Ambit Group: Bot / Virtual Agent - Enable a new level of customer experience

Bot / Virtual Agent - Enable a new level of customer experience

Blog article by Christian Schipp, Business Development CRM & Group CMO at Ambit Group

Did you know that 2021 has been predicted by many digitalisation experts as the bot year? Current surveys have shown that many companies, organisations and authorities have put the topic "bot" on their upcoming agenda. Whether it is to deal more intensively with the topic, to start initial trials or to put the first bots into operation in concrete terms.

We also dealt intensively with this trend last year and learned a lot in the process. In the DACH region, we are not really bursting with enthusiasm about such topics right from the beginning. As with other topics such as social media or marketing automation in general, we approach such new solutions rather conservatively and with a nice healthy pinch of scepticism. There are no objections to that either. But now the time has come to take a serious look at digital assistants, robotics in customer dialogue but also web-based communication channels. Not as a gimmick, but in order to:

  • To offer a dialogue with interested parties, regardless of time and place
  • To deliver tailored information where the recipient can actively participate in shaping and deciding on it
  • Simplify and automate processes
  • Save costs and resources, as simple activities are handled by the bot
  • To present yourself as a modern and innovative organisation and to be one step ahead of your competitors
  • And much more

There are many bot applications. Not only externally, but also internally (e.g. holiday requests, automating internal FAQ processes, for information control and dissemination). So I can only recommend approaching the topic very openly and broadly in a first phase. There will be many ah-ha moments on the way to the bot.

Technology is no longer an impediment

Whereas in the past the level of technology was a real obstacle to unlocking a bot solution with reasonable effort and return, today the technology is no longer a real hurdle. There are frameworks that make it possible to implement a bot in a few hours and without programming knowledge. And that is an important first point to remember:

"Don't try to realise the all-round talent or any other perfectionist project. Proceed in small, digestible, but also agile/iterative steps!"

One recommendation is that you take a simple initial use case and do your first walk-throughs with it and test it on an experimental group. An example would be a place where the same 10-20 questions are always asked and the answers are clear. For example, every day hundreds of people ask their bank for the current mortgage interest rate. If such questions can be automated and controlled via bot, other valuable resources are saved and the questioners get the answer at any time of the day or night.

At Ambit Group, we've tried something just like this. We chose an easy-to-use bot framework and used it to implement an initial process for interested parties. From the decision to implement a bot to the go-live on the website took us about 6 hours. Within 3 months, as a B2B company, we had over 1,700 active sessions on the bot and 65 of these were conversions (users become active on their own initiative and identify themselves). During these 3 months, we collected feedbacks, ideas and criticisms about the bot from all sides. In the process, we again learned a lot. We can share the following experiences:

  • We set the hard conversion (entering an email address or phone number) way too early and the bot didn't move on if the user didn't make the entry. This generated a high bounce rate but also a suboptimal experience.
  • There was too little emotion in the bot. The dialogue was not well-rounded, had no common thread. We were also not friendly enough or courteous enough. So using the bot wasn't fun enough, which in turn caused people to drop out.
  • We offered too little benefit. Sure, we want to win leads (interested parties) for us, but we have to give something first. May it be good information, an exciting story or direct access to us.
  • The bot reacted too early and it was implemented in a way that negatively affected web performance.
  • With only one target group (prospects) we offered insufficient for many other visitor groups to our website (job seekers, existing clients etc.).

With all this information and insight, we redesigned and upgraded the Ambit Group bot. Go to our website and take a look at the current status. Not perfect, but a significant further step! We will now spend the next few months on further analysing usage and implementing more optimisation cycles. Ideas have already emerged from other departments that could also imagine using a bot. The journey has just begun!

To outperform yourself, you need one thing above all: the courage to change something.

We make ambition work.

Organisation & Processes

Like all channels, the use of a bot also needs an appropriate organisation and the associated processes. If the application is quite simple and self-explanatory, this will be possible in a very manageable way. But someone should be responsible for the bot, monitor the activities, react quickly to requests and be able to make minor optimisations quickly and efficiently. If larger concepts are implemented (e.g. with live chat, automated orders via the bot or mutation processes) then the entire solution should be thoroughly designed and implemented with the appropriate know-how. Especially when different data sources such as CRM, ERP or eCommerce solutions or self-learning systems with artificial intelligence are used, bot professionals are needed for support. Once all requirements have been explored, a foresighted solution should also be chosen at the technology level.

For certain interactions, other systems are also necessary, such as a fully integrated marketing automation solution, which then sends corresponding emails or serves social media channels, for example. There are very few limits here and we are only at the beginning.

Bot Framework of Microsoft – Power Virtual Agent

As insiders know, Microsoft has been working on solutions in connection with artificial intelligence for many years. The most well-known solution is certainly "Cortana", which is in use today in the Microsoft 365 / Office 365 context. Cortana is a Microsoft software for Windows 10, iOS and Xbox One that receives and processes commands in natural spoken language. Again, it's all about dialogue. But in the area of business applications, Microsoft has taken a long time to launch a bot framework and today many bot enthusiasts don't even know that Microsoft offers comprehensive solutions here.

Microsoft started with the solution "Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service". This is a bot that is specifically available for applications in customer service and which works together with Dynamics 365 Customer Service and other services in a customised and fully integrated way. The solution is extremely interesting because the integration and access to the data via the dataverse (formerly CDS) is often made possible with just a few clicks and direct access to Azure services. Microsoft delivers ready-to-use AI applications that can be used by any organisation without a master's degree in data science.

Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service

Microsoft Bot Framework in Omnichannel for Customer Service (Youtube-Video)

And then a few months ago, Microsoft consequently released the bot framework at the Power Apps level, now known as Power Virtual Agent. With this, Microsoft is moving away from the one-sided view of bot applications for customer service only. With this bot framework, all conceivable applications can now be freely realised. The low-code procedure known from the Power Apps is used for this. Using simple drag & drop functions, the conversion processes are created and all interactions are implemented. More than 160 data sources can be accessed via the data verse. The bots can be integrated on websites, but also for internal purposes in Microsoft Teams.


Ambit Group as a partner for your Bot project

What's your ambition? We always start a project with this question. At Ambit Group, we are your partner for a bot project in connection with the holistic use of the Microsoft platform. Together with you, we develop the goal, design the future solution and implement it on the platform (Power Platform, Dynamics 365 and other services). Where necessary and appropriate, we call in experts from our eco-system (e.g. for the design of dialogues and content).

If you want to get to the top faster: Find a partner who pushes you.

we make ambition work.


Would you like to know more about the Ambit Group, about this type of project, or about the technology? Then contact Christian Schipp. You can find the contact at the bottom of this page.

Are you interested in this topic? I would be pleased to answer any queries you have.

Christian Schipp, Chief Business Development Officer

+41 79 954 17 09