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Question: What should we include in a business case to obtain an IVA solution?


Intelligent virtual agents (IVAs), which provide increasingly sophisticated customer-facing self-service capabilities, deliver quantitative and qualitative benefits to organizations, both of which have a business value. As most chief financial officers (CFOs) only accept measurable metrics in a business case, use them when developing your financial return on investment (ROI) model. (However, keep in mind that some of the qualitative benefits, such as improving agent engagement and enhancing the brand, may be substantial, even if difficult to quantify.) Here are some of the categories to use when building a business case to replace or upgrade your existing self-service solution or when buying your first one:

  1. Increase in percentage of calls fully handled (displaced) by the IVA 
  2. Number of digital interactions (chats, short message service (SMS), messages, etc.) off-loaded to the self-service solution
  3. Reduction in average handle time of voice- and text-based interactions due to the IVA handling a portion of the conversation, such as customer verification and authentication
  4. Reduction in communication costs due to the shorter time to resolve customer inquiries
  5. Reduction in the number of follow-up interactions on the same topic
  6. Reduction in agent attrition

Select and quantify 3 or 4 of the categories that are most significant and have the largest financial benefit for your organization. While the guidelines vary by company, most CFOs prefer to see a payback in no more than 9 to 12 months.