Deliver Total Experience With Microsoft Power Virtual Agents

Deliver Total Experience with Microsoft Power Virtual Agents

With multiple technologies working together to decipher the language, context, and intent to respond in an almost human manner, Conversational AI has seen staggering growth in the last few years. 70% of the world’s white-collar population has adopted it as a way of life. Today, organizations worldwide are using chatbots, among other technologies, to meet employee and customer experience needs and deliver what Gartner calls Total Experience (TX).

Microsoft Power Virtual Agents is one such intelligent no-code solution that allows businesses of all sizes to create chatbots to engage with customers and employees. This bot-builder is part of the Microsoft Power Platform that gives it access to powerful technologies, making it a compelling tool for your business.

What is Power Virtual Agent?

At its core, Microsoft Power Virtual Agents provides the building blocks for customizable AI chatbots. It allows businesses to stay connected to customers, employees, and other intended users 24×7, answer queries in real-time and improve self-service capabilities through company websites or employee platforms. Eventually, chatbots designed on Power Virtual Agents reduce the workload on CX, HR, and IT helpdesk teams.

Easy to customize for the unique needs of each business, Power Virtual Agents do not depend on high-end resources like data scientists and developers. This allows any business user, even in smaller firms, to build bots that deliver the same interactivity and experience as large brands. In addition, Power Virtual Agents is available as a standalone application on the web or as an app within Microsoft Teams, giving businesses the flexibility on where they choose to deploy it.

Power Virtual Agents vs. other bot builders – what's the difference?

With conversational AI becoming the new norm for TX, many fly-by-the-night bot builders are available. But none with the nuances and ease of use of Power Virtual Agents.

Some features that differentiate Power Virtual Agents include –

1. Ease of use and cost-effectiveness

Power Virtual Agents allows the bot to be built quickly without any high-end resources or skills. With its no-code, intuitive UI, PVA is perfect for users with little or no technical capabilities and advanced developers. In addition, the pre-built drag-and-drop features supported by Microsoft Power Automate make this no-code process easy to deploy.

2. Deep customization

Business can integrate their relevant processes with Power Virtual Agents with pre-built connectors. This allows them to quickly customize and deploy bots on your website, social media, and Microsoft Teams, among other platforms, to engage with the end-user in various contexts.

3. Simple escalation hierarchy

Power Virtual Agents addresses low-level requests, freeing up customer service resources. But it also enables the bot to flag a concern that needs live, human intervention. Ultimately, this means a quick resolution of customer or employee queries despite lean dependence on person-hours.

4. Performance monitoring

The inbuilt data-driven insights and AI-enabled analytics allow for real-time monitoring of the chatbot’s performance. This ensures continuous learning and improvement in a company’s conversational AI experience.

5. Real-time adaptation

The Microsoft Azure machine learning capabilities inherent to PVA allow the chatbots to adapt to real-time situations and deliver accurate responses. This ensures that your bot is almost human-like in its response, making the experience more personalized for the customer.

6. Round-the clock-customer support

No more waiting for opening hours! Chatbot’ agents’ can now be available for end-users in a time-zone agnostic manner. So, whether your employee wants information on healthcare insurance at 2 am during an emergency or your customer asks WISMO at midnight, you can rest assured that they will get the answers they need.

The evolution of Power Virtual Agents

As recently as May 2022, Microsoft announced many transformative new features that make Power Virtual Agents more potent than ever. According to Microsoft, the new and improved platform unifies the sophistication of Microsoft Azure Bot Framework Composer’s pro-code capabilities with the simplicity of the existing low-code platform. Simply put, Power Virtual Platform now allows professional developers and subject matter experts to work collaboratively to build a bot on the unified Microsoft Bot Building Studio. An additional feature will enable it to go from a simple bot-builder to a complete suite of interactive voice response (IVR) builder. This is made possible by incorporating an end-to-end backend support framework for telephony. It now also includes the agility of Power BI, which helps with data visualization, self-service analytics, and data protection.

This evolution is built around four main themes:

1. Unified bot building to leverage the true potential of the Microsoft stack

With the new single unified bot building studio, Power Virtual Agents now incorporates-

  • The advanced functionality of Bot Framework Composer with the bot-building experience of Power Virtual Agents.
  • Deep integration of Bot Framework Composer and Microsoft Cognitive Services, allowing professional developers and domain experts to collaborate easily in building powerful conversational bots and IVRs.

2. Advanced authoring for richer experiences

With this new feature, Power Virtual Agents now delivers –

  • Richer conversations with integrated multi-media response support through images and video sharing, adaptive cards, and quick response capabilities
  • Data storage, reuse, and transformation for professional developers. Made possible by the use of the Power FX editor to connect to the custom API via the Microsoft Power Platform connectors, elicit a response, resolve it into its parts and ultimately transform the information for use within the conversation
  • Reaction to events with contextual responses. For example, for a product delivery query, any system information on delivery updates will trigger the bot to respond with “Your product will reach you soon.” or “Your product is in transit in X location.”
  • Logic using variables, loops, and advanced conversational flows to make the interaction as close to mimicking a human interaction as possible

3. Seamless Fusion Teams collaboration

According to Gartner, 84% of companies have set up Fusion Teams, i.e., multi-disciplinary teams of technology and other experts. Power Virtual Agents now allows the collaboration of these Fusion Teams in the bot-building process, with features like multi-authoring and commenting that is similar to the MS Office experience. So, for example, your bot-building process can now have technology and psychology experts working together to deliver the most humane conversation AI experiences to your customers and employees.

4. IVR and Telephony for multichannel conversational AI support

Power Virtual Agents has progressed from a simple bot builder to an end-to-end IVR builder. Now, all businesses need is a phone number and a bot published on the back of it. And the next thing you know, your customers are engaging with your bot on the phone! This not only reduces customer service workload but also addresses delays in response times for the customer. More importantly, it makes conversational AI more inclusive, bringing elderly users into its fold who are more comfortable with phone conversations than with web- or platform-based chatbots.

How businesses are deploying Power Virtual Agents with Acuvate

With conversational AI becoming a must-have for organizations, Acuvate and Microsoft have delivered humane, sentient, and genuinely effective chatbots across the TX spectrum with Power Virtual Agents.

Some of the use-cases include –

1. Employee assistant chatbots

Using the latest features of PVA, Acuvate built Employee Assistant Chatbots to answer employees’ FAQs. This bot deployment was highly effective and helpful during the last two years of remote work and COVID concerns.

The chatbot can –

  • Issue COVID-related information, including insights from official sources, preventive measures and tips, COVID-19 health checks for employees, etc.
  • Deliver company-specific information, including advisories, news from the organization, and emergency contact details.
  • Act as an HR helpdesk, answering employees’ HR-related queries with minimal human intervention.

Yet another example of HR chatbots for employee experience include a turnkey project that Acuvate delivered for Neptune Energy, a large energy company that wanted to streamline its HR information seeding. With the sentient HR Handbook Bot built in a record two weeks using Power Virtual Agents, Neptune’s employees now have instant information and answers on terms and conditions, rewards and benefits, policies and procedures, and offshore employee guidance. Click here to read more about the success of Neptune’s HR Handbook Bot.

2. Customer support chatbots

No matter the size of your organization, ease of customer query resolution is always top of mind. Power Virtual Agents enables customer support automation with no-code capabilities. So, your customer support is up and running quickly and customized to deal with queries specific to the nature of your business. Simple questions like – ‘what are your working hours,’ ‘how soon can I expect my order to be delivered’ or ‘I need help to understand the refund process for the item I wish to return’ – can be easily programmed to be quickly dealt with by your chatbot. The system will flag queries beyond its scope and escalate seamlessly to a human agent wherever necessary.

3. IT helpdesk

IT-related issues can be aggravating, especially for employees working remotely. For example, imagine you are on a project deadline, and your system shuts down for unforeseeable reasons. When you call your IT Helpdesk, you are guided through all the possibilities of addressing the situation with automated IVR. If the matter is resolved, the ticket can be satisfactorily closed. If not, it can be escalated to a live helpdesk agent. This is how seamless and cost-effective Power Virtual Agents can make your IT and query resolution process.

Begin your chatbot journey with the next-gen Microsoft Power Virtual Agents

67% of consumers worldwide have interacted with a chatbot in the last 12 months, with an estimated 57-fold increase by 2025.

It is not too late to begin your conversational AI journey. Acuvate is ready to walk you through this process and help you achieve the maximum effectiveness from your Power Virtual Agents investment.

Talk to our experts today.