Sonoma Partners Microsoft CRM and Salesforce Blog

QnA Maker: An Easy Way to Explore Chat Bots

Today's blog post was written by Bryson Engelen and Kevin Yamashita, Sales Engineers at Sonoma Partners.

Today we'd like to show you a nifty tool from Microsoft that we've been using to add some pizzazz to the end of our service demonstrations. There are already a number of nifty tie-ins between Dynamics 365 and Azure, including product recommendations, documentation recommendations, connected field service, and sentiment analysis (via Flow). We find that it's compelling to show the breadth of the Microsoft stack as much as we can, even if that means leaving the safe space of Dynamics 365 sometimes. One of the limitations of showing ancillary Azure functionality is that these services can be clunky to maintain. Well if you're lazy like us, you'll love QnA Maker.

With this service, you can easily provision and train a chat bot to answer FAQ-type queries.

With this tool, you can very quickly load a list of question/answer pairs; we recommend pulling realistic examples from a prospect's own website. QnA Maker actually includes functionality to automatically scrub FAQ pages to generate this content, but in our own experiences our mileage varied depending on the site itself. Regardless, it's quick and easy to show off a client's own knowledge content in a compelling way.

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If you want to embed your bot in a Dynamics portal or to expose your bot via Skype for Business, you'll need to actually put the effort in to provision a service within Azure. However, QnA Maker does expose a web interface to interact with your bot directly from the web. Our prospects often find that this is compelling enough and they can easily visualize how this service could be embedded and surfaced in other ways.

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This web interface has additional elements exposed to help train your bot, and talking about this underpinning functionality during the demonstration is actually useful for prospects so that they can better understand how this technology actually operates.

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You'll certainly want to show this whenever Live Assist or Dynamics Portals are in play, as chat bots could represent an initial line of defense for portal users before being routed to a live chat agent. So we invite you to give this tool a try if you haven't already. It's quick to set up, easy to demonstrate, and offers another way to hook people on the power of Azure. Clearly we love showing Azure as it relates to Dynamics. If you have any interesting Azure-related tips or tricks to share, we'd love to hear from you to keep the conversation going.

Topics: Microsoft Dynamics 365