When customers and potential customers visit your online resources and portals, they often need guidance and support for potential questions or help locating products and services.
Chatbots can walk people through basic processes, help people find answers and give directions for simple tasks through automated interaction. Instead of replacing humans, chatbots expand human capabilities to improve outcomes.
Organizations that use Microsoft Dynamics 365 have different options for spinning up Microsoft chatbots, which Microsoft also calls virtual agents.
Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent
Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent is a no-code-required AI-based application within the Dynamics 365 Customer Service platform. The application gives customer service organizations the ability to engage in personalized conversations that go beyond the conversational search.
The personalization capabilities are part of Azure Communication Services, which uses AI to unify customer service communications across channels. Customer service agents can launch virtual agents to interact with customers from within the same platform that they manage other channels, such as voice communication.
The customer service agent can personalize the bot conversation per customer while accessing customer records without launching a new application. This is a perfect example of how using a Dynamics chatbot augments skilled, trained agents for a better, more streamlined customer experience.
Within the same platform, customer service agents can also create virtual agents for customer self-service so that customers can quickly resolve simple issues. This too, optimizes human customer service skills because agents can spend their time on more complex customer problems that require closer attention.
Power Virtual Agents
Power Virtual Agents is part of the Microsoft Power Platform, which is a platform of applications for business development, application development, workflow automation and application connectivity. Dynamics users who tap into the Power Platform can use the no-code virtual agent capabilities to create chatbots via a graphical interface.
These bots can be integrated into Microsoft products and services to perform low-level tasks, such as looking up records and handing off conversations to live agents. The benefit of building the bots within Power Platform is that you’ll have access to hundreds of prebuilt connectors, or you can create complex scenarios with Microsoft Bot Framework, which is a collection of Software Development Kits (SDKs) for bots.
You can also use AI and data-driven insights to monitor and tweak chatbot performance.
According to Microsoft, Power Virtual Agents bots can be created without the need for data scientists or developers. Some of the ways people have used the bots recently include:
- COVID-19 infection rate and tracking information
- Sales help and support issues
- Opening hours and store information
- Employee health and vacation benefits
- Common employee questions for businesses
Power Virtual Agents is available as both a standalone web app, and as a discrete app within Microsoft Teams. Most of the functionality between the two is the same. However, there might be different reasons to choose one version or the other based on the ways you want to use Power Virtual Agents.
Azure Bot Services
Azure Bot Service is a development environment for designing and building enterprise-grade conversational AI powered by Azure Cognitive Services. It aims for high-quality natural language, speech and visual capabilities and is based on the Microsoft Bot Framework.
With Azure Bot Service, you can build a single bot and deploy it across multiple popular channel types such as Microsoft Teams and Facebook. It is a self-learning platform that can absorb, understand and adapt to data.
Azure Bot Service is appropriate for creating more sophisticated bots and when you need to make the conversation interactive, possibly in different languages or within a high-compliance environment such as health care.
The right place to start with bots
Although Microsoft continues to evolve its applications to make building and using bots easier, bots alone can’t solve business problems and identify the best path forward. RSM works with organizations on aligning technology to their unique needs and goals.
We’ve helped all types of organizations identify and use the right Microsoft applications, platforms and tools for where they are today and where they want to go tomorrow.
RSM is a gold-certified Microsoft enterprise partner with decades of experience in industries such as retail, food and beverage, CPG, nonprofit, life sciences and industrials. We have more than 1,000 consultants with deep industry knowledge and access to proprietary applications that accelerate time-to-value for Microsoft solutions.
You can trust RSM for lifetime support guided by a business-first mentality that combines Microsoft experience with broader services in management and technology consulting, risk advisory, tax, IT infrastructure, data/analytics and more.
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