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What is a Virtual Agent and How Does it Work?

Virtual agents are essentially digital replicas of human resources agents and can perform many of the same tasks up to an equal or higher standard. They operate using computer programming and in advanced cases, artificial intelligence. As the technology sphere envelopes the business world, incorporating virtual agents into your business practices may be a strategic move for ensuring your company’s success.

What is a Virtual Agent? 

Virtual agents are bots that utilize computer programming to communicate with humans like living human resource agents do. They can take many different forms. For example, virtual agents can be programmed to have real voices and speak on the phone with inquiring customers. Or, they can be chatbot virtual assistants waiting to answer texts and other types of messages from humans. They can even respond to social media accounts. 

The goal of an intelligent virtual agent is to replace monotonous human resource work within your organization. Jobs like call-center agents and invoice filters generally do not bring in revenue. Until now, they have been necessary evils for ensuring smooth operations and maintaining customer relationships. 

By adopting virtual agents, you can have computer software perform the job that you once needed payroll employees to do. Then, you can reallocate your human employees and company resources towards more helpful tasks and positions. Your business will become more efficient, saving you money and allowing you to focus on growth. 

How Do Virtual Agents Work?

Virtual agents come in both simple and complex variations. Simple agents can be preprogrammed to say the same exact thing in identical sequence when they engage in conversation. Alternatively, more complex variations use artificial intelligence and advanced programming to converse as a human would. Dasha AI specializes in the latter option. 

Dasha defines its product as an event-driven declarative programming language used to design complex real-world conversations that pass a limited Turing test. What this boils down to is a program that enables you to build a robot human resources agent that can speak to your customers how you would like it to. Dasha AI’s programming can run on any device that has access to the internet and a microphone or speaker.

Agents can take any form that fits with your business model. The two umbrella options are voice agent and text agent. Voice agents communicate verbally through channels such as cellular devices and intercom. Text agents can communicate via smartphone messaging platforms, social media, website chatboxes, and other similar chat windows. They can handle a wide variety of tasks for you, ranging from filing invoices and scheduling appointments to answering customer questions and ordering pizza for them! 

Virtual Agent Benefits 

As mentioned above, one of the largest benefits of incorporating intelligent virtual agents into your business model is their ability to help you save resources. Employee payroll eats away at your bottom line without increasing your revenue. Until now, having customer-facing human resource representatives has been necessary anyway though, as customer service is one of the most important business features for many organizations, especially in Western societies. Thanks to virtual agents though, you can have computer programming do your customer-facing work for you, allowing you to reallocate your human resources to revenue-generating operations. 

There are many other massive benefits of adopting the use of AI-powered intelligent virtual agents, including but not limited to: 

  • Having agents that are capable of letting the customer lead the conversation; 

  • Ensuring that customers and clients are always treated with respect; 

  • Generating a high-tech brand image in your target market’s mind; 

  • Enabling you to offer 24/7 customer support; 

  • Decreasing communication waiting queue times; 

  • And more! 

Sure, adopting virtual agents comes with a bit of an up-front cost. However, it is an initial investment that will end up paying for itself. The money you save by using virtual agents will likely end up increasing your bottom line. It is a win-win situation. 

Examples of Virtual Agents

Virtual agents can perform just about any task that human resource agents in your organization perform. For example, Dasha AI services can be used to create virtual receptionists, self-service platforms, perform intakes, and more. The code you will end up utilizing to program your virtual agent will vary depending on your unique business needs. 

There are two main categories that virtual agent tasks fall into—marketing and customer service. The first prioritizes selling your products and services to your target market. And, the second prioritize making sure that your customers are happy with your products and services. 

Virtual Agent for Marketing Automation

Have you received calls that sound like an emotionless robot trying to sell you products with a breathless rant? Odds are, you hung up immediately. Artificially intelligent agents can automate marketing tasks in a way that adds a human touch to cold calls. By doing so, target market members are less likely to hang up immediately, and actually, listen to what the agents have to say. Furthermore, artificial intelligence enables agents to engage in authentic communication. So, if members of your target audience have questions for the agent that calls them, the agent can respond. 

Virtual Agents for Customer Service

Client relationships do not end at the point of sale. Rather, that is when they get serious! Therefore, your customers must have an easy way of reaching you if they have questions or complaints. Virtual agents can be the ones waiting by the phone so that your busy employees do not have to. In either text or voice channels, they can conversate with customers, answering their questions and meeting their demands quickly and politely on the platform and at the time of the customer’s choosing. Your customer will have an amazing service experience, increasing their perception of your brand and the odds that they purchase from you again. 

How to Use Virtual Agents?

Incorporating Dasha AI’s virtual agents into your organization does not require any computer science or programming expertise. In Dasha AI’s case, they have already done all the heavy lifting, that way you do not have to! Their codes come ready to begin personalizing. Integrating them into your business can be done in three steps: (1) setting up your agent; (2) training your agent; and (3) testing your agent. 

Set Up a Virtual Agent

First, you will need to make a free Dasha account. Then, after you obtain your agent code, you will be able to download it onto an organization device. Codes will vary depending on what line of business you are in. It is helpful if you are a developer, however, as previously mentioned, it is not necessary. Then, you can begin working on programming your agent to say what you want it to when customer-facing, either via text or audio. 

Train a Virtual Agent

In the same way that you can improve your communication with a romantic partner, or learn the most effective way to joke with a new friend, virtual agents can get better at speaking to your customers! By using and tweaking your program, you can mold the way that it performs for you. When your agent does something good, you can reward it, much like you would an employee. This progress is called validation. Through positive reinforcement, you will create the ultimate helpful virtual agent. 

Test a Virtual Agent

The last step in incorporating an intelligent virtual agent into your organization is to test it. You want to be confident that your agent is going to treat your expectations well and match the high standards of your business practices. Testing can be performed in-house by your own employees or by a third party. It is done simply by running your agent’s program over and over again, having a variety of conversations repeatedly. It is also helpful to test your agent with scenarios that it has not encountered before to see how it would respond. Once you are confident in your agent’s abilities, you can let it go live on your website or in your call center and monitor its performance. You are likely to be impressed! 

Advanced technology is here to stay. Whether you like it or not, your business will need to adopt it to survive today’s competitive market. There is a reason that all the Fortune 500 companies are implementing virtual agents to perform their monotonous tasks; it is an efficient and wise business decision. Do not try to reinvent the wheel here. Test out Dasha’s virtual agent programming today, and thank yourself tomorrow. 

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