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Small Business Digest


Howdy Duty: Not-Quite-Human Receptionist Is an Avatar

"And you are—?"  the new receptionist might ask the office visitor.

"Never mind about me," the visitor, perhaps now a bit rattled, might reply.  "Who—or what—are you?"

The new receptionist is a what, not a who.  It is an avatar.

It was manufactured by a Chicago company called Olivia Greets.

Olivia Greets, indeed, now in the front lobby of the Brandywine Executive Center, an executive-office-space provider in Wilmington, Del.
The service allows the center to provide "enhanced receptionist coverage" for its clients and to save money, which can be reinvested in the center, says Brandywine Regional Manager Chuck Boyce.  The avatar, of course, can work virtually around the clock and is virtually tireless.
By using the Olivia Greets virtual receptionist, executive-office-space providers can now allow access to all of their clients 24 hours a day while providing a consistent experience from office to office, the Chicago company says.

The avatar, which can be customized by each company that gets one, greets each guest with a personalized message as he or she walks through the door. The avatar asks whom the guest wishes to visit, processes the reply and forwards it to a live call-center agent. The agent tells the visitee that the guest has arrived.

The avatar can answer many frequently asked questions about a company: What is the mailing address? How do you spell the chief executive’s last name? What are your hours of operation? The visage can instantly proffer other pertinent information as well.
Along with a telephone-answering service, Olivia Greets also provides digital signage to deliver employee communications or promotional messages to clients. Video recording and a digital visitor log are also available, as is optional access control. The access-control feature allows the avatar to unlock doors for specific employees and clients, thereby eliminating the need for keys and key cards, its creator says.

Olivia Greets’s virtual-receptionist technology is also being used in the healthcare industry in the form of a patient check-in kiosk agent.

"What seems to be the problem?" the patient-agent avatar might ask.

"Well," the patient might reply, "I thought I was having a heart attack, but now I think something may be wrong with my mind."

For more information about the virtual receptionist, log onto

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