Do Virtual Agents Make a Website Stickier?

A reader of this blog emailed me with a question last week. The reader wanted to know if I was aware of any research showing definitively that the presence of a virtual assistant / virtual agent on a website makes that site more appealing and more sticky to users. I did a bit of pondering on this question and came up with the following response.

Intelligent Virtual AgentI don’t know of any concrete research that proves that the presence of virtual assistants on a website makes that site stickier. The two main data points that are cited in official research in estimating the Return on Investment (ROI) for virtual assistants are cost savings and sales conversions.

Cost savings come by using virtual assistants to answer more routine questions, thereby reducing the work load on human call agents. Cost savings are generally measured in percentage of reduced calls to human agents.

I’m not exactly sure how sales conversions are tracked, but I imagine it’s the number of visitors to a website who completed a purchase transaction after engaging with a virtual agent.

If anyone else knows of any publicly available data that indicates a website’s stickiness (perhaps based on bounce rate or some other engagement measure) improves through the use of virtual agents, please let me know. It’s an interesting question and I do believe that this is data that ought to be collected.

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