customer service

Power Virtual Agents: Everything You Need to Know About it

Online chat is now a popular way to engage with customers, employees, or website visitors instantly. Microsoft Power Virtual Agents offer a no-code solution to easily create smart bots, helping to improve self-service, reduce customer service tasks, and keep your business connected.

In this blog, we discuss what makes Microsoft Power Virtual Agents unique, its features and benefits, and give examples of how it could be used in your organisation.

What is Power Virtual Agents?

Microsoft PVA, part of the Power Platform, allows users to create chatbots for different tasks. It supports both simple and complex conversations, enabling the creation of chatbots that can interact with users effectively. PVA integrates with the Power Platform to easily deploy websites, MS Teams, and SharePoint.

Being a low-code platform, PVA is accessible to people without the need for programming skills thanks to its user-friendly drag-and-drop interface. This simplifies the bot creation process, allowing creators to focus on building effective chatbots without unnecessary complexity.

The Benefits of Microsoft Power Virtual Agents

  1. Easily build your own chatbots: Its no-code interface lets anyone create and deploy their own chatbot with no technical skills needed.
  2. Integration: Hundreds of pre-built connectors let you add chatbots to websites, social media, Microsoft Teams, or your apps.
  3. 24/7 customer service: Agents are available in different time zones, making it convenient for international organisations.
  4. Personalise the experience: Change responses according to user input for a smooth conversation flow.
  5. Increased customer satisfaction: A chatbot gives instant answers to questions and escalates complex issues to customer service staff to make sure the customer is happy.

How Does Microsoft Power Virtual Agents Work?

Power Virtual Agents leverages Microsoft’s bot framework to enable sophisticated conversational experiences. This framework provides a comprehensive environment for building, testing, and deploying chatbots.

The straightforward graphical interface allows for quick bot creation, even on a tight budget. Chatbots can field questions from your site’s FAQ, manage order issues, and understand natural language queries.

Power Virtual Agents can execute specific actions based on conditions set through Power Automate and connectors to back-end systems. Monitoring chatbot performance is possible, enabling necessary adjustments for improvement.

You can design a chatbot’s conversation flow with a topic in Power Virtual Agents. Customisation is key, and users can create bots using templates or from scratch.

Topics activate through certain phrases or questions. When a user types one of these, the chatbot responds appropriately.

Conversation nodes dictate the chatbot’s responses and actions. Integrated natural language processing AI ensures the chatbot picks the correct response. For example, asking “opening hours” prompts the robot to reply with the store’s operating times.

What is the Use Case of the Power Virtual Agents Chatbot?

Power Virtual Agents are versatile. They help stores and help desks quickly find answers in large databases. Human Resources uses this service to find specific rules and provide relevant documents to employees. During recruitment, these agents manage the onboarding process.

In training and education, they guide employees to training sessions or learning opportunities. Companies use Power Virtual Agents on Microsoft Teams to automate answers to employee questions.

An Example of Power Virtual Agents Functionality

In Power Virtual Agents, a topic outlines how a bot conversation will unfold, and users can customise this. They can create a bot using templates or from scratch. A topic includes trigger phrases – words or questions likely typed by users related to a specific problem. Conversation nodes define the bot’s responses and actions. The AI uses natural language understanding to determine the correct response based on what a customer types, matching it to the right trigger phrase or node.

For instance, if a user types “Open hours” into the bot, the AI will link this to the “Store hours” topic. The bot then initiates a conversation to find out which location the customer is asking about and shows the opening hours for that store or office. Users can test the bot’s conversation flow in the ‘Test bot’ pane within Power Virtual Agents before it goes live.

Using Power Virtual Agents

Ideas for Using Power Virtual Agents in Your Company

Microsoft Teams (MS Teams) is a top collaboration and sharing tool many organisations use. Power Virtual Agents empowers you to create conversational bots with AI and cognitive skills. Using MS Teams together with Power Virtual Agents can automate many tasks. Here are some examples of how Power Virtual Agent can be used in your organisation through MS Teams.

1. Using Power Virtual Agents to Submit Timesheets

You can use Power Virtual Agents to set up a bot in MS Teams linked to the business’s time sheeting application. This makes submitting timesheets very easy for employees. Users just need to chat with the bot in MS Teams to submit their timesheet without logging into any other desktop or web application. Your timesheet submission is as simple as sending a chat message at the end of the day.

2. Look Up Your Knowledge Base and FAQs in Microsoft Teams

Every department in an organisation often gets asked the same questions. Employees frequently request links and information through chat or emails from their colleagues or managers.

You can use Power Virtual Agents to create a conversational bot in MS Teams to look up these FAQs and the business knowledge base. Initially, users would tell the bot what they need, and the bot would retrieve the answers from the company’s FAQ list or a business knowledge base article. This means no more searching for information or digging through the knowledge base. Just ask the bot, and it will provide the right answers directly in MS Teams.

3. Use the Power Virtual Agents in Microsoft Teams to Submit Your Leaves

Don’t write approval emails or use a different system for leave requests. Create a leave bot, integrate it with your company’s leave management software, and use it in MS Teams. This simplifies the leave process, making it as easy as chatting with your manager.

4. Customer Order Requests Using Power Virtual Agents

Power Virtual Agents can manage requests like order details and tracking if your business handles customer orders. Deploy these agents on your website with the web builder. Many customer questions are simple, seeking basic order information.

Use the web-based editor to create and deploy a bot on your website. Once deployed, the bot can provide first-level support by handling customer inquiries. Power Virtual Agents can pass the query to a customer service representative or even to a developer for more complex issues.

For businesses with a Facebook page, you can also use the bot on Facebook Messenger. Customers can ask questions through Messenger, and the bot will reply to their queries.

FAQs

How do I get Power Virtual Agents?

Use Microsoft Teams app store and look for Power Virtual Agents. Click Add or Open if you have it installed. The name Power Virtual Agents will be changed to Microsoft Copilot Studio soon.

How many topics can a Power Virtual Agent have?

A Power Virtual Agent can handle up to 1,000 topics, covering many FAQs and common questions in an organisation. This ensures efficient response to most user inquiries. For questions beyond these topics, the agent redirects them to a human team member for extra help. This approach simplifies communication and lightens the load on customer service teams.

Is Power Virtual Agent part of Power Platform?

Yes, Power Virtual Agent is a key part of the Microsoft Power Platform suite. It integrates well with Power BI, Power Apps, and Power Automate to offer business analytics, app development, and automation solutions.

Power Virtual Agent lets businesses create powerful chatbots that can use data and workflows from the Power Platform hosted on Azure, improving efficiency and user engagement. This integration improves chatbot functionality and opens up opportunities for data scientists or developers to use these tools for advanced data analysis, app development, and process automation, further improving efficiency and user engagement.

How much does Power Virtual Agents cost?

Power Virtual Agents’ pricing varies with service needs and usage scale. Microsoft offers pricing plans for all business sizes, from small startups to large enterprises. Costs depend on the bot’s monthly conversation or session count. For specific pricing, visit the Microsoft Power Virtual Agents website or contact Microsoft sales. A free trial is available, letting users evaluate its effectiveness and value for their organisation before buying.

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