Autodesk Embraces Machine Learning to Improve Customer Support One Interaction at a Time

Autodesk Virtual Agent (AVA): Past, Present & Future

By Stacy Doyle

What began as a pilot more than a year ago has grown into a constantly available virtual agent to help Autodesk customers. Autodesk Virtual Agent (AVA) is a pro at answering customer’s most common questions, directing people to content and completing transactions. In one year, AVA has transformed customer service at Autodesk:

  • With AVA, Autodesk has been able to reduce time-to-resolution from an average of one and a half days to literally minutes or as fast as a customer can type in an inquiry.
  • With AVA speeding resolution times, the company has seen customer service satisfaction levels rise by 10 points.
  • AVA handles 35,000+ customer questions every single month, making it the highest volume point of contact for Autodesk customers.

How it Works

Thousands of online customer interactions start with AVA, which sits on the front end for both web and in-account chat inquiries. Customers type in their questions as if they were chatting with a human agent.

AVA understands a broad array of customer inquiries, and uses keywords and phrases to unpack the conversation’s context and purpose and return answers quickly. And if AVA can’t resolve a situation on her own, she collects enough information to create a case and forward to a human agent.

Powered by natural language processing and machine learning, AVA’s knowledge base is comprised of chat logs, use cases and forum posts, thousands of keywords, phrases, clusters, as well as syntax and idioms. All of this data helps AVA understand the subtleties and nuances of language and what is being asked of it.

And with experience and fine-tuning, AVA gets smarter and faster over time.

What the Future Holds: Soul Machines provides AVA with a face and a persona  

Most machines that we interact with today do not capture emotional signals that we as human beings instinctively and naturally gather when speaking with someone—they can engage with us intellectually, but not emotionally.

To bridge this gap, Autodesk is working with Soul Machines to advance AVA’s capabilities, creating a digital human version of her that will include a human like face, persona and voice that has the ability to read and respond interactively to emotional signals. AVA will be able to recognize the face to face  human signals that add the personal non-verbal dimension to customer interactions that a traditional text-based chatbot and voice assistant simply cannot, and provide a more natural and familiar user experience.

This next-generation version of AVA will offer:

  • An incredibly human like face to interact with designed by two times Oscar winner and Soul Machines CEO Dr. Mark Sagar.
  • Voice and video capabilities that provide more engaging and personalized experiences, as AVA recognizes, interprets, and takes action on new signals (e.g., emotional data from facial recognition, tone data from voice, etc.). AVA will also be able to respond to specific scenarios and convey these same types of signals (e.g., emotions, tone), reducing the risk of misinterpretation.
  • Customers will be able to choose between text, audio, and/or video, similar to the traditional support experience.

AVA today (L). Prototype of digital human version of AVA (R).

Check out AVA in action here. To see how AVA will take Autodesk’s virtual customer service experience beyond purely transactional to relational in the future, watch this video.