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The future of avatars is today - we just have not seen it yet


Avatars built with incredibly sophisticated programs are already here. For example, the company Fiat offers an advanced virtual assistant that allows you to configure your Fiat car online. This avatar can be seen at kiosks located at marketing events.

The democratization of digital and Web 2.0 tools have significantly altered the exposure of brands and media usage by consumers, who do not hesitate to speak back to these mammoth brands on their own terms. In this context, brands are trying to adapt; ‌they invest in meda space, edit catalogs, set up avatars and try to regain control of social media, or at least, to make the responses required by customers.

Avatars allow brands to nurse their customer relationships, and can also become a sales aid. Many sites have discovered avatars and use them to make their customer relationship more personal. It has been seen in retail, banking, and insurance: most sectors seem affected (manufacturing is slow on the uptake).

Designed to decongest and reduce contact center costs, virtual agents and avatars are now in the service of engaging a customer relationship. A company specializing in the creation of avatars as virtual agents finds its use most productive as an aid to navigation, but also as a sales support and loyalty. It is the interaction itself that prevents the user from leaving the site.

Many customers find websites with an avatar also have navigation that has been simplified, and that the avatar is more of a customer service medium in the same way a receptionist is within an established business. Integrating new products into its programming, answering questions, guiding the client and detecting malfunctions are just some roles an avatar can take up. Avatars can be used as an analysis tool of the trade, resulting in avatar experiments breeding ground for improving website usability, and subsequent conversion rate.

All avatars have a display and design; therefore, the character must be credible to be attractive. The avatar is there to create an affect; it must attract users. The avatar provides necessary support to business operations in the same way that all business assets do; it is therefore advisable that avatars have tasks that are potentially scalable. But beware; the avatar would generate little interest if it were disconnected from other channels. The construction of a multi-strategy use through full integration into the overall system is desirable in order for the avatar asset to ensure a positive effect.

Fiat has committed not to build avatars that are unrelated to the user experience, but rather to ensure the continuity of discourse and the exchange right up to the point of sale. They feel that this is necessary for the experience to be relevant and the contact points of real people/staff should be interconnected.

In addition, the avatar is a little intrusive media form, which well suited for customization of a proactive sales process. When the client requests, this virtual advisor is able to recognize the client and any past interactions. The avatar should no longer be content to simply answer a question; the avatar should collate previous and current data to determine a sales strategy with enough benefits to push a commercial offer.

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