Sign up for
Get started

What is a virtual agent?

Definition: A virtual agent is an artificial intelligence program designed to interact with users and assist them in completing specific tasks or providing information for customers. 

Virtual agents can be integrated into websites, mobile apps, and messaging platforms and can provide a range of services, such as customer support, sales assistance, and appointment scheduling. 

They use natural language processing and machine learning to understand and respond to user inquiries in a human-like way and provide quick and efficient support without the need for human intervention.

Customer support updates virtual agents with questions, features, and issues customers may ask them about so they can offer seamless help. 

The difference between a virtual agent and a virtual assistant

Virtual agents and assistants are often used interchangeably because they are both software driven by AI and machine learning designed to help people.

The main difference is their purpose.

Virtual agents are designed to help people by providing them with the information they need by holding seamless conversations.

Virtual assistants focus on performing tasks like setting reminders, scheduling meetings, making arrangements, and searching the internet. Well-known virtual assistants are Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.

Virtual agent use cases

Customer support uses virtual agents to provide quick and personalized support by answering questions and troubleshooting issues.

Example: A customer has an issue with their CRM not being able to load information about leads. The customer asks the agent for assistance, and the agent starts to get familiar with the problem by asking them follow-up questions until the root problem is identified. Since the issue is very common (The customer needs to resync their CRM), there is no need for support representative intervention, and the agent will provide the customer with a guide on how to fix the problem.

Sales and marketing teams use virtual agents to qualify leads and engage them through personalized recommendations and problem identification.

Example: A potential customer visits a clothing website, and the agent greets them, asking them if they need help. The visitor asks if they have L-size jeans, and the agent transfers them to the jeans section filtered for L-size. After finding the right jeans, the agent asks the visitor for their address for it to place an order for them automatically.

Human resources use virtual agents to guide new employees through products or offer quick answers to the staff.

Example: A new employee is going through their onboarding process and got a 10-task to-do list. Instead of asking the manager or team lead for explanations of the tasks they can ask the virtual agent. The virtual agent will give them a detailed run-through of individual tasks and offer guidance.

Wonder what your customers want?
Discover Mindmesh

Article FAQs

Is a virtual agent the same as a chatbot?
No, a chatbot is designed to quickly answer simple questions, while a virtual agent provides customers with a human-like interaction and can handle complex issues. Unlike chatbots, virtual agents can make suggestions, lead conversations, and sometimes offer visual guides. Virtual assistance can come in many forms; one is chat assistance, which is usually mistaken for a chatbot.
What is the difference between a virtual agent and a live agent?
A virtual agent is a software that interacts with customers via text, visuals, or voice, while a live agent is a human representative who assists customers. 
How do virtual agents reduce business costs?
They reduce the workload put on support representatives by handling a high volume of customer requests reducing the need for additional staff. They also automate processes like rerouting, reminding customers, and letting customers know about new updates to the product, reducing the need for customer support to handle these tasks.

Recommended Terms


Get started

Hundreds of tech workers have already
tried Mindmesh and use it daily

Get Started

A monthly newsletter delivered straight to your inbox