3 Characteristics of Highly Effective Enterprise Intelligent Assistants

As we’ve seen recently, companies are using enterprise intelligent assistants (intelligent agents) to gain significant business value. Some companies have implemented intelligent assistants to drive down call center costs, while still offering high quality customer support. Other companies are using innovative, voice-enabled assistants to attract new customers and appeal to a younger demographic. There are also organizations that offer intelligent assistants on their websites and other channels to give customers a self-service option that’s convenient to use and always available. Some companies combine all of these strategies.

RatingsWhat are the characteristics of an effective intelligent assistant? This is a question that I’ve put quite a bit of thought into as I evaluate various technologies and vendors for this blog.

Here are some of the categories and associated traits of highly effective intelligent assistants / virtual agents.

Customer Experience

Customer experience is all about how easy and intuitive the intelligent assistant is to interact with, how well it lives up to the user’s expectations, and how satisfying the overall experience is.

Intelligent assistants offer an excellent customer experience if they:

  • Are easy to interact with
  • Consistently understand the customer’s intent
  • Provide useful responses to customer questions
  • Provide responses that are easy to find and interpret
  • Are engaging and fun to interact with

User Interface

The User interface category focuses on the design and usability of the frontend through which the user interacts with the intelligent assistant. This may be a combination of visual interface and voice interface.

Highly effective intelligent agent user interfaces:

  • Are intuitive to interact with
  • Make it quick and painless for the user to ask questions
  • Present answers in a way that is quick and easy to understand and intepret
  • Are aesthetically pleasing


Intelligent assistants need to be versatile and multifaceted to be truly effective. The best intelligent agents are:

  • Capable of performing multiple services
  • Able to answer a very broad range of questions
  • Able to perform transactions for the customer (and not just respond to inquiries)

In the next blog post, I’ll write about three additional characteristics that can help intelligent assistants excel at what they do.

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