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Power Virtual Agents: Taking the Chatbot Game to the Next Level

Post Author: Joe D365 |

Today’s post is the first in a two-part series dedicated to exploring Microsoft Power Virtual Agents. In this initial article, we will focus on what Power Virtual Agents is and what it can do. In next month’s part two, we’ll examine the difference between Chatbots and Intelligent Chatbots. Let’s get started!

Power Virtual Agents (PVA) is the fourth and latest component of Microsoft Power Platform, the Business Applications suite of products that also includes Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI. If you’re not already familiar with Power Platform, it’s easiest to think of the four components as a suite of builder tools:

  • Power Apps is low-code app builder.
  • Power Automate is a low-code process automation builder.
  • Power BI is a data analysis report builder.
  • Power Virtual Agents is a customer service chatbot builder.

In Microsoft’s own words, “Power Virtual Agents lets you create powerful chatbots that can answer questions posed by your customers, other employees, or visitors to your website or service. These bots can be created easily without the need for data scientists or (professional) developers.”

And speaking of professional developers, now is the perfect time to make a clear distinction between professional developers and what the Power Platform community refers to as citizen developers:

A professional developer is a traditional IT programmer – someone whose job involves data science, writing code, and developing new solutions for the benefit of the entire organization.

A citizen developer is an end user who creates new business applications, automations, and chatbots within his/her own job role. This new generation of developers emerged with the advent of the intuitive and low-code suite of Power Platform tools.

Chatbots Built by Citizen Developers

So, yes, that’s one of the keys to PVA: even citizen developers can create chatbot functionality to streamline processes, handle common inquiries, and drive efficiency in the contact center. Indeed, PVA has a tremendous impact on KPIs like case deflection, capacity, and customer satisfaction. Intelligent chatbots enable your agents to spend less time on simple calls that bots can handle and more time on high value interactions to identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

Businesses across industries are using PVA to:

  • Tap into Artificial Intelligence (AI), easily creating intelligent chatbots without code or internal AI expertise.
  • Collaborate and engage with coworkers, resolving common issues without having to rely on IT.
  • Deliver “anytime support,” answering questions from customers around the clock – 24/7/365.
  • Create self-service opportunities, empowering employees and customer alike with self-help options to get answers when they need them.

Creating chatbots with PVA is surprisingly simple. Like the rest of Power Platform, PVA provides builders with an intuitive and easy-to-use graphical interface for designing, building, and managing chatbots. Microsoft has made the tool so user-friendly that you can easily integrate your chatbots with the products and services you use every day without relying on code!

Whatever you’re trying to accomplish, you can choose from hundreds of connectors to help create bots that look up records, personalize conversations, transfer client conversations to a live agent, call APIs, and so much more. The bottom line is that with PVA, you’re building smarter bots by tapping into natural language understanding, entity extraction, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data-driven insights.

To get you thinking and excited about the potential of Power Virtual Agents in your own organization, here are a few business use cases for which PVA is the perfect tool:

  • Store hours, locations, directions, and other information
  • Standard employee or customer FAQs
  • COVID-19 protocols
  • Product support issues
  • Employee health and vacation benefits

But don’t limit yourself… with PVA and the rest of Power Platform, there’s probably nothing you can’t accomplish!

And that’s Power Virtual Agents at the core. Stay tuned next month for the second installment of our two-part blogpost series on PVA – we’ll be comparing Chatbots and Intelligent Chatbots, as well as exploring how to make your chatbots more intelligent. In the meantime, learn more about taking Power Platform to the next level in your organization. Happy PVA’ing!

By Joe D365
Joe D365 is a Microsoft Dynamics 365 superhero who runs on pure Dynamics adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe D365’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics 365 and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.

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