Deploying a Virtual Agent


Note: Please do not hesitate to contact your EasyVista contact to guide you in deploying your virtual agent via assistance and audits.

A virtual agent assembles all knowledge for a set of Self Help projects, and uses it to communicate with users within a given scope via a dialogue of questions and answers.
         Virtual agent overview - EN.png

The virtual agent is deployed in several phases: 

  • Project design and preparation.
  • Import or create all Self Help projects required.
  • Adapt procedures to the identity and scope of action of the virtual agent in compliance with the style guide.
  • Create the virtual agent and assemble all data.
  • Deploy the virtual agent and ensure continual improvement of the Knowledge Base.

Project design and preparation

Functional scope of the virtual agent

The functional scope describes the scope of action for the virtual agent. It defines the topics that the virtual agent can cover in conversations with users, as well as the knowledge it requires to answer their questions.

  • The functional scope must be clearly delimited and defined for the virtual agent's specific role.
  • It must be considered:
    • In terms of integration, to configure the display of the virtual agent's answers correctly depending on the channel, i.e. Service Apps app, Web page, or Microsoft Teams collaborative platform.
               Open url.png See List of available channels.
       
    • In terms of interfacing with third-party products, to install the connection packages required for the tool and the virtual agent to communicate.
               Open url.png See List of available connection packages.

Examples

A virtual agent can play the following roles:

  • Manage access to a Knowledge Base, e.g. Support database, HR database, etc.
  • Integrate a business process, e.g. create, process or close tickets.
  • Provide automated answers to common customer questions.
  • Assemble knowledge from different tools, e.g. IT database, Salesforce database, etc.
  • Guide visitors to the right product or service.

Best Practice

  • To deploy your virtual agent rapidly, define a limited functional scope during the design phase, focused on minor tasks. Then extend the scope progressively based on user feedback (continual improvement phase).

Ergonomic aspects of the virtual agent

Several elements enable you to create a well-defined identity for the virtual agent to make it easily identifiable for users.

Personality of the virtual agent

Each customer can define a different personality for their virtual agent, with specific characteristics such as:

  • Identity: Assign a name, gender (male or female), visual identity with an avatar, etc.
  • Style of language depending on the target audience: Technical or non-technical vocabulary, informal or formal style of language, verb or noun, sense of humor, etc.
  • Level of interaction: A proactive virtual agent that initiates the conversation, or a passive virtual agent where user questions are expected first.

Best Practice

  • Define your style guide with compliance rules based on the personality you defined for the virtual agent.

Visual identity of virtual agent

The virtual agent is based on the evSH skin. However, several elements can be configured based on the visual identity you assign the virtual agent: 

  • Logo, sub-heading, virtual agent name, color of headings, etc.
  • Dominant colors and alternatives
  • Font and size

Calling the virtual agent

The virtual agent can be called in different ways:

  • A call button on each page, used to initiate a conversation
  • Automatic opening of the conversation panel as soon as the virtual agent's welcome message appears
  • Automatic opening of the conversation panel as soon as a question is asked, to initiate a new conversation

Best Practice

  • If the virtual agent is intended to relieve the load of other channels (e.g. Support website), you should encourage users to use this self-help solution. Ensure that the virtual agent is visible, i.e. more than just a button at the bottom of the page.

Characteristics of the conversation panel

Several elements can be configured for the conversation panel:

  • Font and size of text displayed in the panel
  • Color of the panel header and footer
  • Predictive text
     

Configuration is performed using the Virtual Agent widget if the virtual agent's call button is integrated in a Service Apps app.

Creation of the virtual agent

The creation of the virtual agent consists of assembling data from Self Help projects within the scope of the virtual agent. This is done via the Online Studio. Open url.png See the detailed procedure.

Structure of the virtual agent

The virtual agent assembles all knowledge for a set of Self Help projects associated with a dedicated Self Help domain, e.g. social base, other projects using third-party product data (Service Manager, Salesforce, etc.), customer projects.

  • The Self Help projects are accessible via the Desktop Studio in edit mode.
  • They are arranged in folders and subfolders to facilitate access to procedures and resources.
  • Resources are managed via a dedicated folder in each subfolder, created near the procedures that use them. Shared resources are managed at the root of the Self Help project.

Notes

  • The social base is vital for the virtual agent to work.
  • The virtual agent can be designed rapidly using templates.
    • Each template can import sets of procedures and functionalities specific to a role and a precise scope of action for the virtual agent. 
    • A new Self Help project is automatically created when a template is imported, with its entire tree structure.
  • Customers can define the visual layout of the virtual agent depending on their corporate style guide.
    • If the virtual agent is integrated within a Web page, you can customize it using the visual layout library.
    • If the virtual agent is integrated in a Service Apps app, you can customize it using the Virtual Agent widget.

Best Practice

  • Create a Self Help project for each third-party product used by your virtual agent. Installation is easy using connection packages.
  • To manage access rights, create distinct Self Help projects to consolidate all procedures that can be accessed by different groups. Next, assemble all these projects in your virtual agent.
  • Only create procedures dedicated to your virtual agent. Avoid grouping them with the procedures for your customer portal.
  • Isolate all knowledge shared by virtual agents in dedicated Self Help projects within the same domain.

example Sharing Social Base and Security database Self Help projects among several virtual agents

         Several virtual agents - Schema - EN.png

User and writer authorizations

Users

  • User authorizations for communicating with the virtual agent (access to the virtual agent's Self Help project procedures) are managed in the group to which the user belongs.
  • User groups can be created using various criteria, e.g. department, location, level of skill, etc.

Writers

Writers are usually subject knowledge experts. They write and publish procedures. 

  • They are authorized to work on the virtual agent's Self Help projects based on their read, write and publish rights.
             Open url.png See Access rights management.
  • They are supervised by the Knowledge Manager.
    • The role of this person is to ensure the uniformity of the virtual agent's Knowledge Base, ensuring that each procedure is written in the same way in compliance with the style guide. 
    • The Knowledge Manager also makes sure that the topics covered by the virtual agent fall within the functional scope.

Adapting procedures

The procedures for Self Help projects for the virtual agent must be adapted to its identity and its scope of action, as well as the customer-specific style guide.

The behavior of procedures can also be adapted:

  • By using dedicated metadata to alter the behavior of the procedure when run by the virtual agent.
  • By using wildcards to make the procedure dynamic.

Notes

  • A large number of common errors are stored in the NLP (natural language processing) engine used by Service Bots, and are automatically corrected by the virtual agent when users enter their questions.

example Correction of typos and spelling mistakes

         NLP engine - Corrections examples.png

Best Practice

  • Define your style guide with compliance rules based on the personality you defined for the virtual agent.
  • Insert informative and non-illustrative images to keep the virtual agent's answers brief.
  • Your virtual agent can guide users after providing an answer, by suggesting other content related to the same topic. In this case, you should make sure that users do not feel blocked in the conversation.
             Open url.png See Content suggestions.
  • To ensure the uniformity of the Knowledge Base for your virtual agent, create procedure templates that are accessible to each writer, e.g. standard step-by-step procedures, escalation procedures, satisfaction surveys, connector call procedures, etc.
    • Group these templates in a dedicated hidden folder at the root of the Self Help project.
    • Name the folder "[999] Templates" so that it is systematically found at the bottom of the tree structure.
    • Prior to the publication of the Self Help project, check that the procedures in this folder cannot be run by users.
  • To help writers comply with the style guide when writing procedures, implement the content validation workflow for all Self Help projects for your virtual agent. In this way, writers and the Knowledge Manager will be required to follow all approval steps before procedures can be published.

Deployment of the virtual agent

  • Once all of the Self Help project procedures have been created or adapted for the virtual agent, they must be published.
        Open url.png See How to publish a Self Help project.
  • You must configure the integration mode of the virtual agent depending on its display channel.
        Open url.png See the detailed procedures.
  • The virtual agent can then be deployed and you can inform users that it is available.

Monitoring and continual improvement

The purpose of this phase is to analyze the use of the virtual agent's Knowledge Base and to enhance its content by adapting procedures for more relevant answers, or by creating new procedures for unexpected questions, etc.

Several tools are available for this purpose.

  • Feedback from end users.
  • Usage statistics for each of the virtual agent’s procedures, accessible via the Properties pane in the Desktop Studio in edit mode. They are used to view the number of executions and their average duration.
  • Statistical reports, accessible in the Online Studio > Analytics menu>>doc:SelfHelp - Online Studio - Analytics Menu]]. They display the most frequently used procedures and the most rarely used ones, keywords generating no results, etc.

Best Practice

  • Perform an in-depth analysis of statistics by replaying user journeys to see the actions users took, the questions asked, etc.
  • Encourage users to leave comments (misunderstanding, missing or incorrect content, issues regarding procedures, etc.) in a satisfaction survey at the end of each procedure.

Procedure: How to implement a virtual agent

Step 1: Design and prepare the project.

    Note: Step performed by the administrator.

1. Define the functional scope and characteristics of your virtual agent. 

2. Define its personality (gender, vocabulary used, etc.) and visual identity based on the target audience.

3. Define the style guide for your virtual agent and procedures.

4. Define the display channel to be used for the virtual agent and the call method.

5. Identify third-party products with which the virtual agent must communicate.

Step 2: Create the virtual agent.

         Open url.png See the detailed procedure

1. Select Service Bots > Agents in the Online Studio menu to create your virtual agent.

2. Select the appropriate mission for the scope you defined for the virtual agent.
All Self Help projects specific to the mission will automatically be associated with the virtual agent.

3. Add the customer's Self Help projects that fall within the scope of the virtual agent.

4. (optional - Only when the virtual agent must be integrated within a Web page) Define the visual layout of the virtual agent using the visual layout library. Open url.png See the detailed procedure.

Note: You configure the virtual agent in a Service Apps app using the Virtual Agent widget.

Step 3: Configure and publish the virtual agent procedures.

1. Adapt the procedures specific to the virtual agent to the identity of your virtual agent in compliance with your corporate style guide.

    Open url.png See:

2. Publish all of the virtual agent procedures for the Self Help projects. Open url.png See the detailed procedure.

Note:  Service Manager project procedures do not need to be published.

Step 4: Deploy the virtual agent and ensure continual improvement.

1. Configure the integration mode of the virtual agent depending on the display channel. Open url.png See the detailed procedures.

2. Inform users that the virtual agent is now available.

3. Enhance the contents of the virtual agent's knowledge base by updating and publishing the procedures of your Self Help project on a regular basis.

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Last modified by Christine Daussac on 2021/07/22 16:52
Created by Administrator XWiki on 2019/12/10 17:17

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