Hello, My Sweet Chatbot 🥰 with Dian Taylor

Hello, My Sweet Chatbot 🥰 with Dian Taylor

Hey everyone, Dian Taylor is here! Dian is a two-time MVP and a director of pre-sales at RSM US. She's presenting, 'Getting Started with Power Virtual Agents' at DynamicsCon on 20 September. So I invited Dian onto the Amazing Apps show to tells us all about Power Virtual Agents and give us a sneak peek into her presentation.

We discuss the summer weather in Florida and the easy life of pre-sales as well as some serious topics such as how amazing chatbots can provide an awesome customer experience while others want to make you throw your computer out the window.

Discover why Dian thinks I should start my chats with "Hello, my sweet chatbot... 🥰"

Resources
Dian Taylor on LinkedIn
D365Goddess on Twitter
D365Goddess on YouTube
D365Goddess website

Register for DynamicsCon
Register for Summit North America


Support the show (https://buymeacoffee.com/amazingapps)

Transcript
Neil Benson:

Welcome to episode 98 of the Amazing Applications show. You'll find show notes and a transcript for this episode at AmazingApps.Show/98. The Amazing Apps show has a new website. It's AmazingApps.Show. I hope you like it. I appreciate all the feedback I've had so far, especially from the person who pointed out that the 'Listen on Apple Podcasts' button redirects you to a podcast called Amazing Relationships. My apologies to anyone who listened to a marriage guidance podcast, expecting to learn how to build amazing business applications. But it's all fixed now. You're safe and you can listen on Apple Podcasts, if that's your jam. My guest today is Dian Taylor. Dian is a two-time Microsoft MVP and a director at RSM in the U S where she's responsible for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement pre-sales engineering. Dian's presenting at a couple of upcoming conferences, both virtual and in person. You can register for free to join her Power Virtual Agents session at Dynamics Con on the 12th of September. And that's what I'm going to be chatting more with Dian in just a moment. Dian is also speaking at Summit North America on the 14th of October. If you're brave enough to visit Texas in-person in the next few months in the middle of a pandemic. Dian is always a lot of fun on one of my favorite MVPs to hang out with. Let's welcome, Dian Taylor. Dian, welcome to the Amazing Applications podcast. Thanks so much for joining us. How's it going?

Dian Taylor:

Any better, I couldn't stand it. Thank you so much for having me, Neil.

Neil Benson:

So you're in Florida at the moment. It's summertime there. It's winter time here in Australia. I'm really looking forward to the summer. It's going to warm up a little bit. How's it going for you?

Dian Taylor:

We have two temperatures here in Florida. We have hot and then we have Africa hot. Yeah, I can not wait for, you know, the summer to end and the winter just start because that's really where our nice temperatures come in, you know, where it's going to be like in the sixties, seventies, which is mid 15 to 22 degrees and something like that. Yeah. So much better.

Neil Benson:

Thanks for coming on the show. I wanted to talk a little bit about your upcoming session at DynamicsCon. Your session is on the 20th of September. So we're a few weeks away. Love to find out more about you and about your session. So give us an introduction about Dian and your background and what you do and where you are.

Dian Taylor:

I came from the Netherlands, to the U S about 17 years ago. I cannot believe it's been 17 years. It feels like two weeks, but whatever. So I'm still adjusting a little bit to, Florida and Florida life and Florida people, if I can say that, but, I used to, work, not anything I.T. related back in the Netherlands so this was a jump to something else. Obviously, you know, first I worked in the mailroom and worked my way up and that's kinda how I got into, the IT side of things or Dynamics 365 or Dynamics CRM as it was called. I'm sure you remember that one, huh? Currently I work, as a pre-sales engineer. I'm a director here at RSM, so I get to play around with everything and the fun stuff and, you know, get people excited about it. Yeah, it's pretty cool. So Power Virtual Agents, I was forced into demoing it like a week after it came out. So it was like, you know, we wanna, you know, we want you to show this and then I was like, I don't know how it works. And then it was you have a week. I'm like, Okay. You know, so I have to tell you though it, I really like the application. It is so easy to create those topics and those conversation paths and put your logic in there. It actually works with Power Automate, which I'm a huge Power Automate fan. I just love that tool. So being able to use that in combination, being able to use Dataverse and Dynamics 365 applications with power virtual agents, being able to then, you know, get data. As these customers are typing their answers and their questions in feeding that into Power Virtual Agents, then feeding that into flow, querying your database, getting back an answer and feeding it back into PVA is to me, it's wow, this is so cool.

Neil Benson:

I've done lots of customer service deployments. I'm working on two at the moment, and I finished a big one last year. None of them have asked about Power Virtual Agents, or, had a requirement that sounded like a good fit for Power Virtual Agents. What type of scenario is a good fit? Where does this the sweet spot? What type of organizations should look at Power Virtual Agents?

Dian Taylor:

I That's really good question. I think, honestly, I think that any customer service department could have, could utilize Power Virtual Agent because it really takes the pressure off of the agents. Because if you don't have a chat bot right, then what's going to happen. They're going to, you know, initiate either a chat with an agent or a call with an agent or start emailing with an agent. And if you use Power Virtual Agent, you can set up these topics for these questions that a lot of people are asking about, right? What is my order number? If you save those in Dynamics 365, whether that's in CE or BC or AX or whatever, you can use Power Virtual Agents to just query the database. And again, you're taking the pressure off of your agents. So I honestly think that any customer service department can utilize something like this.

Neil Benson:

And, you know, you could present a list of orders in a portal. So what's the difference between deploying portals to reveal customer information and using a chat bot to do similar kind of work. Why would you choose one over the other?

Dian Taylor:

You could do that as well. And I think that also, because you can do the same thing, if I wanted to go ahead and schedule a work order or something like that, you can use Power Virtual Agents for that as well. I think the difference here is with power virtual agents, you can just query data from that database and bring that back. So if a customer has a question about something that's not in your portal, then you know, that's going to be like the end right there. So I think both of them have a place. I just think that being able to manage some of those questions because, you know, you made a very good point, you can also, you know, put some of those knowledge articles on there as well. What I see though, is that a lot of people and myself included that a lot of people are lazy, right? I don't want to go search through frickin knowledge base articles. I don't have time for that but if you have one of those little chatbots and you can just ask your question and. They offer up that knowledge base article, it just, you know, for lazy people like me, it just makes more sense, I think.

Neil Benson:

I get frustrated with them cause I'm like, no, none of those answers, address my question! I've already searched your knowledge base. Get me to an agent. I want to raise a support ticket. Do you find a lot of chatbots are deflecting those calls? Are answering customer questions? Am I the exception here?

Dian Taylor:

Yes. No, I think it's a little bit of both, you know, I think it's obviously, it's important to make sure that you are actually configuring your conversation paths in the right way. And then also have that little back door, so to speak for, you know, users to allow them to connect to an agent, if there's a need for that. If I want to do something very complicated than probably Power Virtual Agents might not be able to do it right. then I want to be able to connect. So to be able to just in the middle of a conversation, say, Hey, I want to speak to an agent and then, you know, get that path and be taken to that actual live person that you can talk to, I think is very important. But I think most of that is really making sure that you configure it the right way. Also allowing the chat bot to go from one topic to another one to go basically back to your quote, unquote main menu. And start asking questions about, because otherwise I've seen people that are making these conversation paths and then it's just circular and just, you know, it doesn't understand. What do you mean, dah, dah, dah? I don't understand. What do you mean? You want to throw your laptop out of the window, right? So I think it also has to do a lot with the correct setup and stuff like that.

Neil Benson:

If I start a chat and it has to get passed to an agent, can that agent see the history of my chat and the interaction with the chat bot easily? Or do I have to go searching for it? How does that transition look from an agent's point of view?

Dian Taylor:

Yeah. So if I can only talk about obviously, the integration that we have with Omni-channel for Customer Service and you do get that entire transcript. So you get the entire conversation that, you know, the chat bot had with the customer. So they're going to see your frustration, Neil, when you're saying I'm not asking for that, all of that is going to be visible for sure as well. Which is great, cause that's what you want. You don't want to have to go as an agent now you're greeting your customer. Now I'm trying to find what was that conversation that he had with the bot because to if the agent then asks you the same question, you're just going to be more frustrated.

Neil Benson:

Yeah, knowing that my entire transcript is visible to the agent I'll have to be more polite and use nicer language from now on...

Dian Taylor:

Exactly. Hello, my sweet chat bot.

Neil Benson:

Yeah, that's right. You work in pre-sales which is the best job in the world. None of the, you know, you get all the glory of selling it and painting a vision for the solutions without the burden of going live into production. But what does that typical Power Virtual Agents project look like whenever you're framing this up for your customers and they're asking you, how long is it going to take, Dian? And, how much is it going to cost? What should they expect from a typical Power Virtual Agent project?

Dian Taylor:

So I'm going to deflect here, sorry, because I am not the person on the call that answers that because I have done five years of implementations and then I was like, okay, I don't want to do this more. So that's when I rolled into presales. We usually have a consultant on the call that would answer, you know, those types of questions, because obviously it depends on like how many topics do you want? How many flows do you want? How difficult and how complex is it going to be? I have to tell you though, you can get up and running pretty quickly. If you're going to be watching my session, that should get you started because after that session, you're going to be able to understand all of the components from Power Virtual Agents, how to write your topics, how you can very quickly pull in a Power Automate flow to do your logic for you pull that back into Power Virtual Agents. So yeah, I, I have to say, I love the low-code no-code type of solutions, right? That allows us to get up really quickly because a lot of times what I've seen as well is that t here's usually a disconnect between the IT folks, right? The programmers and the actual, people that have the knowledge. If you think about, for example, about doing a chat bot for HR, and you're trying to tell the person who's going to program that bot like what they wanted to do a lot of times there's a disconnect. So this kind of allows those folks, the HR folks, themselves to create their own bots. I mean, hello. I mean, it's awesome. Right?

Neil Benson:

Cool. So that really, Microsoft calls it the citizen developer movement where we're putting the power in the hands of the people who have the knowledge like you said.

Dian Taylor:

Absolutely.

Neil Benson:

You mentioned there an HR scenario. Have you seen a lot of opportunities for chatbots, particularly on Power Virtual Agents internally inside an organization rather than just, you know, customer facing externally?

Dian Taylor:

Oh, absolutely. Cause you can also deploy them in Teams now, which is great. So if you have these internal questions, and especially we have something very similar to that where we're setting up a chat bot that allows you to complete an SOW for customer. Like, what's the first thing you need to do then is this the second thing you need to do? It's pointing people to the right documentation where they need to go. So it's searching SharePoint for documents and then it's just offering up those documents. So I really feel like it could really speed up those internal processes that a lot of times, right, if you don't know where those documents are and let's just face it, let's just be honest, everybody. When you dive into your hard drive and you're trying to find right in the, on the company servers, and you're trying to find those documents, that takes a lot of time. So how great is it to be able to utilize something like Power Virtual Agents for that.

Neil Benson:

Cool. and tell us about the type of audience who should come and attend your session. It sounds like you're pitching it as an introduction to Power Virtual Agents. So people like me who know very little can come along and get started. If I've got more experience with Power Virtual Agents, you're going to be dropping some stuff in there for people with some...

Dian Taylor:

It is, like you said, Neil, it's really introductory. So it's really if you've never seen it before, or if you have very little experience with it, I'm going to talk about all of the components. I am going to talk about some of the stuff that I've done with it as well. So I believe I'm showing how you can, for example, ask people for their email address and then query the database to see if that person is in there already. If they are in there already as a lead or a contact, I'm going to associate a task with that. If they're not in there, I'm going to create a lead for them. So I do have some more scenarios to show, but I'm not really going to go into depth with that. It's really more of a look what we can do with this type of thing.

Neil Benson:

And so if I was maybe a customer service manager, an HR manager, rather than an IT person, it's a good session for them as well to come along and learn how to be a citizen developer and pick up these tools without necessarily standing up an IT project.

Dian Taylor:

Absolutely. There is no coding in this. I'm just using the out of the box configuration tool that comes with it. There's no customization. It's really, it's a drag and drop interface. And so you're going to see how crazy easy this is. This is really like you said, for those matter experts, that have hard time communicating with their IT person or not, but you could still take a look at that and see how Microsoft is making it very easy with Power Virtual Agents.

Neil Benson:

And how good do your Power Automate skills need to be? What kind of flows are people building? Are they quite sophisticated advanced flows with HTTP connectors? Are they relatively simple ones?

Dian Taylor:

I love that question. Yeah, cause it used to be an HTTP connector that you need to have in order to do that. I have some old flows still in there that I actually can get rid of. No, it can be very simple. Basically, what I'm doing is I'm just querying for records into Dynamics 365 and Dataverse so it's very simple. I I didn't have any training on flow. I just started poking around in there. I'm not a super user of flow by any means, you know, I go to online and I look at other people's videos, you know, some of the MVPs that are out there, which is, it's so great to learn from them. So you don't have to know a lot of Power Automate flow at all.

Neil Benson:

I think a lot of people managed to pick it up quite quickly but for those of us doing case routing or SLA management, where you used to be able to just configure a couple of rules inside Dynamics 365 customer Service, now it drops you into Power Automate, and you have to build your rules there. And it can be a little bit intimidating for people who come from a Dynamics 365 background and haven't picked up Power Automate yet. We just need to get into it. I'm a little bit behind the times when it comes to Power Automate. I've got a lot of applications with connectors to Zapier that Power Automate doesn't have connectors for yet. So I need to get onto the Power Automate train.

Dian Taylor:

You know, you might want to check out my website. I have a couple of articles on there to give you some good examples as well. So feel free to check that out, Neil.

Neil Benson:

Cool. Where's your website? Just for our listeners, Dian.

Dian Taylor:

Yeah. It's D365Goddess.com. And then I also have YouTube videos. It's youtube.com and then slash D365Goddess. You can search on my website as well, either you can look for the category Power Automate, or you can just do a search for Power Automate. I'll have some flows in there that you can take a look at.

Neil Benson:

And your session just for anybody who's listening and wants to register for Dynamics Con, it's DynamicsCon.com. Dian's session is on Monday the 20th of September at 12:00 PM. And that's Eastern time, US Eastern, not Australia Eastern. are you going to be available live on chat for people who've got questions or want to follow up with you, Dian?

Dian Taylor:

Absolutely. Yeah, I'm going to be on chat if people you know, don't have questions at that time, if they want to follow up later, they can always reach out to me as well. Either on my website or through Twitter, again, D365Goddess. Yeah, absolutely, I'll be happy to answer any questions anybody might have.

Neil Benson:

What was it like going through the submission process for Dynamics Con this year?

Dian Taylor:

It was, I'm trying to think. Cause I submitted for so many things. So I'm trying to think, figure out what it was. I don't think it was that hard. I think it was pretty easy to you know, putting your title and kind of a description of what you want to talk about. but yeah, I love the fact that they have a lot of new speakers, so I would definitely... Anybody who's listening right now definitely check out all of the topics that we have on there, cause they do have a lot of, some of them are really interesting.

Neil Benson:

Yeah, I think Dynamics Con is a great first conference for a speaker. They provide a lot of support and mentorship and, there's some great audio visual teams behind the scenes to help you out there. And the fact that it's prerecorded and delivered with the speaker live there. It's it's a great balance between doing a live presentation, especially a session like yours which has probably got a lot of demos. Those are great when you can pre-record them, cause they work perfectly. If anybody out there is thinking about presenting, then DynamicsCon is a great way to get started.

Dian Taylor:

Definitely.

Neil Benson:

Cool. Dian, anything else you want to share with us? Anything that you're up to soon that you want to share with us?

Dian Taylor:

Sure. If any of you guys are going to the UG Summit, which is going to be in Houston and I have to think that's 12 through to 15th of October, come see me there. I'm actually doing three different sessions there as well. This is why I get so confused. Cause I submit to everything. So yeah, definitely come see me there. I would love to meet up with you guys. Do some networking, talk about all the different products. I love to talk tech with people.

Neil Benson:

Nah, I'm gonna miss you there, Dian. I really wish I could make it

Dian Taylor:

I know.

Neil Benson:

this year, but we're not allowed to leave Australia. It's gotta be a while, but, maybe next year when things open up a little bit more, we'll come and see you there.

Dian Taylor:

Sounds good.

Neil Benson:

All right. Thanks Dian.

Dian Taylor:

Thanks Neil.

Neil Benson:

Thanks so much for listening to the Amazing Apps podcast. You can join the show's mailing list at https://AmazingApps.Show. You'll get a personalized welcome video from yours truly, and a notification when there's a new episode available. There are also shortcuts so you can follow the show on all major podcast players and you can follow Amazing Apps Show on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. You can send me a message or a voicemail if you'd like your question answered on a future episode and even support the show through BuyMeACoffee or by buying an Amazing Apps t-shirt. Visit https://Amazing.Apps.Show. Thanks again for listening. I really appreciate you. Until next time, take care and keep sprinting!