Today, organizations look for more effective ways to deliver customer service solutions to their customers. Customers seek faster and more precise self-service support options, while businesses seek to satisfy their customers with faster, better customer service. The intersection of these needs can be met with Microsoft Power Virtual Agents. Power Virtual Agents provides businesses with a way to build a library of the most easily answered questions and offer a user experience that helps customers retrieve that information with fast and simple queries by using a bot. Power Virtual Agents is simple for non-technical users to write and expand quickly and it's desirable for customers who are accustomed to searching the internet for answers to their questions.

A bot is a form of AI that simulates human conversation through a chat interface. Bots listen for keywords and phrases that relate to the library of known, common customer issues (topics) that are stored in the bot, and it will return answers quickly and iteratively as the customer continues the chat. The bot continues to check if the customer's question has been answered and then refines its selection of topics to solve the customer's problem.

Adopting bots into your organization's service structure provides many benefits, including:

  • Reducing assisted support inquiries - Customers don't always need to connect with human agents to get answers. Simple or common issues can be resolved by displaying bot topics, knowledge base articles, or FAQ pages.

  • Seamless integrations with other systems - Integrations with customer relationship management systems let organizations include relevant and personal information in conversations as needed. It also allows a conversation to be transferred, including its details, to a human agent when needed.

  • Task automation - Follow-up functions and actions, such as scheduling meetings, assigning cases, sending follow-up emails, surveys, and more, can be initiated from the bot. With Microsoft Power Automate, custom workflows and automated actions can be configured that the bot can run, with the customer's permission, to automate resolution of the customer's issue.

Overview of creating Power Virtual Agents bots

Power Virtual Agents empowers your teams to create bots through a guided, no-code graphical interface. This feature allows you to use the benefits of bots without having to rely on data scientists or developers. It helps to address many of the current challenges in building bots. You can eliminate the gap between the subject matter experts and development teams that are building the bots, including the latency between teams that are recognizing an issue and updating the bot to address it. Power Virtual Agents also removes the complexity of exposing teams to the nuances of conversational AI and the need to write complex code.

Using Power Virtual Agents will help your organization to:

  • Better empower your teams. Your teams can build bots without needing intermediaries, coding, or AI expertise.

  • Reduce costs. You can automate common inquiries, which will give agents time to focus on more complex issues.

  • Improve customer satisfaction. Customers have access to an all-day, self-help solution to help resolve their issues through comprehensive, personalized bot conversations.

Diagram of key advantages of Power Virtual Agents.

One key advantage of using Power Virtual Agents is its ease of deployment. With just a few clicks, you can sign up, create a bot, and embed it into your organization's website. Microsoft's conversational AI capabilities allow customers to have comprehensive, multi-turn conversations where they are guided to the appropriate solution. By providing a few examples of the topic that you want the bot to handle, you can build the conversation, and your bot will be ready to handle customer requests. For example, consider the scenario where your organization has analyzed its incoming support topics and has identified that a large portion of customer issues relates to store hours and shipping issues. In that situation, you could build a Power Virtual Agents bot around those topics, which will help the customer can gain answers quickly from the bot without initiating a request to a human agent. Because Power Virtual Agents works conjointly with applications like Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights, you can use Customer Service Insights to help determine which support topics are trending and can be automated with Power Virtual Agents so that you can update your bot with those topics.

Power Virtual Agents bots can converse with your customers and can also be designed to act on their behalf. Power Virtual Agents bots can be integrated with services and network systems out-of-the-box or through hundreds of custom connectors that you can add by using Power Automate. For example, if a customer has made a request that the bot isn't equipped for, the bot can escalate the conversation and then pass it, and its details, to a live agent. This process ensures that the live agent has the necessary details and context to avoid needing to recapture information from the customer. Additionally, Power Virtual Agents and Power Automate can be orchestrated to run IoT commands to the customer's device, with the customer's permission, to the virtual agent.