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Virtual agent functionality gives online enquiries and transactions a friendly helpful face

Alfie the Parrot caused chuckles all round at a recent seminar held by xstreammedia at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Alfie is the virtual agent designed by xstreammedia to demonstrate its Live Assistance module within its eCRM solution, XeRM. Tony Russell, new media and marketing director at xstreammedia used Alfie to demonstrate how virtual agents can be used to communicate with visitors to web sites giving a sense of interaction and immediacy.

The animated character, in this case Alfie the Parrot, can take any form and would typically be used to increase branding on a web site. The character sits on the users screen and is able to help in a variety of ways. It can welcome the customer to the site, keep the customer up to date with how their call enquiry is progressing with the live agents at the call centre, give feedback on the status of the customer’s order or enquiry, and offer help and advice on using the web site. The character is able to talk to the customer if they have a sound card in their PC, otherwise its words are generated in speech bubbles.

This functionality, which can be tailored to meet the diverse requirements of different web sites, has been developed specifically to provide an integrated link from XeRM to a company’s telephony system. A recent study from Pitney Bowes indicates that customers still prefer to speak to someone on the phone, rather than communicate via a web site. Another survey conducted by Aura Consulting found that many UK-based web sites with a “call me back” button didn’t work. 49% simply didn’t ring and a further 22% only rang back after a delay.

Tony Russell commented, “Both these surveys support what xstreammedia has believed in all along which is that CRM solutions must integrate telephony with all other forms of customer contact. Voice is still the preferred method of communication for most people because a telephone call results not only in action but confirmation that something is being done. It is all too easy for companies to ignore email or give it lower priority resulting in poor customer satisfaction because agents are too busy to respond.”

He continued, “xstreammedia plans to add Artificial Intelligence functionality to XeRM in the near future. This means that call centres will need fewer live agents and those remaining will have more quality time to handle complex calls because the virtual agents will be able to handle standard enquiries automatically. If organisations are to encourage web communication it must be as user friendly as possible and that means making it more interactive and responsive to customer needs in a real time environment.”

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Notes to Editors

About xstreammedia

xstreammedia was formed as a result of the merging of four companies with the collective aim of delivering eBusiness solutions that take full advantage of the economies to be gained by the convergence of Voice and Data systems. xstreammedia is focussed on the delivery of cost effective eCRM solutions to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with its flagship product XeRM.

XeRM empowers SMEs by providing multimedia contact centre technologies for the normal workplace at a realistic price. The company specialises in helping organisations through every step of integrating voice and data systems ensuring that they are able to provide fast, effective customer service.

For more information visit: www.xstreammedia.co.uk

Editors Contacts

Tony Russell

xstreammedia

Tel: 01784 885200

email: tony.russell@xstream-media.co.uk

Andreina West/Mary Phillips

PR Artistry Ltd

Tel: 01491 636191

email: andreina@pra-ltd.co.uk


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