New Age Conversational AI

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“Hi Honey, just checking in about Sunday dinner don’t you dare cut me off! Get off the road you crappy driver. Wait don’t send that agh”  How many times have you accidentally received a text like this as your mom or dad struggles to drive and use Siri to send you a message? Have you ever been on the other end sending that embarrassing message?

In one of our latest podcasts with Senior Consultant at Chat Mode Chad Oda, and Billy Batemen, they discuss the future of voice and chatbot in conversational AI. And let me tell you, it’s a pretty bright one. Using voice on Microsoft teams to automate simple tasks, integrating voice into businesses through simple use cases, and the conversation around chat and voice bots across different channels are some of their diverting topics. And we have some more thoughts- let’s dive in!

What is Conversational AI?

We love it when the name itself is a description! Conversational AI is the use of technology to manage conversation; involving messaging apps, speech-based assistants, and chatbots. Doesn’t seem too difficult, right?

In Microsoft, Conversational AI tools help developers build, connect, deploy, and manage bots that can then interact with users on their site and websites, apps, Cortana, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Slack, etc. This is awesome! Not only can you have chatbots booking meetings and interacting with users while you’re sleeping, but it integrates into almost anything so you can keep and upgrade all of your platforms!

The Benefits- In Use Cases

Chad Oda reminds us of the introduction of Uber. When Uber first was introduced- customers were amazed. All of a sudden, people scheduling rides felt like they had superpowers. A person could use their phone to have someone pick them up from their exact location- with the click of a button!

This should always be the goal for customer experience in conversational AI.  Chatbots can be used to simplify 20 steps into 1 step. When put into practice, this idea of a superhuman customer could be looking closer than anyone thought. Actually, there has always been a possibility to adapt bots into many platforms including Microsoft teams. Although when they first came out they were a little ahead of their time. Now that conversational AI is looking like the new sliced bread of the technology world, let’s take a look at some of the Microsoft use case benefits!

Use Case 1- NOTIFICATIONS

How does your management team know if employees are hitting their targets every day? Currently, a lot of executives have to pull information from 4-5 different places and check to make sure the numbers align. This is a problem. A problem with an easier solution. Notifications that come daily to show how the company is doing and if people are or aren’t hitting their targets are not only possible but crucial to saving time.

Use Case 2- KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT

Businesses often have a knowledge repository that they don’t know how to manage. People can go through and try to make sense of how to analyze all the information in different places (in SharePoint or other platforms)… OR a bot can go through the information and then make it easy for the company to access quickly.

Use Case 3- BUSINESS PROCESS AUTOMATION

Chatbots can now be used to trigger or build out business automation. Pulling reports, pushing data into a CRM system, pulling data out of the CRM system. This level of complex intelligence understanding allows bots to be used for more than just an initial transaction of task-driven conversations. This not only SOUNDS super cool, but it IS super cool because it can streamline a business for simplicity, achieve digital transformation, increase service quality, improve service delivery, all while ultimately containing costs.

The Immersion of Conversational Intelligence

Normally a sales rep is in charge of inputting opportunities to Microsoft Dynamics. But chatbots can be utilized here too. At a basic level, a sales rep could use a chatbot to input opportunities and tasks of a similar level. However, let’s dig into a deeper ability here. In a secondary layer, once the opportunity is entered into the system, they can then add robotic process automation on top of that. Input it into the CRM, they then use RPA to do a lookup of that person and pull additional information from the Internet or databases that you have access to, finally putting that information into the CRM system as well.

This is a little bit complex, but using the bot framework you can build the bot (and it’s functions) from scratch. Microsoft Power Virtual Agents is a chatbot development platform that can integrate with Bot Framework Composer to help build bots and conversational experiences.

Bot Framework Composer has the 2 components of google dialogue flow. You can get in even if you aren’t a developer. No matter your position, you’ll know what you’re doing!

Microsoft Power Virtual Agents is basically the ManyChat and ChatFuel type of graphical user interface (GUI). This goes in and builds bots and easily deploys them into Microsoft teams. It can easily pull in data sources from all of these value-added solutions. If It. OR any API connectors. Power Virtual Agents will then host and execute complex dialogues created in composer.

The Addition of Voice

If you know your stuff, you may have noticed that we’ve hinted at the idea of using non-traditional communication methods throughout this article. Voice is one we want to address very obviously. Already voice assistants in vehicles or home virtual assistants are common-place. But the potential for voice is much higher than playing your favorite song or mapping you to the closest grocery store. Complex voice integration in businesses hasn’t played a dominant role yet, but Microsoft is working to channel that. 2 of the steps they might be working on are: integrating voice into businesses through simple use cases, and a combination of chat and voice bots across different channels.

According to Oda, “Voice is the next frontier!” Voice integration with chat could come in clutch when dealing with not only the pros, but also the cons to using voice. AND the buzz around voice can potentially lead to some really cool ways to increase quality time spent up to 90% and cut out any of the mundane and robotic tasks. We can leave those to the robots 😉

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