Virtual assistant

Virtual assistant supports the live chat service on a website. The virtual assistant’s artificial intelligence (AI) analyses the keywords of a question and searches for the best matching reply. If it doesn’t have the answer, it can direct the conversation to an agent in a live chat session.


How is it solving problems?

Customers have an expectation that they can access information using digital channels. A virtual assistant is available on the web portal 24/7. It interprets customers’ questions or presents them with questions, to guide them to an answer. If an enquiry is complex, it gives them an option to start a live chat session with an agent to assist them further. Customers can request this option at any time. Live chat is available during business hours.

What are the benefits?

For the customer

  • Quicker response and no waiting on the phone*.
  • Available 24 hours, 7 days a week,
  • Receives answers to basic enquiries even when a live chat agent is not available.
  • Can transfer a conversation to a live chat agent without repeating information.
  • Web enabled and accessible.

*for simple, non personal, questions.

Virtual assistant screenshotscreenshot of virutal assistant

For the organisation

When the virtual assistant answers basic enquiries, agencies can use their time to:

  • engage customers who have complex enquiries 
  • increase value to the customer and the organisation.

These benefits will lead to a significant increase in customer satisfaction, Net Promoter Score, and agency morale.

An organisation can also test customer engagement strategies more rapidly and with greater focus. This is because you can deploy the virtual assistant incrementally and to specific topics.

What are the savings?

NSW Fair Training deployed the virtual assistant across six topics. They were able to reduce call volumes by 7% to 10% a month. In 2019, over 42,000 chatbot sessions initiated. Of these sessions, 6,000 transitioned to live chat sessions with an agent. This resulted in a potential reduction of 36,000 calls that year.

Fair Trading developed and iterated their virtual assistant over five months, with ongoing enhancements. It can be redeployed into any web portal. It can be integrated with a live chat and case management tool (such as Salesforce) via an application programming interface (API).

Fair Trading’s virtual assistant has the following features:

  • AI guided conversations via a decision tree model, using free text.
  • Seamless handover to an operator via Salesforce Live Agent during business hours. This includes answers from already answered questions.
  • Case management integration.
  • Web-based, no-code, decision tree editor allows easy updates by business users.
  • Qlik dashboard showing engagement statistics.
  • Compliant with WCAG 2.0 AA accessibility requirements. 


For more information about this solution, please contact [email protected] 

Application specialists:

Jeffrey Pirie ([email protected])

Scott Wallace ([email protected])

Component model

Virtual assistant component model

Component flow

  1. Customer accesses the virtual assistant via the online portal.
  2. This initiates a chat bot session on the Azure cloud. The session makes use of a question and answer data set. This is curated by the team coordinator via the team coordinator portal.
  3. If the chat bot can’t answer the enquiry, it calls the Salesforce Live Agent API. The agent, if available, then handles the call.

Live chat initiation process

Live chat initiation process

  1. Customer requests a live agent session.
  2. Calls using a secure connection. Uses standard API (REST or SOAP) using live agent API to create a record in This record can contain various parameters. Depending on the integration pattern, they can create a new ‘contact’ in the system.
  3. Redirects a customer to the live agent page, providing the generated token.
  4. (In customer’s browser) opens a new chat request, passing a token ID as the only parameter.
  5. Verifies that the token sent as a parameter is the same as the one sent through the secure connection. If they match, verifies that record was not used and then updates it.
  6. Starts standard live agent chat. Relates user record to live chat. (As soon as the agent accepts chat, they will have all required information about customer.)
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