Up to this point, bots we create with Power Virtual Agents have only been able to provide answers to the topics we set up for it. So if we want the bot to answer any question from a customer ,which could also be found on our website, it ends up being a tedious and manual task. But the latest AI capabilities for PVA transform what was once a tedious task, and makes it as simple as pasting in a URL.

Yes, GPT is now available in preview in PVA. The Boosted conversations feature will present relevant information to a user even if there is no topic for it. For example, a customer might be talking to your bot and wants to ask about job openings. But there’s no topic to discuss job openings. The bot will use natural language processing to find information from a specific URL (such as your job portal or company website) with Bing Search. The information will be sent back to the customer via the bot in plain language.

Trying Boost Conversations

This is a preview feature, not meant for production use, and you can only use it when creating a bot with the unified canvas. You’ll first of all need to create a new bot. Head to https://web.powerva.microsoft.com/, select your environment in the top right, then click on +Create > Try the unified canvas (preview).

Screenshot of PVA: Creating a new bot with the unified canvas

Enter a name for your bot, then paste in the URL you’d like to use for the boosted conversation, such as your company’s website. For this example I’ll be using my blog http://www.rishonapowerplatform.com, however, it is recommended to not use a site with visitor comments as it can effect your conversation results. You’ll be able to change your selected site later if you wish. Create your bot.

Screenshot of PVA: Creating a new bot with boosted conversation

Note: If you do not see the boosted conversations option as shown above, you may need to create a bot in a United States environment. If you don’t have one, go to Environments | Power Platform admin center (microsoft.com) and create a new environment with the Region as United States and Type as Developer. You should be able to create a new developer environment (you can have up to 3) at no additional cost.

Screenshot of Power Platform Admin Center: Creating a United States environment

These are some suggestions provided in PVA for picking the website:

  • Pick a publicly accessible website, such as your primary company domain or customer support site.
  • Ensure that the site you select is accurate and up to date – the bot will use it as the basis for its conversations.
  • Ensure the site is indexed or found by Bing.
  • Don’t use sites with forums or comments from end users; this can reduce the relevancy of answers.
  • Don’t include query strings, more than two levels of depth, special characters, or the character “.” in your URL.

If you want to change the website, go to Settings > AI Capabilities. You can also change the Bot content moderation between High, Medium or Low.

Screenshot of PVA: AI capabilities settings

That’s all you need to do to get Boost Conversations working. Give your bot a test by asking a question about something you can find on your site.

Here are some of the results I got while testing it out with my blog:

Screenshot of PVA: Testing boosted conversation in Test Bot pane #1
Screenshot of PVA: Testing boosted conversation in Test Bot pane #2
Screenshot of PVA: Testing boosted conversation in Test Bot pane #3

If you’re new to the unified canvas in PVA, check out my other post where I go through all the new features you can try: Power Virtual Agents unified canvas: overview of changes and new features – Rishona Elijah (rishonapowerplatform.com)

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