Aivo Brings AgentBot Virtual Assistant to the U.S. Market

I recently had an opportunity to learn more about Aivo, the makers of the AgentBot virtual assistant technology. Aivo is based in Argentina and has a broad customer base in Latin America. The company is expanding into North America, having just opened an office in New York City and planning an office in San Francisco.

I spoke with Martin Frascaroli, Founder and CEO of Aivo. Frascaroli answered my questions about the company and how their technology works. He also shared his thoughts on the vision of the company and the value their product offers to clients and their customers.

Aivo’s AgentBot operates atop Aivo’s own natural language processing technology. AgentBot can understand customer questions and intent and deliver the most appropriate response based on the information available in its knowledge repository. But Aivo doesn’t strive to make AgentBot an exceptional conversationalist or a cognitive genius. According to Frascaroli, Aivo is all about providing an engaging and satisfying self-service experience for the customer.

AgentBotFor the client, AgentBot is designed for ease of both the initial set up and continued operation. In fact, Frascaroli made a point of stating that Aivo doesn’t want the client to have to depend on support services. The AgentBot intelligent assistant technology is straightforward to implement and there are monitoring and analytics tools that help the client continuously improve the system.

I asked Frascaroli to describe the typical client implementation. After a kickoff phase where the goals and scope of the project are set, the client can use AgentBot’s tools to begin creating their question and answer database. AgentBot offers interfaces to other critical customer support tools, such as live chat and ticketing systems. Once AgentBot is up and running, the client can leverage analytical insights to identify missing answers and make the agent smarter.

Though most of Aivo’s customers are large companies, Frascaroli says that they have pricing models that can fit the more limited budgets of smaller companies. Aivo enjoys much current success, but Frascaroli remembers what it’s like to be an entrepreneur with ambitions bigger than the corporate balance sheet and he’s open to finding ways to help growing companies use AgentBot.

I tried out some of the live instances of AgentBot on a few of Aivo’s client websites.  AgentBot comes in many different forms and personalities. The common features of AgentBot include a simple static or animated character and a crisp, effective user interface. I was struck by the versatility of the user interface, which seeks to assist the customer by presenting all kinds of information in a variety of different forms.

Several of the user-facing AgentBot screens I saw were divided into two distinct panels. The left-hand panel contains the agent’s dialogue box, where users communicate with AgentBot by typing questions into a text box. Answers are displayed on the text box side and answers can contain links to website pages. Each AgentBot answer offers a way for the user to rate whether it was helpful or not.

The right-side panel typically starts out by displaying frequently asked questions with links to the answers. But this right-hand panel can transform itself into a versatile self-service platform, offering the customer all types of information. I saw an interesting example of this variety on the Galicia Bank website. The AgentBot for Galicia Bank answers lots of questions about banking, bank accounts, and credit cards using plain text. But when I asked a specific question about opening a credit card account, AgentBot popped up a short, animated video in the right-hand panel which walked me through the basics of credit cards.

Luigi, the AgentBot on the Fiat Argentina site, knows everything about Fiat models, prices, warranties, the history of Fiat, and more. When I asked Luigi about specific Fiat models, it used the right-hand panel to launch a very handy graphical comparison of the Fiat line-up. I could go straight to the panel to easily compare any two Fiat car models and get all the specifications on each one.

Aivo’s AgentBot is offering an easy-to-use and compelling self-service experience to customers in Latin America. In speaking with Frascaroli, it’s clear to see how committed the Aivo team is to expand AgentBot’s reach into North America, where it can continue to help customers find solutions on their own terms.

Aivo Virtual Agents on Facebook

LuigiI recently had an opportunity to try out several of Aivo’s virtual agents on Facebook. Aivo is a company offering virtual agent technology for the customer support segment. They call their product AgentBot and the technology is available on multiple channels, including social media platforms. Two AgentBots are available to chat with from Aivo’s Facebook page.

One of the virtual agents is Luigi, a virtual spokesperson for the Fiat brand in Argentina. I like how Luigi is available as an app from the Aivo page. Just click on the app and a special page appears within Facebook with an image of Luigi, a list of frequently asked questions, and a dialogue box that invites you to ask about Fiat cars and services in Argentina. The fact that you can chat with the agent without leaving Facebook is a big plus. You can converse with Luigi in Spanish. My Spanish is pretty nonexistent, but I was impressed with Luigi’s ability to understand and respond to my questions. I asked Luigi how much a Fiat costs. I expected some sort of vague response. Instead, Luigi asked me to select from a list of Fiat models. Once I’d selected the model, I was presented with an image of the car and a base price. I also got a list of options and other features.

Another very social feature of the Luigi Agentbot app is the user’s ability to rate each of the agent’s responses with a thumbs up or thumbs down. If you choose a thumbs down, you can be more precise about the reason for the down vote. All of this information is presumably funneled back into the database to help make Luigi smarter over time.

Sofia is another AgentBot representing Telefonica. She’s available to speak with from the Telefonica Facebook page. Her chat interface is also embedded within Facebook so that the user doesn’t have to exit the Facebook landscape to engage in a conversation. I started a chat session with Sofia, but my Spanish was so lame that she quickly realized I needed special attention. She seemed to try to refer me to a live chat support agent.  She also presented me with a form that I could fill out in order to get a call back from a customer service rep.

Virtual agents that can engage with customers from within the social channels they frequent can be very compelling. These Aivo AgentBots are a good example of virtual agents designed for social spaces.