Building Trust and Customer Engagement with a Virtual Assistant

Last year Accenture reviewed AGL’s Virtual Assistant’s (VA) performance and identified key opportunities, improvements and alignment to strategic goals.


Exo Digital was involved in designing a new Virtual Assistant character and improving the VA’s customer experience by creating trust and engaging AGL’s broad customer base.

We reviewed the Accenture report and worked with the AGL business facilitating workshops and research to support the required changes.

Exo Digital provided highly skilled practitioners as a strategic partner, embedding them with the AGL design teams, delivering exceptional results.

Project Steps

Step 01: Defining the Virtual Assistant’s Identity and Personality

Exo Digital worked with AGL’s team, outlining the critical design activities required to give the best outcome to improve the customer experience of the Virtual Assistant.

We identified gaps and opportunities in the current experience and then defined use cases and customer segments through further research.

We undertook a landscape and competitor review to see how other businesses addressed customer support through Virtual Assistants and developed a bot strategy and vision based on customer expectations.

Step 02: Defining Tone of Voice and Content Style Guide

Exo Digital conducted stakeholder interviews to understand the vision and roadmap for the Virtual Assistant.

We explored ways to align the bot’s tone of voice with the AGL brand and defined the “do’s and don’ts of bot conversations, writing scripts for bot/conversation mapping.

Step 03: Implementing Design Workshops and Surveys

We sent surveys to the key stakeholder group to capture thoughts on what builds trust and the critical attributes for the VA persona.

We facilitated design workshops to build trust in bot conversations and define a better engagement experience for the Virtual Assistant.

Step 04: Designing Visual Sonic Style Guide

Exo Digital provided an analysis of the current gaps in the user interface (UI). We also designed the VA’s avatar, components and patterns.


Consulting – Defining the VA’s Persona

The design team was tasked to create a more charismatic Virtual Assistant.

It was developed to give the user the impression they are talking to an intelligent bot and being honest about its limitations.

The virtual assistant needs to have a personality that is friendly, helpful and supportive in every interaction. The VA must be professional and act as a trusted friend, offering tailored advice and support.

Strategy and Innovation – User Testing

In the initial user testing with customers, people were drawn to cuter characters with faces; however, this did not reflect the AGL brand.

We conducted stakeholder interviews to develop a persona with a personality that reflected the AGL branding.

UI & UX Design – Virtual Assistant Character Design

The avatar is dynamic, changing with the context of the conversation or interaction to show the user that they are being heard and understood.

The concept leans on the abstract compositions of the previous examples to make it feel like a bot rather than a human.

Most people we spoke with wanted less human representation for the visual persona and somewhere between a neutral image or a faceless character.

Virtual Assistant Motion Design

To make the avatar recognisable in its different compositions, it will always be made up of 3 shapes styled in the same way across every arrangement.

The Dark blue and light blue shapes make up most of the composition; the white shape will be the “eyes” of the character. It won’t represent eyes literally; rather, it is the central focus that expresses emotion and character.

Redesigning the Chat Bot Experience

Together we created a natural flow of interacting with the chatbot with options rather than just typing text.

We built the virtual assistant as responsive by establishing emotional feedback that matches with the various use cases.

The chatbot responds to the user promptly and in a straightforward manner, so it doesn’t overload or confuse the customer.

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