AI-Powered Virtual Agents for Payments, Collections, and More

Analyst Report: The AI-Powered Virtual Agent

By Frost & Sullivan
What Are Virtual Agents for Billing?

Virtual agents use conversational AI to automate conversations that live agents handle today, starting with voice then scaling the same solution to chat and text. They extend beyond the capabilities of touchtone IVR, directed dialog, and simple chatbots.

Billing is a great place to begin your contact center’s transformation to AI automation.

If customer service representatives are handling billing inquiries, your contact center can offload many or all of these calls to AI-powered virtual agents first, then scale the same solution to chat and text. These automated agents seamlessly integrate with your CRM and use natural language processing (NLP) to greet customers by name, review past transactions, identify banking information, securely accept credit card info, and much more - all the things a live agent does.

Virtual agents follow specific instructions that guide them in recognizing which billing calls & chats to automate and which to pass to live agents. These guidelines ensure that virtual agents automate only what they can and should be automating. For calls that are transferred to live agents, the AI also passes along all customer information and reason for transfer via CTA screen-pops.

Which Billing Calls/Chats Can be Automated Using Virtual Agents?










What is the Customer Experience Like with a Virtual Agent?
  • Scenario 1: Making a Payment

    Juan has been a longtime caretaker for Ruth Finnegan, an elderly woman who receives medical supplies covered by Medicare. Ruth recently got a new prescription after a hip replacement, and as her caretaker, Juan is authorized to call the medical supplier to have it filled for her. At this point, he is comfortable speaking with the virtual agent because SmartAction makes the process simple and fast through HIPAA-compliant authentication.

  • Scenario 2: Something Else

    Juan is the longtime caretaker for Ruth Finnegan, an elderly woman who receives medical supplies covered by Medicare. He is authorized to call her medical supplier for new prescriptions. At this point, he is comfortable speaking with the virtual agent because the HIPAA-compliant authentication process is simple and fast.

  • Scenario 3: Third Title

    Cindy bought a home three years ago in an up-and-coming area. Since that time, luckily for Cindy, the market has shot up and her home is worth nearly double what she paid for it. However, with the value changing so significantly, it was recommended to her to check on her homeowners insurance policy and make sure she’s insured to value. She’s able to locate a policy verification phone number online, and she gives a call to get the details. This is a routine inquiry that is perfect for a well-designed virtual agent. Listen as Cindy goes through the process.

Which Billing Challenges Do Virtual Agents Help You Address?
Virtual Agents Bots
  • PCI Compliance to accept credit card information securely
  • Collection processes that would be too expensive for live agents
  • Complex payment scenarios like payment plans, without needing a live agent
  • Streamlined payment process to make self-service easy
Sample Billing Conversation
  • Virtual Agent

    Thank you for calling TV Warehouse. Calls are recorded for quality purposes.

    Dynamic data is customized to your company’s name, or other companies you may represent.

  • Virtual Agent

    To get started, we need to verify your account. Please tell me the last four digits of your social security number.

    Account authentication can verify SSN, zip code, account number, or any other personal identification information you choose.

  • Customer

    Six, four, four, one

    If customer didn’t have this information for some reason, the virtual agent would ask to verify another piece of personal data in order to access the account.

  • Virtual Agent

    Thanks Jennifer. In a few words, please tell me how I can assist you today.

    Open-ended intent capture.

  • Customer

    I want to check my account balance.

    Virtual agent is listening for 7-10 intents depending on the business. These are usually the most common reasons customers call. Virtual agent fully automates 3-4 processes and transfers to agents for the others.

  • Virtual Agent

    Your account balance is $508.28. Would you like to hear that again?

    The virtual agent is jacked-in to the CRM via webservices and uses the authentication data from above to read out the correct balance.

  • Customer

    No thanks.

  • Virtual Agent

    Is there anything else I can help you with today?

  • Customer

    Customer service rep please.

  • Virtual Agent

    I understand you would like to speak to a customer advocate. In order to better serve you, please tell me the reason for your transfer.

    Virtual agent is listening for words like “representative” and “live agent” so callers are never trapped in automation. But the virtual agent does gather one last piece of information about reason for transfer to populate the CTI screen-pop on the agent’s desktop.

  • Customer

    I have questions about my account.

    Even if this is something the virtual agent could have handled, which in this case it wouldn’t be, the caller would still be transferred.

  • Virtual Agent

    Thank you. Please hold while I transfer you to a customer advocate. Thanks for calling TV Warehouse, have a great day.

  • Virtual Agent

    Hi Jennifer, I see you checked your account balance and have questions about your account. How can I help you?

    Seamless handoff from virtual agent to live agent creates an effortless customer experience.

Integrations – Billing

SmartAction integrates with every IVR, contact center platform, CRM, and payment gateway.

The most important integration for Billing is with your CRM.

Your IT team simply needs to expose APIs the SmartAction CX team, who will determine the best ways to connect to your data.


  • Salesforce
  • Oracle
  • NetSuite
  • Magento
  • Other Homegrown Systems

Payment Processors:

  • USA ePay
  • Vantiv / Element Payment Services
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Certifi

For the most human-centric AI design and implementation, choose SmartAction’s virtual agent solution.

Why Automate Billing Calls/Chats with SmartAction?
SMART: Industry-leading conversational AI for voice and chat
SmartAction started as an AI research company in 2002 and now has more than a decade in AI development, machine learning, and natural language processing. The core AI technology supports self-service across hundreds of use cases for both mid-sized organizations and large global enterprises. SmartAction is the only AI-powered self-service solution for customer service to be named “Gartner Cool Vendor,” the only company recognized by Frost & Sullivan as “The Leader in AI-enhanced Self-Service,” and is currently the top-rated and most-reviewed Virtual Customer Assistant solution on Gartner Peer Insights.
EASY: Outsource voice and chat automation needs
SmartAction delivers its proprietary conversational AI technology as a service rather than DIY software licenses. SmartAction’s CX team works for you day-in and day-out monitoring and tuning the hosted application until reaching perfection. This makes the entire transition to more automation fast, low risk, and near frictionless.
FAST: Automate more in 6-8 weeks
SmartAction’s proprietary AI technology is a mature platform with hundreds of pre-built applications supporting common use cases across 12 industries. That means only light customization is required to match our templates to your exact business needs. You will only need to assist our CX team with conversation design, data integrations, and unique business rules to set the “guardrails” for an effortless experience with a virtual agent.
LOW RISK: Start small and grow over time
Rather than rip-and-replace existing telephony investments, SmartAction augments your IVR with conversational AI automation that offers the lowest risk implementation possible. This means starting as small as you want to see how well customers interact with the system and to measure an initial ROI.
OMNICHANNEL: Consistent self-service across all channels
SmartAction customers typically automate in voice first, where the ROI is the greatest, then scale the same CX to chat, text, and other messaging apps. This method ensures a consistent CX and unified application across channels that is easier and lower cost to manage than individual silos.
AFFORDABLE: No large CapEx investment
Getting started with SmartAction couldn’t be any easier or more affordable, with no large upfront CapEx investment or professional services fees. SmartAction charges a nominal one-time setup fee, then simple pay-as-you-go pricing based on usage. There are no fees for making changes or upgrades to the application, since the full suite of services from SmartAction’s CX team is included in the per-minute usage price.
HUMAN-CENTRIC: Deliver CX without compromise
Customers prefer self-service that feels effortless and makes their life less hard. The SmartAction brand promise is to deliver self-service automation without sacrificing an ounce of CX. We do this by combining best-in-class AI with best-of-breed CX experts who live and breathe a process of perpetual improvement and tuning applications until reaching perfection.

Learn more about SmartAction’s obsession with LIFE LESS HARD™