Digital People

A Digital Person, Virtual Employee or Digital People is a term used for a human-like character that combines CGI (Computer Generated Images) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) to provide customer service/enquiries and support at scale.

What is a Digital Person?

A Digital Person, Virtual Employee or Digital People combines two technologies, AI and CGI, to create a fully autonomous digital character to handle customer enquiries. In simple terms, it works a bit like a Chatbot, except you can interact in person via video chat.

You simply switch on your camera and microphone and ask your questions – and the Digital Person will interact with you and provide you with the information you require.

Leading suppliers claim that Digital People can interact, learn and express themselves in human ways.

They have personality and are equipped with emotional intelligence meaning they can read the face and tone of customers, and adjust theirs to suit.

And using AI, they will continue to learn and improve provide increasingly realistic interactions.



Will this technology be used?

It already is! In Australia, AAMI launched AVA, their Digital Person on 1 June 2021 and in their words “She’s smart, she’s emotionally intelligent, and she’s revolutionising the way we interact with our customers.”

For now, Ava is being trialled with some AAMI motor insurance customers; a pool that is forecasted to grow in line with Ava’s intelligence.

Executive General Manager of Digital Distribution for AAMI, Katherine Carmody said Ava is currently trained to answer questions relating to policy coverage, price, discounts, excess, optional extras, claims and payment options.

Ms Carmody said she hoped, all trials going well, to increase Ava’s knowledge base and roll her out to other areas of the AAMI business.

So as businesses continue to search for cheaper solutions to handle customer enquiries, you can be sure this is a technology that will continue to attract interest.

Like Conversational AI, chatbots etc there is huge potential to reduce costs for basic enquiries with the added advantage that your Digital Employee never needs time off, is always open and can scale easily to handle large volumes or unexpected spikes.

Is it any good?

Remember when IVR’s first came out? Voice Recognition? Chatbots?

They were a car crash. And some still are.

As this is a new technology, you can expect it to take a while to reach maturity and even then, you’ve got the potential roadblock of whether customers will want to actually interact with a computer-generated person.

Will this technology impact on real human interactions?

There is the potential for Digital People to take some customer enquiry traffic away from humans much in the same way chatbots already are. The argument will be, at first, that these enquiries will be quite basic in nature leaving the more complicated enquiries for human customer service agents.

Over time however as the technology improves, it could have a more defined impact.



A scary future?

We’ve already seen ‘deep fake‘ examples such as Tom Cruise, Donald Trump and more appear incredibly lifelike so it’s not inconceivable to me that organisations could partner with celebrities to handle their customer enquiries.

Imagine a world where you have a customer enquiry and you contact Nike, only to be served by a deepfake of Michael Jordan.

My prediction is that day is coming.

But like a lot of new technology, we seem to be focussed on the question of whether we can, not whether we should.

Where can I learn more?


About Justin Tippett 74 Articles

Justin is one of the leading authorities on Contact Centres and Customer Experience in Australia and is the founder of CX Central and the recently launched Australian Customer Experience Professionals Association (ACXPA)

There's also a vicious rumour he's the person responsible for all the memes on the Call Centre Legends page now followed by over 20k people ;)