The Virtual Consultant

intelicharacter_silverWhen I first heard that we would be using a virtual consultant as a part of my client’s Social Media portal, I was skeptical.  My first reaction was that the consultant would never be able to communicate or educate people like a trained marketer or a live member of a company.  After working with Inteliwise (www.inteliwise.com), I’ve changed my mind, and I a great respect for their virtual consultants.

The purpose of my client’s social media portal is to have employees interacting and collaborating with one another in new ways (whether it’s to research and discuss new innovations or to comment on technology that’s prototyped for internal and external business applications).  Their social media platform has many websites running blogs, wikis, and in the near future widgets to give the its users many opportunities to interact.  Because the company culture is just learning and understanding social media, it was also very important to add in an educational component.

The virtual consultant was a different way to add in that educational component.  My client decided to beta test the Inteliwise virtual consultant on its social media platform to allow employees to engage and interact with an avatar.  They’re able to ask the avatar questions about how to use social media and how to engage with others as well as questions about my client’s work with emerging technological innovations.

Working with Inteliwise, a company in Poland, and setting up the virtual consultant was easier than I had imagined.  The steps were simple, we:

  • Decided the areas of the portal where the consultant would interact with employees
  • Populated a database (that would grow over time) with questions and answers
  • Chose the avatar’s image (from several models both male and female) and voice tone/accent
  • Dropped the code into the social media platform
  • Tested the consultant for approximately two weeks before soft launch

It was a lot of fun testing the consultant.  Even when we asked her questions off topic, she always had a clever response.  There were a few answers that had us laughing out loud.  But, overall, every serious question was answered with a solid, helpful answer.  The virtual consultant is an excellent way to take social media education to a highly interactive level, beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. What’s your experience with virtual consultants?  Do you find them helpful on a website, or would you rather interact with a person to answer your questions?