Nuance Communications, (NASDAQ:NUAN) today announced that Jetstar has launched a new virtual assistant called “Ask Jess” which is based on Nuance Nina Web, an intelligent virtual assistant that delivers a human-like, conversational customer service experience. Customers simply type to Jess, and Jess provides the answers. Jetstar is the first airline to deploy Nuance Nina Web virtual assistant for customer service. The new Ask Jess virtual assistant draws on Nuance Nina, an intelligent virtual assistant that leverages innovative natural language understanding technology and delivers a conversational interface to web visitors which simulates human conversation. Nuance’s Natural Language Understanding (NLU) technology allows applications like Ask Jess to understand a customer’s intent through an interactive, text-based chat experience. By understanding what customers want, Ask Jess makes getting information on booking, baggage and seating easier than navigating pages on a Web site. Jetstar’s Ask Jess virtual assistant is also fully integrated with the company’s existing live chat service, delivering a seamless handover to human support when required. As recent surveys have shown, while many Web sites offer self-help tools to enable consumers to resolve their issues online, more than 58% of people are unable to do so. Nearly 50% of consumers ultimately give up and contact a live agent for assistance after spending ten to more than 30 minutes unsuccessfully trying to find answers to a query. And the vast majority of consumers (71%) would prefer a virtual assistant as part of the Web self-service experience to provide a more efficient, and human-like, interaction. “It’s clear that consumers want greater levels of service on the Web,” said Ian Watson, Head of Customer Care, Jetstar. “Our aim with Ask Jess was to deliver a truly innovative experience with a virtual assistant – to not only provide information more quickly, but to provide the right information, based on an understanding of what the consumer needs. Jess has already been quite busy handling requests that would have otherwise gone straight to our contact center, and she’s doing great work. In fact, in just her first 5 days on the job, she has successfully answered over 77% of all requests.” Nuance delivers key innovations in the area of online customer engagement, leveraging Nuance’s natural language understanding (NLU) to provide human-like virtual assistant interactions through its Nina platform. Nuance’s Nina Web is an intelligent virtual assistant that delivers personalized, effortless online customer service, ensuring a compelling customer experience while reducing a company’s agent-led interactions by more than 40%. Using a human-like text-based conversational interface, Nina Web responds quickly, consistently, and accurately to customer requests – 24/7 – interactively guiding them to a successful resolution, at a fraction of the cost of traditional channels. Beyond support, Nina Web has proven value in e-commerce where it has shown to increase the value of Web orders by 25% and increase conversion rates by 7%. Large organizations around the world such as Gamefly, Kaspersky, Michelin, Nespresso and Windstream rely on Nina Web to deliver engaging, efficient Web self-service interactions and reinvent their customer experience.