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Virtual Agent

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Virtual Agent

ServiceNow® Virtual Agent is a platform for providing user assistance through conversations within a messaging interface. Use ServiceNow® Virtual Agent to design and build automated conversations that help your users quickly obtain information, make decisions, and perform common work tasks.

Watch this eight-minute video for an introduction to the Virtual Agent platform.

Listen to this 21-minute podcast to hear about Natural Language Understanding in Virtual Agent and related features introduced in the New York release. Podcast discussion on Virtual Agent features in the New York release, including Natural Language Understanding

Components

The Virtual Agent platform includes the following components:

Virtual Agent conversational (client) interface
With Virtual Agent, your users interact with a virtual or live agent through various messaging services. You can configure the web-based Virtual Agent client available for Service Portal and Apple iOS and Google Android environments. And your users can use the Virtual Agent interface for third-party enterprise messaging applications when you install the ServiceNow messaging integration for Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Workplace by Facebook. You can also configure the Virtual Agent interface for Facebook Messenger, a consumer messaging application.
Virtual Agent Designer

Use Virtual Agent Designer to develop, test, and deploy automated conversations that assist your users with common issues or self-service tasks. Virtual Agent Designer is a graphic tool for building the dialog flows of conversations, called topics. A topic defines the dialog exchanged between a virtual agent and a user to accomplish a specific goal or resolve an issue. Use Virtual Agent Designer to develop, test, and deploy conversations that assist your users with common issues or self-service tasks.

You can build conversations that are based on keywords that your users enter. Or, you can apply Natural Language Understanding (NLU) models, which enables your virtual agent to understand, process, and respond to what users are saying during a conversation.

Predefined topics are available for Customer Service Management (CSM), HR Service Delivery, and IT Service Management.

Live agent support
Give users the option to switch to a human agent for assistance during bot conversations. Virtual Agent integrates with live chat to offer a seamless transfer from a virtual agent to a live agent. Your users can request a live agent transfer at any time during a virtual agent conversation. You can also initiate a live agent transfer through custom conversation flows that you build.

Benefits

Implementing a virtual agent to handle common requests and tasks enables your users to get immediate help, day or night. Providing your virtual agent on channels familiar to your users, such as third-party messaging apps, offers a convenient way for them to get work done quickly. A virtual agent can also offer personalized customer experiences by applying and remembering user information during the conversation.

Typical Tier 2 support tasks that virtual agents can perform include:
  • Answering FAQs
  • Providing tutorial ("how to") information
  • Querying or updating records, for example to get status on cases or incidents
  • Gathering data, such as attachments, for the live agent
  • Performing diagnostics
  • Resolving multi-step problems

Automating these support tasks with a virtual agent frees your support agents to focus on more complex user issues and enables you to scale your support organization accordingly.

Conversational user interface

The Virtual Agent conversational interface captures an automated messaging session between the virtual agent and user. The web client interface uses the Service Portal web widget, which you can configure for custom service portals. The widget is available in the CSM, HR Service Delivery, and ITSM Service Portals.

Figure 1. Simple conversation example — web interface
Elements of a virtual agent conversation (welcome message, user and bot responses, and closing message)
A simple conversation typically includes the following elements:
  • Default welcome message from the virtual agent, followed by the first prompt for the conversation. The initial prompt asks the user to type a question or to choose from a list of available topics.
  • User response to the first prompt. In this example, the user chooses the topic for checking an IT ticket.
  • Series of prompts, acknowledgements, and responses exchanged between the virtual agent and the user until the users reach their goals or complete their tasks. You can use different rich controls in bot prompts, for example, choice lists with buttons or a carousel of images to select an item.
  • Closing message to end the conversation.

Conversation options

When your users start a conversation with the bot, they can enter a request or see a list of everything that the bot can help with. If they choose to see everything, the chat window displays all topics available to the user. Your users can use the search box to filter the list of topics.

Figure 2. See all topicsList of All Topics displayed after user chooses to see everything the bot can help with.
Figure 3. Manage the conversation

The conversational interface offers your users several options to manage the conversation. Users can stop the current conversation and start a new one, or contact support to access a live agent for immediate assistance.

More actions menu for contacting support and + icon for ending the current conversation
Figure 4. Live agent transfer example

When users transfer to a live agent, the chat window header changes to indicate that they are now interacting with a live agent. The attachment and send icons are available for uploading an image file and sending it to the agent.

Example chat window after live agent transfer

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