If you’ve ever used customer support live chat service, Nerdify, Google Assistant, or Siri, you’ve made use of a bot. Like the crazy but impressive AI we have seen in the movies, such as Terminator, Resident Evil’s Red Queen, and JARVIS from Iron Man, chatbots and virtual agents are quite conversational and helpful. This article teaches you how to build and test a bot with Power Virtual Agent.
The amazing thing about Microsoft’s Power Virtual Agent is that you can create a chatbot intuitively with a low-code/no-code approach and little-to-no understanding of natural language. As a result, the Power Virtual Agent enables data democratization, making digital tools accessible to everybody, developer or not.
Power Virtual Agents
Power Virtual Agents is part of the Microsoft Power Platform. It allows you to create intelligent bots easily and quickly to help guide your website’s customers, employees, users, or viewers. Power Virtual Agents provides a low-code/no-code development environment compared to traditional hand-coded computer programming.
The Power Virtual Agents platform is user-friendly, with no real infrastructure to maintain in deployment. Thus making Power Virtual Agents a powerful, low code Chatbot engine.
Sounds exciting, right? Let’s build a bot!
What is a bot?
Bots are applications that run automated tasks. The goal, however, is often to stimulate and imitate human activity like messaging on the Internet.
To create and manage bots with Power Virtual Agents, you need:
- A “per-user license” as an individual.
- Or a “tenant license” if building for an organization.
However, you can begin with a free trial on the Power Virtual Agent’s website. It’s also worth noting that your bot’s users will not require a license. Anybody can interact with your bot after you publish it.
Let’s build a bot
I will guide you on how to create a simple bot. To get started, go to the Power Virtual Agent website and create an account. If you don’t have a license, that’s alright. A free trial is available on the website to get you started.
Create a new bot:
- At the top-right, click the robot icon, then “New bot.”
- The “Create a new bot” dialog box pops up.
- Enter a name for your bot and a language and environment of choice.
Creating a Novel Recommendation bot called Benny
Create some topics:
- Click on “Topic” at the left-hand navigation pane.
- Click on a new topic and give your topic a name; “Novels suggestion”
- Next, we need to create trigger phrases; here you give words or phrases your users will most likely use. Power Virtual Agents’ natural language capacity uses these trigger phrases to understand your users’ intent.
- Save topic.
- Click on “authoring canvas.”
- Usually, the first step is to display a message to the user; “I can totally help you out”
- We would follow that message with a question; “What’s your favorite genre?.”
- Click the ‘+’ button and follow by “Ask a question.”
- You need to change the identity to “multiple choice options” and list all the options available to our users. You would notice as you type in a choice, it automatically branches out.
- We would keep it nice and simple. In each of our options, you would type in a link to a novel from that genre.
- We use the “+” and end the conversation with a survey and click Save.
Test your bot:
We would use “Test bot” at the left-hand navigation pane to test our bot.
- We would start the conversation with the bot by asking for something.
- This triggers our topic.
- As the conversation progresses, the designer highlights active steps with a green banner and a tick icon in the right canvas.
Publish your bot
To make your bot available for live use, click publish. To complete the process, you need to select the channel you wish to deploy your bot by clicking on “Go to channels”.
Monitoring your bot
You can monitor your bot’s usage and performance through the analytics menu in the left-hand navigation pane. On this page, you will see statistics on sessions abandoned, number of sessions resolved, number of conversations, and customer satisfaction ratings.
We can do much more with our bot, such as transferring the conversation to a human agent, sending users’ information to a team, scheduling meetings, and implementing Power Automation’s functionality.
Power Virtual Agents can helps you build a bot with no coding or AI expertise. This is done by making use of built-in trigger phrases and pre-authored conversations.
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