Virtual Agent Chat Blogger and Industry Analyst, Amy Stapleton, recently wrote about Kyla on the Connect for Health Colorado health insurance exchange. Read the full post.
What we appreciate about her review and post is that she gave it a "test drive" and put herself in the shoes of the end user. She immersed herself in the process and discovered the following:
CodeBaby avatars avoid the uncanny valley.
Amy demonstrates an excellent understanding of the Uncanny Valley. Descending into the valley occurs when the robot -- or in this case the avatar -- is too human looking. The likeness seems "strange" to a human being and is judged by the standards of a “human doing a terrible job at acting like a normal person.” Amy notes that the animation of Kyla doesn't "mimic a human" enough to be "creepy" and is actually "pleasant." We wholeheartedly agree and in fact incorporate these standards into the R&D of our avatars:
- Larger eyes to elicit a stronger emotional connection and increase likeability.
- Subject matter conveys appearance, i.e. if they’re an “expert,” they look like a librarian, researcher, or professor, etc.
- Attire isn't too trendy, but remains professional unless the circumstance calls for it.
- The avatar looks the way the viewer expects them to look. This minimizes the “Adjustment of Expectations.”
This is a different kind of self-service virtual assistant experience.
Apart from appearance, the functionality of the CodeBaby virtual assistant is what sets apart this experience from other online assistants. Amy writes that, despite no text-based interface, which at first one might think as constraining, she felt it "works quite well."
Although, CodeBaby can create both types of interfaces, two-way text interaction as well as speech recognition, in this design Kyla was created to be a guide that walks users through part of the process. She answers many questions but gives customers control of their path. Because we mapped all the potential moments of truth and decision pathways, we anticipated where customers may need more assistance and provided additional menu options. Either way, the customer is better prepared for the process and has most if not all their key questions answered.
Human voice and tone turn a chatbot into a human-like guide.
Amy nails this perfectly. Voice and tone lend credibility to the customer experience. CodeBaby avatars and intelligent virtual assistants are powered by a human voice, just like in the best animated films. We wouldn't be able to deliver the same emotional engagement and likeability with today's artificial voices.
Research shows that voice influences credibility and is usually judged by others at a sub-conscience level. Technology is rapidly advancing in this field to create human sounding, artificially made voices, and eventually, we'll be able to incorporate this blend of technology to create an unlimited speech experience. Until then, there is no substitute for the real thing.
To get the full scoop on how CodeBaby Intelligent Virtual assistants can help you, read our 10 Facts eBook: