Build A Chatbot In Under An Hour: Microsoft QnA Tutorial

With the new technology frontier of AI reaching new heights weekly, many businesses are trying to determine the best practical AI use cases for meeting business goals.

A common client concern is losing customers through abandoned shopping carts. Of shoppers using a desktop, 67% abandon their cart and the number surges to 97% for mobile shoppers. Intercepting potential customers with a simple chatbot during the search / quote action can dramatically increase purchases. In 2016 Just Eat saw a 266% increase in conversion rates by through adding a chatbot to their site.

“Simple” may sound like an exaggeration to those unfamiliar with chatbots. However, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that there are numerous platforms out on the market such as API.AI, BotKit, Pandorabots, Chatfuel and Amazon Lex  that enable users to spin up chatbot in less than a day. Even non-technical teams can easily take action.

Today we’re going to be featuring one of the platforms our team has found to be the fastest plug-and-play chatbot solution: the Microsoft QnA platform. The QnA bot is so simple because it ingests existing FAQ content and uses the responses to reply to customers in real time. The platform utilizes a pluggable architecture that makes it easy to integrate with any site without expensive implementation fees. See the full step by step tutorial below with an example of a bot for the Marriott hotel group:

Build A Chatbot In Under An Hour: Microsoft QnA Bot Tutorial

  1. Visit the Microsoft QnA Platform site.
  2. Click “Create new service” in the header navigation menu.
  3. Name your service (chatbot) and share your FAQ page.
    • Note: The platform will recognize FAQs from a URL, supported file such as .pdf or .xlsx, or you can start from scratch by typing up your questions and answers.
  4. On the next page you will see a digest of your knowledge base. At this step you can edit any QnA pairs or add a new QnA pair.
  5. Once you are pleased with your knowledge base, click “Test” in the left hand navigation. Here you will be able to engage directly with the bot to add phrasing alternatives and define preferred responses.
    • Note: Remember to click the”Save and retrain” button once you have completed your updates.
  6. Once you are satisfied with your knowledge base click “Publish”.
  7. Use the HTTP request code to deploy your bot directly to your site.

That’s it! Spinning up a chatbot is really that easy. You can always enhance your bot by adding additional URLs, download chat logs and upload chat logs. Some important recommendations for success in roll-out:

  • Keep user experience the number one priority. The last thing you would want to do is frustrate your client before they make a purchase.
  • Be transparent that your customers are engaging with a chatbot.
  • Test your bot throughly and incorporate as many common phrases or questions as possible.

If you’d like additional instruction, Microsoft has a video tutorial available here and extensive documentation available here.

Interested in support for your chatbot implementation? Contact Digital Nebula at info@digital-nebula.com.