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Virtually Speaking

You Get What You Pay For

Posted by Cleat Grumbly on Mar 1, 2013 12:56:54 PM


As a kid I was taught that you get what you pay for.  This concept seems simple and most people can get their arms around it.  We were often taught that spending a little more money to buy the better product will pay off in the long run.

In the software world, this concept has become easy to say but often hard to prove.  There are many software companies who have over-promised and under-delivered.  These days, companies tend to charge a premium price while delivering cut-rate products and services.  This has created a lot of distrust in the marketplace – particularly in the virtual assistant space.

So how do you determine which intelligent virtual assistant (IVA) company you are going to trust with the creation of your IVA?  This is a big decision for any company.  The IVA represents and supports your brand.  It interacts with tens of thousands of your customers each and every day.  Are you going to trust the cheapest company to build a virtual person that represents your company?  Most people would say “NO WAY” to that question, but then many of those same people go on to buy a cheap IVA and are then disappointed with the business results they get.  “You get what you pay for” is very true when it comes to IVA technology.

There are many different ways to measure IVA technology, but the best approach is to grade them on how conversational their deployed IVAs are and how closely that dialog matches human conversation.  If you want to grade one, sit down and ask it a bunch of questions.  Some should be complex and some should be easy.  An IVA should:

  • Answer a high percentage of your questions
  • Have a personality that supports the brand
  • Ask clarifying questions
  • Use previous questions as context
  • Use account profile information as context
  • Walk you step by step through complex processes

Most IVAs do very few of these things.  At Next IT, our philosophy is that most, or all, of these things are required in order to achieve a very human-like dialog with the user.  Human dialog is comfortable for the user, and if the IVA does a good job of it, the user will use the IVA over and over again and will be satisfied with their experience.  Human-like dialog leads to trust, trust leads to repeated use, repeated use leads to a positive relationship and a positive relationship is the very best way to support your brand while significantly improving your margins.

So, if you are evaluating what an IVA can do for your organization, kick the sales guy out of your office and take a few minutes to sit down and play with some of their end-products.  Most likely, you will find that paying a little more money can get you an IVA that is SIGNIFICANTLY better for your brand and your wallet in the long run.

Topics: Business, Intelligent Virtual Assistants, User experience