Previewing Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service

Microsoft's latest AI-based solution, Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service is now available in preview.

Through artificial intelligence and simplifying the process to configure powerful bots, this new offering is designed to enable organisations to quickly deploy virtual agents that raise service quality.

Built on the Microsoft Bot Framework, bots are created using a guided, no-code graphical UI and then embedded within a website in a few clicks.

Presented as an easy to use system that doesn't require AI experts, data scientists or developer teams, Virtual Agent is promised to minimise the IT effort required and empower subject matter experts. Microsoft says this will enable customer teams to take the lead in creating virtual agents that will facilitate natural online conversations to answer customer questions.

To get started, a series of topics that the bot should handle will be provided and each topic will be supported by 5-10 trigger phrases / questions. Conversations are then built using a graphical editor so the bot is able to handle customer questions about these topics.

Using Microsoft Flow, Virtual Agent connects with back end systems and services through hundreds of custom connectors enabling bots to undertake actions as part of the process in resolving issues. For example, these actions could include looking up any detail in Dynamics 365, triggering a workflow or sending an email.

Throughout the build process, changes can be tried out in real-time using a test bot pane alongside the editor.

To understand which topics will be most impactful for automation, Virtual Agent integrates with Customer Service Insights which highlights clusters of common cases and emerging trends. Using these insights, service teams are able to better follow trends and make informed decisions on which topics could be handled through a web bot.

Inbuilt Virtual Agent dashboards provide insights into how bots are performing so adjustments can be made that will improve performance. This will include identifying topics which are frequently handed to human agents enabling modifications to be made that will reduce these outcomes.

Coming Soon

In its release plan for the next major Dynamics 365 update wave, published on 10 June, Microsoft announced a series of new features and improvements for Virtual Agent. These are set to be released in preview during the summer before the solution becomes generally available in October 2019, as indicated in the guide.

These include:

  • Entity extraction - to recognise, extract and act on common and custom entities in a user responses
  • Hand off to chat - Virtual Agent will be integrated out of the box with Chat to hand off seamlessly to human agents, or to a generic live chat provider
  • Extended Customer Service Insights Integration - select topics to automate from within Customer Service Insights and click through to the Virtual Agent conversation editor
  • Customise canvas theme - personalize canvas elements including avatar, background colours and chat bubble

Learn more


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