Chatbots for Customer Service

Virtual assistants, chatbots, virtual agents, virtual customer assistant

Also called virtual assistants, virtual agents, virtual customer assistants, concierge, avatars, and so on, customer service chatbots work 24×7, they don’t take time off, and done right, they can help contain or reduce customer service costs, while creating compelling customer experiences. They can be fronted by avatars and personal digital assistants such as Amazon Alexa or can be deployed with a more traditional frontend.


Are chatbots effective for customer service?

In an independent survey of 3000 consumers by Chatbots.org, customers answered this question.

Consumers don’t like chatbot silos

Of those surveyed

  • 53% found chatbots to be “not effective” or only “somewhat effective”

US consumers were harsher in their assessment of chatbots with 14% rating them as not effective versus only 5% in the case of UK consumers. This is perhaps an indication that US consumers are challenging chatbots with more complex questions than UK consumers.

Younger consumers thought that chatbots were more effective than older consumers with 22% of Generation Z and 15% of millennials rating them as “very effective”, and only 12% of boomers and the silent generation giving it the same rating. This is likely due to the positive attitude that digitally savvy Gen Z and millennial consumers have towards chatbots. The perception of Gen X on the “very effective” rating was similar to that of boomers and the silent generation.

Educated consumers rated chatbots only half effective as less educated consumers—13% of respondents with undergraduate or graduate degrees rated chatbots “not effective” versus 7% of those with high school diplomas or incomplete high school education. This could be because educated consumers challenge chatbots to resolve more complex service problems.


What are the biggest pain points in using chatbots for customers service?


Sad chatbot, RobinWhen they transfer me to a human agent, that agent asks me to repeat all the information I had given to the virtual assistant already

59% found that having to repeat information and context to a human agent in the event of escalation from chatbots was the biggest hassle. Not surprisingly, this is a result of chatbot deployments that are completely disconnected from agent-assisted touchpoints.


The chat bots get stuck and don’t know what to do next

32% complained about chatbots running out of steam. This is a common problem that arises from a lack of focus on knowledge management to empower chatbots.


The Takeaway: Chatbots need to be unified with other touchpoints through a customer engagement hub

eGain has had chatbot technology since the late 1990s. Over the years, we have refined and enhanced the technology, and developed best practices for success. Powered by AI technologies such as Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and reasoning as well as knowledge, eGain Virtual Assistant™ is also unified with human-assisted channels such as agent chat and proven at scale.

Best practices

eGain virtual assistant, who we call eVa READ: 10 Tips to Go From Valet to
Wallet With Virtual Assistants

Done right, chatbots help provide great CX


A customer service chatbot success story: Tax agency’s journey from paper & phones to digital delight

(Fun fact: Use of digital services has reduced the organization’s paper consumption by 21%. As their print costs used to run to €96 million, this alone is a tremendous saving.)