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Kaspersky's Virtual Agent

Publication date: 6/2014

Executive Summary

Many companies are using and considering using so-called "virtual agents" as automation tools for Web support. In theory, virtual agents put a friendly human-like interface on top of an artificial intelligence and knowledgebase infrastructure. Users can ask support questions in a familiar chat format, and the virtual agent responds with diagnostic suggestions and solutions.

Debate and attempts to make this automation satisfy customers have been going on for almost 20 years. The Web has opened up opportunities to do A/B testing and easily compare results with agents and without. Kaspersky Labs is one of the companies that has taken this opportunity to heart to test results with virtual agents and without. They have graciously offered their own internal report for us to share with ASP members.

The report is full of metrics which will be of interest to any company considering or using virtual agents. The results allowed them to make decisions to retain their virtual agent in some countries and not in others. While this may not quell all the arguments pro and con, it does proved some real world testing and measuring to make business decisions. We are all fortunate they that are willing to share this information. The report contains information regarding :
  • General Poiints to Consider
  • Virtual Asssistant Pros and Cons
  • Implementattion Issues
  • Measurementts and Metrics
The report is very heavy on metrics. The test were done in Germany, France, the U.K. and the U.S. Based on the results Kaspersky decided to retain virtual agents in the U.S. only. While this may seem somewhat inconclusive on the surface, it represents a complex real-world type of decision which needs to consider many pragmatic issues. So academics may bemoan the split decision, but the rest of us will relate very well to their decision because we all live in that very real world where decisions are hard and do not make everyone happy all the time.


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