“[Faced with a 20th Century Computer]
Scotty: Computer! Computer?
[He’s handed a mouse, and he speaks into it]
Scotty: Hello, computer.
Dr. Nichols: Just use the keyboard.
Scotty: Keyboard. How quaint.”
—From the 1986 movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
In another example of Life imitating Art, we’re on the verge of literally eliminating the computer mouse and keyboard. I might not even be necessary in a few years!
Here’s the reality: More and more transactions today are done on mobile devices. Texting, although quaint, is not safe when you’re driving or walking and it’s slow in comparison to our voice. Most technology innovations are driven by “FASTER RESPONSE TIMES”. Once government regulation clears the way, internet speeds are likely to explode in the next few years, allowing voice recognition software and AVATAR technology to make giant leaps forward. The applications out there today are impressive but very crude compared to what will be available by the end of this decade.
In 2007, my company, Access Receivables (along with InterProse Corporation) deployed the first ever AVATAR-based application for a virtual agent. It’s intelligent and fun. It can process credit card and ACH payments, make sales, improve customer service, eliminate wait times on websites and keep you from searching for “Contact Us” pages.
The results of our virtual agent have been impressive: We increased our web payments five-fold. Now, we’re able to resolve a customers’ account without having to utilize a live agent. And now the customer even enjoys handling a delinquent account 24/7/365 because they don’t have to call us. Also, many of these resolutions are done during off hours. But most important of all, because of the novelty & interest in the AVATAR (and the increased efficiency), the average customer stays on the site just 7 minutes—and over 65% of them pay their bill. This is a much higher response rate than typical websites.
This technology is only in its beginning stages but just think of all the time and hassle and billable hours an AVATAR could save your company. I guarantee you’ll see the benefits.
(To view an example of a virtual agent, go to http://access-receivables.com/virtual-agent-services/).