Microsoft Power Virtual Agents

Microsoft Power Virtual Agents, or Chatbots, as they are more broadly known, are the fastest-growing communication channel for brands. It’s easy to see why.

Virtual Agents or Chatbots are versatile and endlessly customizable. Users can speak with chatbots to make reservations, select products, answer questions, and assist with industry-specific situations. Brands use them to connect with customers. Transit systems around the world use them to inform passengers about travel times, delays, and everyday interactions. In the height of the pandemic, cities even leveraged chatbots to rapidly disseminate information to residents and free up live agents for critical tasks.

Given this flexibility and their demonstrable returns, these automated tools are quickly solidifying their role in the future of the customer journey and the customer experience.

As consumers’ expectations surrounding 24/7 service evolve, no industry is immune from round-the-clock demand for communication. To remain competitive, organizations — from start-ups to established institutions — must rise to the occasion.

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Power Virtual Agents

Since no two companies are alike, pre-programmed chatbots do little to add value for businesses. In 2019, Microsoft released Power Virtual Agents — a solution that gives organizations the ability to develop their own AI-driven chatbots. This service gives companies complete control over communication, public relations, and customer assistance.

Organizations across industries, time zones, and markets are turning to Microsoft’s Power Virtual Agents for their chatbot needs. By automating common interactions with chatbots, human agents are free to address more complex issues. As a result, businesses have the capacity to handle high volumes of queries and rapidly respond to customer needs at scale.

Power Virtual Agents can be incorporated into existing business processes, and additional functionality can be added for organizations using other Microsoft solutions.

What Is Microsoft Power Virtual Agents?

Power Virtual Agents is a no-code chatbot builder. Using the Power Virtual Agents solution, organizations can easily create complex, responsive chatbots — without the need to involve developers or data scientists.

It is available in multiple languages as both a standalone application and a Microsoft Teams add-on.

Power Virtual Agents allows users to build, test, and launch intelligent chatbots for a wide range of applications. For example, organizations can build chatbots to:

  • Inform customers about store hours
  • Answer frequently asked support questions
  • Assist with sales inquiries
  • Nurture leads
  • Gather necessary customer data
  • Provide employees with answers to HR questions
  • Funnel leads and opportunities to the right human agent

Whatever the need, Power Virtual Agents lets organizations create their own solutions to common queries and complex issues alike. The resulting chatbots can be deployed across websites, apps, Microsoft Teams, Facebook, and any channel that uses the Azure Bot Framework.

How Can a Microsoft Virtual Assistant Grow Your Business?

Microsoft Power Virtual Agents have endless potential. Having AI-powered chatbots give organizations the opportunity to converse with their customers, clients, patients, investors, and employees — whoever (and wherever) their target audience may be.

According to Insider Intelligence, almost 40% of internet users prefer communicating with chatbots over human agents for common sales and support questions. Not only that, but consumer retail spend using chatbots is estimated to reach $142 billion by 2024 (an increase of nearly 5,000% compared to 2019).

Not only does a Power Virtual Agent improve communication and bring in valuable sales, it helps businesses maintain a competitive advantage, generate leads, strengthen brand awareness, improve business intelligence, and free up employees’ time for tasks that can’t be automated.

According to a Forrester Consulting study conducted in September 2021, entitled, “The Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Power Virtual Agents,” businesses reported:

Microsoft dynamics gp

261% average ROI over three years


50% less time required to resolve customer support tickets

Microsoft dynamics for medical device manufacturing

80% less effort to build and maintain chatbots compared to existing processes

Power Virtual Agent Features

Power Virtual Agents comes with a robust set of features to simplify the process of creating chatbots. These include:

  • Convenient testing: Users can test chatbots as they’re being built to assess the experience and look for any logic jumps or inconsistencies. Bots can be deployed to a demo website so that colleagues and decision makers can provide valuable feedback without having to publish it.
  • Visual aids:Topic flows are expressed visually to show the entire chat progression.
  • Predefined entities and templates: For quicker building, users can select from a list of common options, including pre-built strings for multiple choice options, age, city, binary options (yes/no, true/false, etc.), post-chat CSAT surveys, and more.
  • Embed options across multiple channels: Organizations can use their chatbots on Slack, Teams, Cortana, Skype, Facebook, custom websites, mobile apps, and more.
  • Pre-built connectors and integrations: Teams can connect back end data to a number of built-in integrations, including Microsoft Outlook, Office 365, OneDrive, SharePoint, Twitter, Mailchimp, Salesforce, LiveChat, Adobe Creative Cloud, Gmail, RSS feeds, and more.
  • One-click publishing: When a chatbot is ready for activation, it can be published with a single click.
  • Powerful built-in analytics: Organizations can monitor and optimize chatbots with the help of artificial intelligence and comprehensive data tracking. Teams can view engagement rates, session outcomes, customer satisfaction, topic triggers, billing, and more. If a bot was unable to match a customer request with an existing topic, it would suggest new topics (and track chat transcripts for related queries) to expand coverage.

Chatbot Functionality

In addition to its many features, customer-facing chatbots can be configured so that when a customer needs to speak with a human agent, the hand-off from AI bot to support employee is seamless. The live agent can view the full chat history and all information collected during the interaction.

Highlights for Dynamics 365 Customer Service include the solution’s chat add-in that lets teams connect both text and voice conversations to leverage Omnichannel.

By using the Power Virtual Agents app in Microsoft Teams, organizations can use pre-built chatbot templates to address internal employee queries. For example, businesses can easily create an Employee FAQ chatbot in as little as 30 minutes to answer employees’ most common HR, IT, and business process questions.

Build Chatbot Workflows

To build a chatbot workflow, users have the option to customize a template, design something from scratch, or crowdsource ideas from support forums. The process for creating a bot is as follows:

  • Select a topic. These vary by company and industry, but may include topics like company hours, store location, shipping information, canceling a subscription, returns, etc.)
  • Assign trigger phrases and conversation nodes to the topic. These are questions, keywords, and common phrases that customers may type into a chat. AI will use natural language understanding to connect a customer’s message to the appropriate node or trigger phrase.
  • Design the conversation path. Using a user-friendly interface, creators can add and link nodes; insert questions, ask actions, and show messages between triggers; and view the conversation in a visual format.
  • Test the chatbot. Users can test a bot on a demo website to ensure the experience runs smoothly.

Integrate PVA With Microsoft Teams

Power Virtual Agents can be used as an app within Microsoft Teams, and it is ideal for organizations that wish to provide quick, thorough answers to questions posed by employees.

For example, a payroll coordinator can build a chatbot to help coworkers find tax forms. An HR director can design a chatbot for employees to use anytime they have a question about their PTO balance. A supervisor may create one chatbot workflow to field questions about expense reports and another about safely returning to the office after COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.

Power Virtual Agents Services

The right Microsoft Power Virtual Agents partner understands how to give better support with an AI-driven chatbot. Stoneridge Software offers several services that range from chatbot design and implementation to team training exercises.

Microsoft Power Virtual Agents Implementation

While Power Virtual Agents is a no-code solution, some organizations prefer assistance with the implementation and customization processes. Stoneridge Software consultants can document and review an organization’s existing business processes to determine how Power Virtual Agents can deliver the most value. Then, architects will assist in building out chatbots and deploying them to the proper channels.

Microsoft Power Virtual Agents Tutorials & Demos

For teams that wish to receive training on Power Virtual Agents, the Stoneridge Software team provides in-depth tutorials and product walkthroughs. Organizations may also request a Power Virtual Agents demo to see firsthand whether the chatbot builder is right for their business.

Microsoft Power Virtual Agents Onboarding

Stoneridge Software offers onboarding and ongoing support for those who want assistance maintaining and optimizing their chatbots. In the early days immediately following the publishing of a chatbot, organizations can receive expert advice about data analysis and any modifications that should be made.

Learn More About Power Virtual Agents

Contact us about how Power Virtual Agents can help your business grow.


Power Virtual Agents Pricing

Customers can purchase Power Virtual Agents licenses, giving clients the ability to build and run chatbots for a specific number of sessions. Refer to the Microsoft licensing costs page for current Virtual Agent pricing.

*Note: A session begins when a user topic is triggered and ends when one of the following conditions is met:

  • The user’s questions are answered
  • The conversation exceeds 60 minutes or 100 turns

Power Virtual Agents Licensing

To be eligible for a Power Virtual Agents license, a user must have access to Microsoft Dynamics 365 admin center as either a global administrator or a billing administrator.


Power Virtual Agents Documentation

Documentation for Power Virtual Agents can be found on Microsoft’s website. Common articles include:

Frequently Asked Questions: Virtual Assistant

Here are commonly asked questions about Power Virtual Agents.

Does Microsoft Power Virtual Agents Work With Other Microsoft Tools?

Yes. Power Virtual Agents seamlessly works with other Microsoft tools, including:

  • Microsoft Teams
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service
  • Microsoft Power Apps portal
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • Microsoft OneDrive
  • Microsoft SharePoint

Additionally, Power Virtual Agents can easily be connected to an organization’s data source thanks to hundreds of pre-built connectors. Users can also design new workflows using Power Automate.

Chatbots can then be deployed across Microsoft Teams, custom websites, mobile apps, Facebook, Skype, Cortana, Slack, Telegram, Twilio, LINE, Kik, and anywhere the Azure Bot Framework works.

Are There Templates For Chatbots?

Yes. Customers using Power Virtual Agents for Microsoft Teams have access to templates for chatbots. Unfortunately, the Power Virtual Agents web app does not currently support templates. For web app users who wish to customize pre-built chatbots, Stoneridge Software architects can develop chatbot workflows.

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Bring Microsoft Power Virtual Agents To Your Website

Join organizations from around the world — SMBs and enterprises alike — to leverage the transformative powers of Microsoft’s chatbot builder. Companies like T-Mobile, Coca-Cola, Progressive, Toyota, and even the Miami Dolphins have added Power Virtual Agents to their communication channels.

Request a Power Virtual Agents demo today to learn how your team can build chatbots, connect with customers at scale, and optimize your communication. We’re here to help!