How to deploy a chatbot as a virtual assistant

Lisa de Laat

Lisa de Laat

| 4 min

A chatbot doesn't have to be a virtual assistant, but a virtual assistant certainly is a chatbot. Do you follow? Don't worry, because we'll explain exactly how it works. A virtual assistant goes one step further than a chatbot. The assistant can help reduce workload by taking over tasks - and with the current shortage in the labor market, this can be a serious consideration. This assistant is endlessly reproducible, scalable, has no (salary) demands, is loyal and tireless. And they keep on learning, which enables them to do more and more. Sounds like music to your ears, doesn't it?

How does a virtual assistant work?

Using artificial intelligence, a virtual assistant can have a personal and informal conversation and take over administrative tasks without a human being in between. By combining past information, such as previous purchases, these chatbots can recognize patterns of behavior and then adjust them as more data is added. By gaining knowledge, a virtual assistant can answer complex questions, make recommendations and predictions, and even start a conversation. The chatbot even learns to recognize different questions, spelling mistakes and synonyms.

With a virtual assistant, you effectively direct customers to your website, more easily refer them to relevant white papers or articles, and open up communication channels so customers can reach you anywhere. Conversational AI also makes your chatbot better and better, making it easier to offer products and services.

The advantages of a virtual assistant

24/7 reachability

Your virtual assistant is not only available during office hours, but 24/7. This way, customers can always come to you with questions.

Taking over repetitive tasks

A virtual assistant can easily take over repetitive tasks so that more time is saved and employees have more space for other complex tasks. In this way, the workload can be significantly reduced.

Save money

Who wouldn't want that? A virtual assistant makes contact with customers and employees in a personal way without the time and expense of physically present staff. Because tasks are taken over and take less time, employees can spend more time on the work that really matters.

Where can a virtual assistant be deployed?

A virtual assistant does not get stressed and can add great value within different departments.


Your virtual assistant can be used as a marketing colleague who works for you 24/7. You can use him for lead generation, but he can also collect valuable customer data for you that can immediately be synced with your CRM system.


Suppose a product is not in stock or your customer is looking for another product. A virtual assistant is perfect for sales and can provide suitable alternatives based on the wishes of the customer. And if the customer really has his sights set on that particular product, the virtual assistant can note down the customer's details and send an email when it is back in stock.

HR & Internal communication

A virtual assistant can also be used to give your HR department more breathing room. For example, the assistant can be used within the recruitment process. But the chatbot can also provide internal support. Are there colleagues with questions about vacations or declarations? The virtual assistant has the answers ready.

Customer service

The best-known virtual assistant is within customer service. A virtual assistant helps customer service employees to answer a large number of customer questions. A large part of the process can be automated, so that customer service agents have more time to deal with complex issues.

Training your virtual assistant

You need to keep training a virtual assistant to get the optimal results. With Watermelon's chatbot builder, developing and training a virtual assistant is almost a piece of cake, because you don't need any programming knowledge. In the beginning, the time investment is a bit larger, because you have to fill the chatbot with content and master the platform. Once the chatbot is launched, making the assistant better and smarter will remain part of your work, but the time investment is much less. This is because there will be questions that the assistant does not know the answer to immediately. These need to be added to the database, making the chatbot smarter and smarter. The knowledge of the bot grows as you invest time in it.

You have to be careful with words that have multiple meanings. This can cause frustration for the customer so an alternative should always be offered, such as switching from a conversation to a real employee or leaving a message.

Successful client stories

But what exactly does this look like in practice? We provide three examples of organizations that have implemented a successful virtual assistant.

Hunter Douglas

Hunter Douglas' virtual assistant generates 15 leads per week. These are figures that most marketers will be jealous about. Thanks to the integration with their CRM system, they not only have these leads, but also more insight into their website visitors than ever before.

An overloaded customer service department caused Huus to look for a solution to reduce their workload. They found this in Watermelon and because they quickly went live with the chatbot, the first successes were already achieved in a short period of time. Soon they needed one less fte in the customer service department.


The webshop of Malelions grew enormously in a short period of time. They noticed that the customer service was getting busier and busier and that many of the same questions were being asked. They started looking for a tool and found Watermelon. Today, their virtual assistant answers 75% of 2,000 monthly conversations all by himself.

A virtual assistant can be of great added value to your organization. You do need to keep investing in it to continually get the best results. But one thing is for sure and that is that it will eventually bring you a lot.

Would you like to know more about the use of a virtual assistant? Then ask one of our colleagues for a demo. They will be happy to help you on your way.

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