Smarter sales and service with the Microsoft Bot Framework
- Posted on February 18, 2019
- Estimated reading time 2 minutes
This article was originally written by Avanade alumn Jandost Khoso.
In today's competitive business environment, businesses strive to achieve better results through higher efficiency, customer satisfaction and lowering operations cost to maximize profits in their sales and operations. Not long ago, managing customers in a CRM system was perceived as the gateway to high-class customer service; yet now implementing a robust CRM system is only one piece in a bigger puzzle of customer management.
In the current competitive market, higher efficiency can be achieved by better utilizing scarce and efficient resources in appropriate places and releasing them from doing tedious jobs. Similarly, reducing cost can be achieved by delegate jobs with recurring, predictable outcomes and unpredictable occurrence timings to computers instead of more expensive human resources.
One of the investment areas by technology firms in this area is to use bots in this context. Chatbots are one of the exciting technologies that can help organizations offload the burden of small jobs from resources by use of intelligent bot agents.
Bots can be used in a business environment to achieve the following scenarios:
- 24x7 customer service
- Preliminary lead qualification
- Respond to product inquiries; provide answers from knowledge base & FAQ
- Personal assistants to book appointments, report status, etc.
In all the above scenarios, businesses would need additional resources for a longer time period to support their customers and prospects whereas using chatbots will eliminate this need. And using the Microsoft Chatbot Framework is the easiest way to build, connect, deploy, and manage intelligent bots.
Bots are the latest realization of the initial idea behind invention of computers: producing an output to user's input after its processing. In simplest forms, bots do the same. Bots listen to users, process users’ inputs and respond to them.
Bot applications can connect to business applications such as Dynamics 365 for customer engagement to create leads, opportunities and orders. When users express their interest products and services, the solution creates an opportunity and lead (if the user is not identified) in CRM and assigns the opportunity to an appropriate team.
Upon request, solutions can check existing opportunity’s status and inform the user about the expected timeline, sales staff and opportunity status. Bot applications can manage the conversation history in the CRM in form of a new type of customer interaction. It can identify the user based on their channel data and history of conversation and have a meaningful conversation with them. Bot applications can create orders in CRM and push orders to Dynamics 365 for Operations. Stock availability can be checked, and invoices can be created in the Dynamics 365 for Operations.
It’s no surprise that bots are also capable of connecting to multiple channels and platforms like Skype, Webchat, Facebook Messenger, Slack and Telegram and many more. This means a wider audience to interact and communicate with.
So as you can see, bots can provide true business value and give us the scale to reach a wider audience through various online channels over an extended time frame (24x7) meeting the demands of various industry scenarios using different business applications. That’s what I call technology innovation at work.