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New virtual-agent software uses AI to help users

Rapid Adapt, from VirtuOz, aims to help virtual-agent technology learn and improve on the fly, and in the process, make each new customer's experience better than the last.

If you've ever tried to conduct a customer service transaction through one of the automated virtual agents many companies have deployed, you no doubt have had trouble being understood. But a new technology is applying artificial intelligence to the problem in the hopes that agents capable of adapting as they go will make a big difference in consumer satisfaction.

The new technology, from San Francisco's VirtuOz, one of the leading developers of white-label virtual-agent software, is called Rapid Adapt, and it is designed as an adaptive system that can learn from each customer interaction.

Until now, much of the iterative improvements that enterprise customers could hope for from VirtuOz's technology had to be manually applied. But with Rapid Adapt, the company is aiming to give its clients tools that can essentially train themselves based on interactions with customers over the phone.

As a result, the company said Friday, it can now take just hours to apply new learning instead of the weeks that were required in the past.

Rapid Adapt is based on a feature called AutoLearn, VirtuOz said, which automatically analyzes conversations between customers on the phone and the virtual agent. The goal is to find those customers' true intent, and then offer human administrators one of a small number of choices for how to proceed, based on the phone customer's needs and requests.

As it goes through more and more interactions, VirtuOz said, a virtual agent deployed with Rapid Adapt technology learns how it should respond to an increasing number of user questions or requests, and it fine-tunes its ability to interpret what those users want. As a result, the company said, each time a human customer interacts with one of the virtual agents, the digital system is making the experience better for the next person.

Agent solution
VirtuOz is taking its AutoLearn technology and applying it specifically to a new application known as Voice of the Customer. This system is designed not just to analyze conversations for customers' true needs, but also to look for trends in what customers are asking for in a bid to understand what types of issues are becoming more or less prevalent among customers.

VirtuOz, which holds as clients companies such as eBay, H&R Block, and L'Oreal, hopes to roll out the new version of its technology sometime this summer.