Nuance Acquires VirtuOz. What Does This Really Mean?

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The news on the street is that Nuance is buying the online virtual agent company, VirtuOz for an undisclosed price (see the TechCrunch article here). So, what does this acquisition mean?

Let’s start with Nuance. Nuance’s solutions help engage customers with what they term “smart, automated conversations”. Their customer service solutions revolve primarily around the voice channel and support both inbound and outbound interactions. Their main building blocks focus on speech and touch tone automation solutions, speech enabled call routing solutions, voice authentication, outbound notifications. Recently, they launched, Nina, a virtual assistant product targeted for the enterprise for mobile customer service. Again, Nina leverages much of Nuance’s core expertise in voice biometrics, speech recognition, text-to-speech rendering and natural language understanding to empower customers to ask questions and receive relevant answers to questions like “did my last check clear” without tortuous back-and-forth conversations between the customer and the service organization.

What Nuance does not have is a complete customer service solutions, being so focused on voice interactions – specifically, Nuance lacks web self-service solutions to support the increasing popularity and usage of these digital channels. This is where VirtuOz comes in.

VirtuOz products are enterprise-grade web-based virtual agent solutions. They answer customer questions asked in natural language instead of just keywords. They can lead customers through a set of clarifying questions as well as execute transactions such as changing a flight reservation. VirtuOz solutions integrate with existing CRM, ERP systems, and knowledge bases to support contextual, personalized and efficient service. In addition, when a conversation is outside of the the scope of the virtual agent, VirtuOz is able to hand over the interaction to the most appropriate human-assisted channel, passing along the context of the interaction so that the customer does not have to re-start the interaction.

Net, net, this acquisition makes a lot of sense, and signals Nuance’s focus and attention on providing the market with enterprise-grade, end-to-end customer service solutions across a broadening range of touchpoints and communication channels. With all the attention in the virtual agent space, I would not be surprised to see other virtual agent companies also being acquired and their technology becoming a building block of a broad customer service offering.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kate Leggett
Kate serves Business Process Professionals. She is a leading expert on customer service strategies. Her research focuses on helping organizations establish and validate customer service strategies strategies, prioritize and focus customer service projects, facilitate customer service vendor selection, and plan for project success.

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