Virtual Agents Help Businesses Thrive in the “New Normal”

Share this post:

The COVID-19 pandemic has rocketed virtual agent technology adoption into hyperdrive. The pandemic has rewritten the rules of the game in business. Conditions have changed, competition for customers has intensified, while resources have been dwindling due to the sudden downturn. The pandemic has shown that in this new situation, digitalization is no longer a goal, but for many it may be the only means of survival.

According to IBM and, companies need to rethink, not just restart their operations. Virtual agent technology-VAT’s popularity is surging because of the technology’s seeming ability to do everything: better serve customers, enhance employee experience, reduce costs, and increase revenue.

Far beyond experimentation Virtual agent technology (VAT) is having its moment. For emergency situations, when speed and simplicity are mission critical, out-of-the-box implementations can go live in a matter of hours. However, companies that thoughtfully design, develop, and deploy VAT have the potential to unlock even more value for their organizations and their users, be they customers, employees, or human agents.

99% of study respondents report reduction in cost per contact because of using virtual agent technology (VAT).

A recent Forrester Consulting study ( estimated that a large organization that implements VAT can achieve $5.50 cost savings per contained conversation. The analysis reveals an average containment rate of 64% with a 38 percentage-point swing from highest to lowest. 94% of VAT Leaders have already achieved or exceeded their business case.

Satisfaction scores increase.  Some organizations fear VAT could cause significant decreases in customer and employee satisfaction. However, due to the study average improvements of 8 and 7 percentage points in customer and agent satisfaction, respectively. Average human agent handle time dropped by 12%. VAT Leaders achieve even more: average improvements of 12 and 9 percentage points in customer and agent satisfaction and a 15% reduction in handle time. Leaders implemented early, integrated VAT with backend systems, and trained it on high volumes of contacts.

The majority of Croatian organization recognized the value of technology. For example, since 2018 students at Zagreb school of Economics and Management can resolve their inquiries 24/7 from wherever they are located and within few seconds. Smarty responds to a wide range of general student inquiries, such as school curriculum, mentoring programs, scholarship, carrier opportunities and other in Croatian and English language. ZSEM is continuously working on conversation experience and to serve their users with virtual agent technology.

Virtual agent technology refers to the deployment of automation that uses a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies or capabilities like machine learning, natural language processing, natural language generation, sentiment analysis, language translation, speech-to-text, robotic process automation (RPA), and optical character recognition (OCR) to automate dialogue, and in some cases backend process steps, to serve end users. – This may or may not take the form of a chatbot. Some chatbots qualify as VAT because they incorporate machine learning as well as natural language processing. – Integrated voice response (IVR) systems only qualify as VAT when they use AI to power a conversational experience and the user is not limited to uttering a set of specific key words.

You can now register for the webinar (will be held in Croatian) where you’ll learn more about these solutions.

More stories
By IGOR PRAVICA on June 23, 2021

Investing in our people, our partners and our locations

June 23, 2021 We have never lived in such an extraordinary age with monumental changes taking place over the last year. The extent of uncertainty and change everyone has dealt with in all aspects of their lives throughout the pandemic is unparalleled globally. I am so proud and continue to be inspired by how IBMers […]

Continue reading

By ibmblogs on June 22, 2021

Fairness and equality in the workplace is, in fact, decreasing. AI can help.

June 22, 2021 Recent studies show that despite all the effort, gender equality in the workplace is not only not advancing, but actually decreasing. This situation has been, indeed, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. A panel discussion with high level representatives from EU institutions, employers and governments from Central and Eastern Europe will address this […]

Continue reading

By ibmblogs on June 16, 2021

Circeo Joins Growing Ecosystem of Partners Supporting the IBM Cloud for Financial Services

Circeo Intends to Use IBM Cloud for Financial Services to Help Customers Accelerate Transactions with Financial Institutions in a Highly-Secured Environment June 16, 2021 Circeo, a European fintech and lending technology provider delivering a cloud-based lending solution for banks and financial services companies, today announced it has joined IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) growing ecosystem of more […]

Continue reading