Chatbot Customer Service Guide

Image of a chatbot, aka virtual assistant, virtual agent
Customer service chatbots — also called virtual assistants, virtual agents, virtual customer assistants, concierge, avatars, and more — work 24×7, don’t take time off, and done right, 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.

Is chatbot customer service effective?

In an independent survey of 3000 consumers by and eGain across the US and the UK

  • 47% found chatbots to be “very effective” and “effective”
  • 43% found chatbots to be “somewhat effective”

Challenges chatbots face

Customer expectations

eGain chatbot, Zoe, is best suited for retail and fashion sites

Consumers in the US are more demanding than in the UK: In the survey, 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.

Download survey

Education level of consumers

Robin was eGain's very first customer service chatbot. Here she is expressing sadness.

Educated customers expect better service from chatbots: Educated consumers rated chatbots only half effective as less educated consumers—13% of those 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.

Generational bias

eGain chatbot, eVa, doing some stretches

The young like to use chatbots for customer service: 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.” Only 12% of boomers and the silent generation gave 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 like that of boomers and the silent generation.

The biggest pain points in using chatbots for customer service

Silo  |  Solution that can’t scale  |  Not customer-centric knowledge

Why chatbots fail in customer service: experience silo, brittle tech, disconnected from enterprise assets


When 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% of the surveyed find having to repeat information and context to a human agent in the event of escalation from chatbots as the biggest hassle. Not surprisingly, this is a result of chatbot deployments that are completely disconnected from agent-assisted touchpoints like email or chat or phone.


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.

Know the 12 reasons why chatbots fail.


The Solution: Chatbots unified with other touchpoints through a customer engagement hub

Know the software: eGain Virtual Assistant™
Powered by AI technologies such as Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, and reasoning as well as knowledge, eGain’s virtual assistant software, eGain Virtual Assistant™ is also unified with human-assisted channels such as agent chat and proven at scale.

The perfect chatbot customer service experience

Look at the delightful customer experience it’s possible to design with chatbots.


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A customer service chatbot success story

A huge government tax agency implements a high-profile eGain chatbot

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

Offer | Get your own chatbot

To give you quick business value, we have launched a one-of-its-kind, free chatbot pilot offer. Give it a try.

eGain Innovation in 30 Days™

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