Last week Microsoft announced the release of the public preview of Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service. Virtual Agent for Customer Service is the latest Dynamics 365 AI based solution from Microsoft to enable organisations to easily transform their customer service through the power of artificial intelligence (AI).

Virtual Agent for Customer Service is built on top of Microsoft’s Bot Framework and is the culmination of years of learning and research. Through the creation of bespoke virtual agents for big enterprise customers such as Macy’s and HP, Microsoft has gained deep knowledge and hands-on expertise in this field. All of these learnings have formed the basis of the Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service launched last week.

The most exciting thing about this release is Microsoft’s focus on making the creation of virtual agents simple but without making the resulting bots simplistic. Microsoft has created a clean and intuitive solution which enables you to easily create powerful virtual agents that engage in personalised conversations – all without the need to be a developer, AI expert, or data scientist. Very similar to Microsoft PowerApps, the solution is largely low-code or no-code.

A new bot pathway

Luckily for business users, Virtual Agent for Customer Service is not about the technology, but all about the solution. Unlike other offerings, it takes the complexity out of creating, launching, and maintaining bots and puts the subject matter expert in the driver’s seat, rather than the developer, AI expert or data scientist.

screenshot to show virtual agent for customer service

With the solution’s easy to use no-code graphical designer, those closest to customer service, such as call centre agents or your technical support teams, can focus on building user conversations that easily guide users to the correct solutions. There is no need for them to have to focus on the code. Integration into existing systems is streamlined with out-of-the-box integration with Microsoft Flow and its extensive ecosystem of connectors, so the journey from signing up and creating a bot to deploying it to your site is streamlined and easy.

The result from Microsoft is a better bot! One that is available 24/7 so you can support your customers out of normal working hours. The bot can engage with users conversationally, quickly handle routine customer enquiries, take appropriate action and deliver a faster, better customer experience. This ultimately reduces costs by automating common questions and therefore freeing up agent’s time to focus on more complicated cases.

When a case cannot be handled the bot, it will seamlessly transfer the conversation over to your human agents. As shown in the examples above you can also add this as an option for users to select during all conversations. The system provides continuous guidance to customer service managers on how to improve virtual agent performance and how to configure these improvements to continuously enhance the customer experience.

Collaboration across the Microsoft stack

In terms of deciding what topics to automate using your virtual agent – this should be based on data. If you don’t already have a good analytics solution in place that automatically analyses your case data, Microsoft also has you covered.

Virtual Agent for Customer Service is nicely integrated with Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights. Customer Service Insights offers actionable views into critical customer service performance metrics and operations data – showing emerging trends and clusters of common cases that could benefit from automation. This 360 view allows teams to clearly see what the most common enquiries are and what issues are trending. Armed with this information, teams can choose which topics to automate first to provide the biggest improvement to the customer experience.

Working together, Virtual Agent for Customer Service and Customer Service Insights together enable a virtuous cycle of ‘insight to action’ to continually improve the customer experience. This feedback loop empowers customer service with the ability to identify issues, prioritise and set goals, take action and continuously analyse results to consistently deliver an excellent customer experience, all in a data-driven manner.

Virtual Agent for Customer Service can be integrated into any existing support system, you are not limited to Microsoft. However by working within the Microsoft stack, the solution is very well integrated, out-of-the-box, with Dynamics 365 for Customer Service. This integration makes it easy to create a modern, high performance engine designed to help you continuously deliver exceptional service to your customers. To find out more about how to use the solution to enhance your customer experience, please get in touch.