We all have experienced being on the receiving end of Customer Service horror stories. If you are like myself, I would prefer to self-service and seek out answers to my own questions rather than sit “on-hold” waiting for a live customer service representative. If you have ever started a chat session with an agent on a support website, then chances are you weren’t chatting with a real person. This was most likely a virtual agent or Chatbot. It’s ok, don’t be afraid…they aren’t like the terminator that will reach through the screen and strangle you for asking the wrong questions! I bet you are thinking that virtual agents must be really difficult to develop, and normally I would agree with you, however, not with Microsoft’s Power Virtual Agent platform. Microsoft’s PVA PaaS allows any subject matter expert with a few technical skills to be able to create and deploy a virtual agents to many different channels quickly and easily without writing any code. On the Power Virtual Agent website, you can author new virtual agents by getting started with a trial account and creating your first “topics” there.
First Step: Create a Topic that meets some service question or customer need.
Example: Store Locations
Your topic for this agent will be triggered by your trigger phrases, so you can have multiple phrases for the same type of topic questions. Now you must build your logical path for your customer and answer their inquiry as best as possible with your virtual agent.
- Here you may ask more questions?
- Display messages to the customer.
- Have conditional paths based on the answers received?
Answers are always stored in variables created for you in the PVA authoring canvas. You can then use the values in other conditions and messages or even use them in other topics. If the agent’s path leads naturally to another topic you have defined, then you are able to link to the other agent topic directly so there is no need to repeat your agent logic from topic to topic.
There are a lot of built-in entities you can use to capture information from your customers in your agent topics like age, color, money, email, etc. However, you can create your own entities that have meaning in your line of business like internet type (DSL, Coaxial, Fiber, Satellite) with synonyms for each type, so if a customer types Co-Ax or Coaxial or Coax could all be translated into Coaxial in your virtual agent.
If you combine the power virtual agents with power automate, then you can do some pretty awesome customer self-serving scenarios. Yes, you can call a power automate “flow” from your virtual agent to possibly reset a customer’s password on an account, resend them an order confirmation, or any number of customer service functions. This is very powerful and useful to your customers.
Finally, you can end your conversations in your virtual agents with a survey to get real-time customer feedback on your agent and service provided.
These analytics monitored and tracked along with much more analytical data right in the PVA application.
Once you have completed the development and testing of your virtual agent, then Power Virtual Agent provides many built-in channels to publish your bot to along with of course your own Power Apps or websites.
Building these virtual agents is very simple and can be done by your customer service subject matter experts within a few hours and this could save many calls or email inquiries into your customer service department channels.