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12th Day of D365mas: Bots…Perfect little helpers, just like Santa’s elves

Ever wonder how Santa answers all of those letter and emails? Or how he manages all the Elves in the North Pole helping them find the right answers to their toy making questions? Well, a little known fact is that the North Pole has the latest and greatest technologies ensuring that things keep running smoothly and Santa leverages bots to handle a lot of interactions for him.

On this 12th and final day of our 12 Days of D365mas series, we’ll take a closer look at bots to see how you too can benefit from this exciting tech!

What are bots?

Typically, when we think of bots, we are actually thinking of chat bots. These chat bots are basically apps that allow for conversational responses to different inputs in a chat window. The responses can follow a logical path with varying complexity depending on the bot. Bots can communicate with text, cards, or speech as well. You may have interacted with a chat bot on a website before that was attempting to help you with an issue, or find the right product. The bot experience for the customer looks like a regular chat window, but instead of a human responding, the bot is responding. Bots can be considered a gateway to AI because AI can be leveraged to enhance the capabilities of the bot’s ability to answer different questions, like sensing the sentiment and responding appropriately.

Bots can leverage not only customer data from dynamics 365 but also other items like your knowledgebase and product catalog. Any interactions the bot has can also be stored against that customers record.

 

Why do you need one?

Gartner projects that more than 85% of customer interactions will be managed without a human by 2020, and chances are that your competitors have already deployed one.

Customer Service chat bots are a great way to dip your toe into the bot world will minimal effort and maximum value. We recommend starting with something simple, like identifying some commonly asked customer service questions, and create a chat bot that can answer them. Once you have deployed a fairly simple chat bot, and understand its capabilities more, you can start exploring more advanced ways bots can be leveraged in your organization.

How to make quick Bots

Advanced bots are code heavy and while there are frameworks available they are still considered advanced customizations; but, they do provide a great deal of business value. However, there are tools Microsoft provides that power users can leverage like the QnA Maker which lets the user create quick and simple bots. For example, you could grab the URL from a FAQ website, and using the QnA maker, you can create a bot that can answer simple questions based on the FAQ’s and drive the customer to the right answer. Below are some resources to help you get started with simple Bots:

  1. Dynamics 365 Free Trial Tenant
  2. Bot framework overview:
    1. Try Azure Bot Service Free
    2. Introduction
  3. Create a bot!

Advanced Bots

Microsoft provides a bot framework that is a set of SDK’s which provides tools and resources for designing, building, deploying and managing bots. The framework includes things like multiple language support, templates, flexible deployment options, and other tool and services. The framework allows you to build bots on top of Dynamics or other solutions like Bing or LinkedIn. The bot framework also exposes itself over rest calls and supports many different coding languages.

How do we get a bot?

Internal developers can build and deploy bots based on their skill level. Another option is to leverage a partner (like Hitachi Solutions) who can help you define, design, and deploy your new bot.

 

In closing, bots are a great tech that can help your organization streamline different processes and get the answers to your customers quickly and efficiently.

NOW is a great time to start seriously looking into bot technology and Microsoft has provided several tools to help you along your bot journey. Contact us to get started today!

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