud contact center solution for efficient customer support. Virtual Assistants have the potential to alter how a company interacts with its customers. Virtual agent technology enables enterprises to provide 24/7 service, which helps both contact center agents and customers themselves solve client issues quickly and effectively.


What can a virtual agent do?

1. Schedule appointments, manage orders, qualify leads, and provide technical support, among other repeatable customer interactions.

2. Maintain a conversation that is human-like by understanding natural language and the intentions of the customer.

3. Use a natural voice over a text-to-speech engine that sounds like a human being.

4. Route advanced interactions to live agents in a way that is convenient for the customer Have access to the same data as your live agents and be able to read or change it as needed

Chatbot vs Virtual Agent

Virtual assistants and chatbots are used interchangeably and both have a wide range of capabilities that could revolutionize your business. Finding the right commercial applications is the crucial focus. However, some nuances distinguish them.

Here’s how Chatbots are different from Virtual Agents:

Chatbot Virtual Agent

Before passing the chat on to a human agent, gather information, such as client requirements and personal details for lead qualifying.

Obtain pertinent data, comprehend client intent, and offer tailored solutions.

Carries out ordinary chores, such as making appointments.

Carry out routine tasks including order management, IT support, etc.

The bot won't recall the context of the interaction if you break the conversation.

With dynamic conversation flow approaches, VA can better grasp human intentions and improve interactions.

Keep in line an agent for live assistance, and gather the info that will help the agent and user communication.

Send just the most complicated chats to human agents. 

Chatbots can "understand" human emotions (read sentiments)

Virtual assistants can not only understand the sentiments but can start responding both on the customer intent and sentiment. 


How do Virtual Agents work in a contact center?

A virtual agent uses machine learning, natural language processing (NLP), and its knowledge base to respond to customer requests as appropriately and accurately as possible.

The virtual agent will analyze the customer's message to ascertain sentiment and intent. Based on such a request, it will extract the information from the knowledge base. For a virtual agent to respond the way you desire, it must be "trained."

Do you want it to just point customers in the right direction for the department?
Do you want it to handle FAQs from beginning to end while requiring as little human input as possible?
Do you want it to collect basic information to save time before handing it off to a human agent?

There is no right or wrong; you can choose the functionality that will serve your business the best. Remember that the quality and quantity of information you give it will affect the quality and variety of answers it can provide, and even then, it will still have limitations if you do want it to handle all customer requests. Virtual agents excel at answering common questions, such as those covered in FAQs, but they struggle with more complicated problems, which is why a human advisor should never be too far away. IBM reported that their virtual agent technology achieved a 95% accuracy rate in providing correct answers to customer queries.


How to choose the right virtual agent for your contact center?

Some essential capabilities and features of a strong virtual agent include:

Omnichannel access: Your customers should be able to contact your virtual agent through any preferred channel, including SMS, social media, messaging apps, websites, mobile apps, and messaging services.

Conversational intelligence: Your virtual assistant should be able to identify gaps in user-initiated conversations, ask the appropriate questions to provide any context that is missing, and present a comprehensive case outline to the following agent in line.

Automation: When it comes to automation, be on the lookout for features like proactive triggered messaging, intelligent hand-off, auto-assignment, auto-fetching of knowledge base articles, and auto-fetching of knowledge base articles.

Integration: To effectively funnel leads to your sales reps, your virtual agent must seamlessly integrate with your CRM or Lead management systems. Integrating with your call center solution will help your virtual agent to initiate a phone call and connect the sales rep to the client. It should also integrate with messaging services like WhatsApp and Messenger so that users can continue a conversation on their preferred platforms.


Benefits of Virtual Agent in a contact center

With the expertise of human agents when combined with the automation of virtual agents, companies can deliver the best possible customer support. Virtual agents can enhance the customer experience by handling common inquiries more quickly and effectively than their human counterparts by working in tandem with human agents. Because technology will handle routine chores, human agents will have more time to concentrate on complex consumer issues.

1. Automates routine work

Order tracking, cancellation, work status, and balance queries are all examples of repetitive tasks that can be done by a virtual agent. As a result, the response time is increased and agents have more time to concentrate on inquiries that call for human assistance.

2. Self-service and support 24/7

Using a virtual agent has the crucial advantage of providing round-the-clock service. Businesses that operate in various nations need this 24/7 support and multilingual self-help given by a virtual agent. Since hiring agents in every region to deliver top-notch customer care is not practical.

3. Decreased wait times and resolution times

It refers to the period between receiving the initial query and issue resolution. Since virtual agents can handle a large number of requests at once, there are no long waiting hours. They can also automatically retrieve data from databases to respond to client inquiries right away.

4. Continuous learning and customer insights 

Every time a customer approaches a virtual agent, you receive another important piece of information. Your virtual agents can gather data on the most frequent inquiries and issues, making it easy to train the system to handle future inquiries. Also repeated concerns from the same client or similar concerns from many clients provide actionable insights and better the customer experience.

5. Enhanced Revenue

Through automatic upselling, cross-selling, and client retention, a good virtual agent can also enhance revenue for the organization. A Virtual Agent can view a customer's purchasing or interaction history by accessing databases for billing, sales, or other customer-related information. It can track when a consumer last made a purchase from the business and recommend further goods and services that they might find valuable.

6. Quick Response & Improved Productivity

Even when you're not at your desk, using a virtual agent allows you to stay in touch with your clients and give them prompt service. It helps you save a lot of time and lighten the strain on your live agents. They can use this time to deal with tricky problems. An efficient work process is made possible by a virtual agent, who increases staff productivity.

Call Center Software


The majority of contact centers struggle to provide 24/7 customer service without overworking their live agents and incurring excessive contact center costs. The next-generation customer service platform from C-Zentrix was created specifically to support and complement your live agents with knowledgeable virtual agents who can handle cases whenever and wherever they are. Our virtual agents can reduce support costs and increase the productivity of your agents with features like: 

- Smarter call analytics automation to understand language switches, grasp user intent, and cues, and retain context across interactions. This is accomplished by combining the best AI in the industry with unified customer experience management.

- Integration with call center software enables users to seamlessly switch between chat (with a virtual agent) to phone call (with a live agent) for quicker resolutions.

- Support for multiple channels, so all your agents can handle customers and conversations from all geographies.

- Integration with Knowledge Base software to help users self-resolve routine questions or gain additional knowledge — without waiting on hold for live assistance.

At C-Zentrix we believe in human-in-loop solutions but virtual agents or so-called digital workers are becoming an integral part of the customer engagement team be it sales or support.


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