At this point, chatbots have become a pretty common standard for customer service across multiple industries. And of course, Business VoIP is no outlier at all.
We've seen numerous providers increase their offerings to include virtual chat bots as a self-service solution for customers and potential prospects. But we've generally seen these chatbots being offered to organizations as a service to provide their end users.
What about a Business VoIP provider that instead integrates a bot to help your business take better control of your service? Well, that's exactly what Vonage Business has done, with the recent introduction of their new virtual assistant, Vee.
Say Hello to Vee
While still in Beta, Vonage has just announced the release of what they are calling "the first virtual customer assistant integrated with a cloud-based unified communication solution."
Known as Vee, this chatbot is provided to Vonage customers, not as a solution to embed in their own website, but instead as a personal assistant that enables users to take full control over their Vonage Business Cloud service.According to their press release, "Vee can be used by both end users and account administrators that have the [Vonage Business Cloud] mobile app, which comes standard with the VBC service." So essentially, if you are a Vonage Business Cloud end user, you will have direct access to your new virtual personal assistant.
What Can Vee Do?
Now that's the really important question. The concept is cool and all, but without a useful set of features and functions, what's the point; some may seem this as more of a gimmick than a useful feature. Well, Vonage thought about that of course, and made sure that Vee comes packed with a host of useful functions.
With the core concept behind Vee being to provide users with the most control over their Vonage Business Cloud service, the chatbot comes packed with the capability to:
- Set up and Manage accounts
- Set up and manage Desk Phones
- Adding features like Group Call or Virtual Receptionist to your Vonage service
- Provide guides and instructions on how to use Vonage features like Call Recording
- Use natural language commands to ask Vee questions
- Receive assistance in troubleshooting issues in real time
- Live chat with Vee to receive suggestions of "a variety of relevant options to meet a customer's needs based on the context of the questions asked."
This makes Vee a fairly powerful virtual assistant, capable of assisting end users of Vonage's Business Cloud in a multitude of ways, beyond superficial voice commands.
Why a Personal Assistant?
Well, that's a bit of an interesting question really. Vonage has been expanding their solutions recently into entirely new paradigms, including their inclusion of Amazon's Chime service with their new Business Cloud offering.
According to Ron Mayaan, Vice President of Product Management for Vonage, the provider purpose-built Vee to complement "Vonage Business Cloud's unique and robust set of features and functionality."
He continued to explain:
"With Vee, we are enhancing the customer journey to empower businesses to more easily take charge of the vast capabilities their Vonage service provides, and to easily access customer support when they have questions or need guidance in managing their accounts. And, for customers who prefer a more personal touch, Vonage's 24/7 customer care team is always available to answer questions and lend a helping hand."
What would be really interesting to see would be if Vonage could expand Vee even further, and possibly include greater functionality and interaction with Vonage services.
For example, instead of explaining a user how to record a call, maybe add a voice command that enables Vee to start or stop call recording. Or even simpler, just like Cisco has done, enable Vee to start, schedule, and end meetings with simple voice commands.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, this is a pretty interesting move from Vonage. We've seen chatbots become more and more prevalent within the last year or so, and personal assistants seem to be the next evolution of these virtual companions. It makes sense that providers searching for new ways to differentiate their solutions would land on such a feature.
Like I stated above, what would be really interesting to see is Vonage open up Vee to include even more functionality and commands, like simple meetings controls, or even the ability to place calls directly through Vee. Their press release announcing Vee does state that the chatbot is actually still within its Beta stages, so there is absolutely room to see the assistant have its functionality expanded in the near future.