|Sun Jan 30 2011 22:22:09|
Emma Virtual Assistant Comes to eBay
By: Ina Steiner
eBay recently replaced the "Contact Us" and "Help" links that used to appear at the top right of pages with a "Customer Support" link. You can see eBay Canada's traditional "Help" page here, and eBay.com's new "Customer Support" page here.
The new link features the "Chat with Emma" virtual customer support system that made its first appearance on eBay Australia in 2008 as part of a pilot test, and then debuted as "Sarah" on PayPal. Emma seems to have made her debut on eBay.com - at least for some users - as early as October.
Emma is an automated system that matches your question to stock answers along with links to more information. You can still search the help system yourself, called "Self Service," and you can click on the "Contact Us" link and obtain a phone number and code good for 15 minutes after clicking on it.
I asked Emma a few questions, including how to cancel a transaction - Emma responded by asking me for my item number. When I told her I forgot it, she told me where I could find the item number.
I also asked Emma, "Are you a real person?" to which she responded, "I'm a virtual agent, created by VirtuOz. If you'd like to learn more about the technology behind me, you can check the VirtuOz Website."
But, not one to be distracted, she asked again, "what is your item number?"
eBay being eBay, it also states on the new Customer Support page, "We'd like your input! Tell us what you think about our new online customer support." If you click on the link, it brings up a survey that asks, "How easy or difficult was it to find an answer to your question," offering a five-point scale from "Very Difficult" to "Very Easy."
Let me know if you've met Emma and if she's been able to help you answer your questions, and what you think of the new support hub.