by: Alex Ough
As chat bots become popular, many companies currently use them to improve the customer experience. We also see lots of movement for AR (Augmented Reality) / VR (Virtual Reality) technologies, and the development of those technologies has become much easier thanks to various toolkits. I decided to give it a try and developed a virtual concierge to support customer requests related to IT service tickets as a PoC project. Since Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS) is an AWS Managed Service Provider, I used Amazon Sumerian, which is the AWS service for AR and VR. There are lots of documents and video tutorials to get you started. I added those references along with a short video demonstration of this application at the end of this blog.
Typically, customers need to login to a customer portal or call the service center to report new incidents or handle existing tickets in detail. Those interfaces can support customer requests without any major issues, but sometimes it costs customers a lot of time even if they want to just leave a comment or contact an engineer. For example, when customers call a service center to discuss open tickets, they have to wait on hold until the call center representatives connect them with the right engineers, which can be time consuming.
A virtual concierge can enhance the customer experience by saving the customer’s time so they don’t have to wait for their requests to be processed. The customer just lets the agent know what they want, and the agent will automatically start processing the request and reply back to the customer with a telephone call or email outlining the detailed information pertaining to the processed requests. In my PoC, the concierge provided two different scenarios with existing tickets, which are leaving a comment to be added to the ticket and contacting an engineer to discuss ongoing tickets. You can also create a new ticket for a new incident.
This is the landing screen of the virtual concierge PoC. Once the user identity is verified, the screen displays a list of existing tickets along with a menu to create a new ticket. Here we have two menu items for existing tickets and one menu item for a new ticket. The first scenario occurs when a customer just wants to leave a comment in an existing ticket. To start with this scenario, choose the existing ticket to proceed. We’ll choose the first ticket, “RITM123456,” which is the first menu item on the screen.
Once the ticket item is selected, the next screen displays two different actions the customer can choose to proceed. The first one is to ask a corresponding engineer to contact the customer regarding the selected ticket. The next one is used when the customer just wants to add a comment related to the selected ticket. Let’s proceed with the first menu, “CONTACT ENGINEER.”
The next screen asks you to confirm if the current selection is correct. Press either “YES” or “NO” depending on the situation. Let’s press the “OK” button because the selection is correct.
As you can see, the screen displays the selected ticket number and a summary of the customer’s request, which shows that the corresponding engineer will contact the customer with the customer’s registered telephone number.
Moving on to the second scenario, let’s go back to the landing screen by clicking the restart button .
On the landing screen, choose the second ticket, “INC123456” and the “LEAVE COMMENT” menu on the next screen. This occurs when customers want to leave a comment related to the selected ticket or to the ticket history without waiting until the request is complete.
For the customer’s convenience, the comment can be recorded or typed. To start recording, simply press the “Start Recording” button. The recording will be transcribed as text if spoken so that the customers can verify what is transcribed. If necessary, the comment can be re-recorded by pressing the “Start Recording” button again after pressing “Stop Recording” button, and the transcribed text can be edited as needed.
Once the transcribed text is verified, press the “Submit” button to send, which goes to the next screen to ask the user to confirm the current selection. Press “OK” to confirm and the screen will display the selected ticket number and the transcribed text of the recording. The virtual agent confirms that the recorded comment will be added to the selected ticket’s history.
The last scenario is to create a new ticket. By pressing the third button that says “TICKET CREATE” in the landing screen, the screen with the recording button will be displayed like the one in the second scenario. Once the recording is complete, pressing the “Submit” button will lead to the confirmation screen and eventually to the summary screen that shows a new ticket will be created with the transcribed request after the “OK” button is pressed in the confirmation screen.
These are the features a virtual concierge can provide. Another cool thing is that customers can use this application in their mobile devices, which provides more flexibility. The recording and transcribing features are more helpful when customers interact with this application while mobile.
The next feature I’d like to add is Face Recognition. Instead of asking customers to authenticate with ordinary login info, this application can identify a customer using face recognition through the camera in their laptops or mobile devices, which can enhance the user experience.