What Is a Virtual Assistant and Why Is It Important?

The virtual assistant is one of the most important applications of artificial intelligence. With the widespread use of the reliable internet since the 1990s. It has gained increasing importance, and its uses have expanded in many fields.

Users in both B2C and B2B environments increasingly utilize virtual assistants to handle some tasks. Using virtual assistants minimizes overhead costs, exploits support staff time better and enables organizations and companies to provide customer service during hours when live agents aren’t available.

Since we are in DXwand, a company specializing in the field of virtual assistant platforms, we offer you this article that explains deeply what virtual assistant means, its method of work, the services it can provide, and its importance.

Let’s get started.

Virtual assistant, also known as a digital assistant, is a software agent or a platform that can perform tasks and services for an individual and organization based on commands or questions.

Note: Sometimes the term chatbot is used to refer to the virtual assistant as well.

Virtual assistant can be defined as a computer program that reproduces and analyze human dialogue (spoken or written), enabling users to communicate with electronic devices as if they were conversing with a live agent. 

Digital assistants range from simple programs that respond to a single instance to advanced virtual assistants that can learn and improve as they collect and process data to provide higher levels of personalization.

Needs more explanation?

Well!

It is also described as a conversational application that helps in customer service, engagement, and support by replacing or augmenting human support agents with artificial intelligence and other automation techniques that can communicate with end-users via chat.

Some virtual assistants are able to interpret human speech and react via synthesized sounds. Users can utilize virtual assistants to manage basic tasks such as email, prepare lists, and organize calendars using verbal commands.

It is especially required by entrepreneurs and online businesses that need help but don’t want to spend money on more employees. However, many mid-size and small businesses use virtual assistants, especially for specific tasks, such as social media management.

Now, let’s see how it works, and the mechanisms it relies on.

Virtual assistant employs artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) technology to recognize sentence structure, interpret the knowledge, and improve their ability to answer questions.

It determines what the user and customer are saying, instead of relying on a pre-programmed response or outcome designed by a human.

Digital assistant works and interacts via three main methods:

  1. Text, including online chat, especially in an instant messaging application and other applications, short message service (SMS) text, e-mail, or other text-based communication channels. 
  2. Voice, as in some of the most famous virtual assistant examples such as Google Assistant on Google-enabled/Android mobile devices, Amazon Alexa on the Amazon Echo device, and Siri on iPhone.
  3. By taking and uploading images, as in the case of Samsung Bixby on the Samsung Galaxy S8.

Some virtual assistants can be accessible via multiple methods, such as Google Messages app and via voice on Google Home smart speakers.

AI virtual assistant uses natural language processing (NLP) to match user text or voice input to executable commands. Depending on artificial intelligence techniques including machine learning, many virtual assistants continually learn and develop. 

Some of these assistants also have the added ability to do image processing to recognize objects in the image to help the users get better results from the clicked images.Digital assistants can be integrated into many types of platforms, across several means, such as:

  • Into devices like smart speakers.
  • In instant messaging applications on smartphones and via the Web.
  • Built into a mobile operating system (OS), or into a desktop OS.
  • Built into a smartphone independent of the OS.
  • Within instant messaging platforms.
  • Within mobile apps from specific companies and other organizations.
  • In appliances, cars, and wearable technology.

Depending on the previous means and mechanisms, virtual assistants can provide a variety of services in multiple areas. These include: 

  • Complement and/or replace customer service operated by humans. A virtual assistant significantly reduces the workload of employees, especially in customer service centers for example.
  • Conversational commerce in the field of electronic commerce via various means of messaging, including via voice assistants, also live chat on e-commerce Web sites, and live chat on messaging applications such as WhatsApp, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger.
  • A virtual assistant can work with the customer support team of a business to provide 24/7 support to customers. It provides speedy responses, which promotes a customer’s experience.
  • Helping to enable the public to interact with government institutions.
  • Provide information such as weather status, and facts from relevant sources or websites, set alarms, and make to-do lists and shopping lists.
  • In-Car Voice Assistants Interaction, which allows people to get more comfortable and have a wonderful driving experience. For example, with virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa.
  • Make and receive phone calls, and create text messages.
  • Control smart home devices, that use Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or similar technology to control many of the appliances and utilities in homes. 
  • Organize calendars and add events to them.
  • Check flight status, and find hotels or restaurants. 
  • Play music from streaming services, play radio stations, play videos, TV shows, and movies on televisions, and read audiobooks.

After explaining how virtual assistant works and the most prominent services it provides, let us know its importance.

Virtual assistant is of great importance due to its promising potential and its positive contribution to saving time, effort and money, as well as improving the efficiency of organizations and companies.

  • It can contribute to saving a lot of time by automation.
  • It can take appointments, or read the news while the user does something else.
  • It is also possible to ask the virtual assistant to schedule meetings, hence helping to organize time.

For example, when the user expresses the desire of scheduling a break, the virtual assistant will schedule it at a suitable moment for this purpose (for example at a time of the week where the productivity is less), with the additional long-term objective of being able to organize the free time of users, to assure optimal work capacity.

Businesses can benefit from digital assistant to:

  • Increase performance and save costs while enabling customer convenience and providing additional services to customers, internal employees, and partners.
  • Allows companies to respond quickly to various issues across stakeholders while reducing the need for human involvement.
  • Measure, personalize experiences, and be proactively available using virtual assistants, a key differentiator in the digital era.

When businesses rely exclusively on human effort, for instance, it can only provide service for a certain number of people at a time, which limits efficiency and puts a ceiling on growth.

Organizations and companies with manual-effort-intensive processes are compelled to rely on highly strict models to be cost-effective, which means that their proactive and customized outreach potentials are limited.

Furthermore, virtual assistants enable organizations and companies to interact with an enormous number of clients in a personalized way, to be scaled up or down based on current requirements.

One platform of virtual assistant, like DXwand, can provide an almost humanlike service tailored to each individual, even as the virtual assistant is diffused to millions of users or customers at the same time.

As for the virtual assistant service in Arabic content, organizations and companies face significant challenges regarding the use of virtual assistants or platforms that provide virtual customer service when dealing with the Arab audience to provide professional virtual customer service.

There is no single integrated platform that fully supports the Arabic language, and if it exists, it only supports the Standard Arabic language.

Therefore, there was an urgent need for an integrated, innovative alternative in the field of virtual assistants that simulates the Arabic language, which is rich in its countless terms and its multiple accents. 

This is what we offer at DXwand!

We have worked for years to create an exceptional virtual assistant that offers innovative solutions to deal with all the challenges facing virtual assistant users in Arabic content.

  • It enables organizations and businesses to reach a new level of automation, speed and availability by connecting with customers 24/7 on their website, Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or wherever, and never let them feel ignored.
  • Furthermore, it enables organizations and companies to reach the customers they want in the market without worrying about communication barriers. As our conversational AI understands different slang for both Arabic and English.

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