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Unboxing: Power Virtual Agents – Chatbots Life

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At any point in time you can test your designed conversation flows. By selecting the chatbot icon in the bottom-left of the portal, the Test-window will open up. Here, you can start mimicking a conversation to try-out your chatbot. There is a possibility to switch on the ‘Track between topics’. A great feature, allowing you to look under the hood and see which decisions your chatbot made based on your input! It shows you the Topic that got triggered and what step in the flow he executed successfully.

Next mission: being a pain in the ass and forcing my chatbot to make mistakes! 😈 This led to a big (BIG) surprise! As you can see in the previous image, I trained my chatbot for a Topic ‘Password Reset’. In this Topic’s flow, I designed it to ask an additional question before showing an answer. This is a Multiple Choice Option to specify the type of password he or she is having issues with. The test-devil in me couldn’t resist of trying to make the chatbot look dumb and in a first message I already mentioned the specific type of password I wanted to reset. Expecting it to fail and offering me the options again, the chatbot understood that I already provided a Password Type and thus skipped the additional question! In other words, a built-in Natural Language Understanding feature. That’s awesome 🔥 🔥 and is really a game-changer for chatbot developers!

On the left: me trying to mislead my chatbot: it automatically recognized the PasswordType option and skipped the additional question. On the right you can see the Topic Track feature!

With just an easy click on the button you can publish your chatbot so it can be accessed from outside of the platform. You can configure a channel of your choice to push the chatbot on. Another possibility is to make use of the demo website provided by Microsoft. This shows you a basic website with an in-built WebChat version of your chatbot and allows you to share and perform some tests with externals!

The analytics look promising, but I think they need to improve the performance a little. They are not “real-time”, meaning: there is a delay of 1 hour before conversations gets processed and stats are visible. After 1 hour, stats about the conversations executed (including the in-portal and demo website tests) are processed and visualized with Power BI! You can also access the raw data of your sessions and download them as csv-files, containing transcripts and other details of each conversation.

Remark: For analytic purposes, I would recommend always to end your flows with or a ‘End Conversation Node’ or a ‘Switch Topic Node’ in which you redirect the flow to one of the System Topics (i.e. Goodbye, Start over..). In that way, you create better stats about the success & failure of your chatbot. I didn’t provide clear ends to my flows. As a result, many of my tests were considered as ‘abandoned conversations’, although they were successful.

Re-training and improving your chatbots ability to recognize topics. While testing I noticed that my Topic ‘Password Rest’ wasn’t trained enough (i.e. not enough Trigger Phrases were provided). As a consequence my chatbot showed a default ‘I don’t understand’-message.

It would be a great feature if all the utterances that were not understood by the chatbot get summarized and you would be able manually appoint the utterance to the correct topic (if possible). So adding them as Triggered Phrases and hence, re-training your chatbot to improve its performance.

A button to go to the Authoring Canvas you want, directly. Now you can only do this by: first navigating to the Topics pane → selecting the Topic you would like to see → In the Topic Detail view clicking on th ‘Go to authoring canvas’ button. Only then, you are able to view the Topic flow in the Authoring Canvas. If you would like to switch to another Topic’s flow, you need to perform all these steps again…

Modifying the default ‘I don’t understand’ message. I‘ve tried to search the Message Node of this default ‘I don’t understand’ message, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to locate it in the portal. Maybe it is in there, so any tips or guidelines would be very helpful!

Loved it! ❤️ It is really a game changer, very easy to understand and to work with. It enables a chatbot project team to visualize the chatbot more quickly and try it out with a limited amount of people (→ “Design, develop, dare to deploy.. repeat!” 😉). The demo website with built-in WebChat example is a big plus! The fact that the Natural Language Understanding part is built-in and automatically enabled for your custom entities is great! Very promising tool and really happy I found some time to test it out. Already have some clear ideas in mind how to use this tool to let my clients’ chatbot wishes take off!🚀



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