Virtual Agent Technology Gains Ground in Kiosks for Travel

by Jessica Cody, Marketing Manager

With the buzz this year around mobile and social deployment of Virtual Agents, it has become quite clear that Virtual Agent technology now goes way beyond web.   Now, yet another channel is gaining ground- the kiosk.  The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a public benefit corporation responsible for public transportation in New York, has announced plans to install Kiosk-based Virtual Assistants throughout their 468-station subway system.  This channel will serve as particularly useful for subway travelers who may be unfamiliar with the area or the subway system and unable to access directions easily.  While Smartphones can be a great resource for looking up directions on the go, cell phone service is typically unavailable underground, making the kiosk a perfect channel for subway travelers.

This development highlights the benefits of Virtual Agent technology for the travel industry, particularly rail and air travel.  There are many details involved in planning a journey that can require customer support, including directions, departure and arrival times and accommodations.  People like to have one go-to resource to answer all of these questions and pull together all of the nre ask lisa screenshot 20120604aspects of their trip.  The travel sector is becoming a growing industry for Virtual Agents, with companies such as National Rail Enquiries, Continental Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Expedia putting the technology to use on their websites.

National Rail Enquiries has seen much success in the area of rail travel with Ask Lisa, their Virtual Agent developed by Creative Virtualand their partner The Virtual Zone.  The National Rail Enquiries website is a busy one, fielding an average of 1.3 million journey enquiries every day, either through their contact centers or self-service channels.  So it is no surprise that Lisa answers an average of 9,000 questions every day.  She is able to assist users in planning rail journeys throughout the UK, and is updated every two minutes with real-time travel information.  She is also now available as an app integrated into the company’s Facebook page.

Creative Virtual and The Virtual Zone have also collaborated to develop Ask Sarah for First Great Western, a company that operates high-speed train service in the UK.  By having the Virtual Agent available to answer questions, First Great Western delivers on their vision of “putting customers first by exceeding your expectations of journeys by train.”  Ask Sarah is available 24/7 to assist customers with issues such as buying tickets, service delays and travel permits.

Thanks to Virtual Agent technology, and its ability to exist where the customer is at any given moment, travelers can anticipate a more successful, stress-free arrival to their destination.

Creative Virtual is an established provider of Virtual Agents (VAs) with over 40 deployments of our V-Person™ product. Our clients include HSBC, Verizon, CA Technologies, E*TRADE, Lloyds Banking Group, O2 and Virgin Media. Our V-Person technology functions as a virtual employee, trained as an expert in all necessary aspects of the company, so website users can be provided with the information they need, available 24/7 when they need it. Delivering accuracy of over 90%, and call deflection of up to 50%, V-Person is one of the most compelling self-service products in the world today. Our solution is used for the purposes of customer support, sales, marketing and call center assistance, and streamlines the workflow of self-service information across Mobile, Web, and Social Media channels.