Category Archives: Chatbot

How to use Microsoft 365 Copilot to automate email responses

Developing great Microsoft Copliot experiences

We are working with a customer who happens to be an Estate Agent on ways to use Microsoft Copilot AI (Artificial Intelligence) capabilities to automate their business processes, making them more efficient and saving their agent’s time.

The prominent place to get started is email and Outlook; one of the problems for the business is that the Office is staffed Monday to Saturday, 9:00 to 5:30, and for understandable reasons, a large proportion of the business clients look at properties outside of these hours.

Responding to Customers even when the office isn’t staffed

As a result, many emails are received during out-of-hours office hours, and responses are made when staff arrive the following day.

One obvious solution is to introduce a Chatbot to work with FAQs and answer questions that don’t require additional input from a human, but this, though related, is a different project that we will cover in a future blog post.

The AI capabilities of Microsoft Copilot will enable the client to interact with a customer even when the Office is not staffed; being able to ensure the customer has answered queries and filled out forms before they deal with the agents will mean they are not only working more efficiently but also appearing more efficient to your customers.

When you combine AI with existing technologies, the result is a powerful mix.

By leveraging the scheduled auto responses and existing rules in Microsoft Exchange, we can create innovative solutions that will make a significant impact.

Of course, many businesses in other lines of business will have similar issues to solve, so when you read “Estate Agent”, imagine a similar scenario and how AI can empower your business.

How to use Microsoft Copilot to automate email responses

This blog is intended to guide estate agents and others who want to streamline communication with potential renters and purchasers. In addition to email, we should consider other ways our business may communicate with our clients, such as WhatsApp and Microsoft Teams.

Copilot for Microsoft 365, Windows Copilot, access Copilot, Microsoft Copilot, Productivity Apps, Enterprise Customers

The addition of Copilot to Teams is a route to a whole new level of productivity.

Microsoft Copilot is now an integral part of Microsoft Teams, which offers businesses opportunities to create more efficient processes.

Within Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Copilot provides an AI-powered virtual assistant that can help users with a variety of functions within Microsoft Teams.

Some examples of Microsoft Copilot functions in Microsoft Teams include:

  • Scheduling and managing meetings: Microsoft Copilot can help you schedule, reschedule, and cancel meetings, as well as send reminders and follow-ups to attendees.
  • Finding and sharing information: Microsoft Copilot can help you find and share information from your emails, files, and other Microsoft 365 apps, making it easier to collaborate with your team.
  • Managing tasks and to-dos: Microsoft Copilot can help you keep track of your tasks, and to-dos and even create and assign tasks to others on your behalf.
  • Answering questions: Copilot can use information from the Microsoft Graph and other sources to answer a wide range of questions about your work, team, and organisation.
  • Copilot can provide insights and suggestions to help you work more efficiently based on your work patterns and habits.
  • Business chat is a feature of Microsoft Teams that allows users to communicate with each other in a chat-based interface. It is designed for use within an organisation and provides a range of tools and features to help teams collaborate and stay connected.

Use Copilot for Microsoft 365 to summarise Teams meetings.

Microsoft Teams have a built-in feature that allows you to record and transcribe meetings. To use this feature, you can start a meeting recording by clicking the “More actions” button and selecting “Start recording.”

Once the meeting is over, the recording will be processed, and a transcript will be generated. You can access the recording and transcript in the meeting chat in the Microsoft Stream app. You can then use the transcript to create a summary of the meeting.

As previously stated, the MS Graph enables you to collate customer conversations and documents across the environment.

What is Microsoft 365 Copilot?

Copilot is Microsoft’s big AI idea to give every individual a virtual personal assistant to enhance productivity by creating more quickly, creatively, and accurately while working within the Microsoft Application Suite. (Word, Excel, Teams, Outlook, etc).

In addition, you will now find Copilot in Microsoft Edge and Windows Copilot in Windows 11, and apparently,

Windows Copilot will soon be available for Windows 10. Part of Microsoft’s pitch is also to alleviate the burden of information overload that we all occasionally struggle with.

One way we can make ourselves and our colleagues Microsoft Copilot fit and ready for when we have access to the next big thing is to learn how to get the most out of it.

Microsoft 365 has Copilot embedded in New Outlook.

One of the helpful assistant functions is a feature that helps you create and send personalised and relevant email responses to your customers based on the context and intent of their inquiries.

Copilot features include suggesting actions and attachments to help you achieve your goals, such as booking a viewing, sending a contract, or following up on feedback.

Get our White Paper on the adoption of Copilot

How to set up Microsoft 365 Copilot for your email account?

To access Copilot, you must have a Microsoft 365 subscription and an Outlook email account. You can enable Copilot from the Settings menu in Outlook under the Copilot tab. You can choose the scenarios and domains you want Copilot to assist you with, such as real estate, travel, or education. You can also customise the tone and style of your email responses, such as formal, casual, or friendly.

How do we use Microsoft 365 Copilot to respond to inquiries from potential renters?

·         Open the email and click on the Copilot icon in the toolbar.

When you receive an email from a customer interested in renting a property you have listed on a website, you can use Copilot to quickly and easily reply with the relevant information and actions. Here are the steps to follow:

·         Copilot will analyse the email and generate a suggested response that matches your tone and style preferences. You can review and edit the response before sending it.

·         The suggested response will include a link to a document the customer must fill out with their personal and financial details, such as name, address, income, and references. The document will be stored in your OneDrive account and shared with the customer with the appropriate permissions.

The data will be stored securely by default

·         The supplied information will be encrypted to ensure that it remains confidential and can only be viewed to ensure the potential client meets the criteria required for the let.

·         The data will only be retained for the minimum period required to meet the legal and compliance requirements.

·         The suggested response will also include a link to a shared calendar you created with Microsoft Booking. The customer can choose a date and time to view the prope in this calendar. The calendar will sync with your Outlook calendar and send you and the customer a confirmation and a reminder of the appointment.

·         If the customer replies to your email and confirms the viewing, Copilot will suggest a follow-up email that thanks them for their interest and provides more information about the property, such as location, features, and amenities.

·         If the customer does not reply to your email within a certain period, Copilot will suggest a follow-up email reminding them of the document and the calendar link and asking them if they have any questions or concerns.

Copilot for Microsoft 365 was developed using OpenAI’s GPT-3 technology.

Microsoft Copilot is based on OpenAI’s GPT-3 technology, which allows it to work with many applications and CRMs using plugins and APIs that are readily available or easy to develop.

This means that Copilot can be integrated with a wide range of tools and systems to provide users a seamless and efficient experiences.

However, it is essential to note that the plugins’ availability and ease of development may vary depending on the application or CRM in question.

How Microsoft Copilot uses Graph to make its responses and suggestions relevant.

Microsoft Graph is a powerful tool that links your various Microsoft account applications, including SharePoint, OneDrive, Teams, and email conversations.

It collects data from these applications and provides it to Microsoft 365 Copilot. This allows Copilot to access your data and provide personalised and relevant information to help you work more efficiently.

For example, it can help you find and summarise important documents, keep track of your conversations, generate drafts of emails and documents, and even search your data for answers to your questions.

MS Graph is regularly updated to ensure that you always have access to the most up-to-date information, allowing you to stay on top of your work and increase productivity.

What are Large Language models (LLMs), and how do they relate to the Microsoft Graph and Microsoft Copilot

Microsoft Copilot uses large language models (LLMs) to interpret the information within the Microsoft Graph.

This is achieved by combining the power of LLMs with the data available in the Microsoft Graph and Microsoft 365 apps.

The LLMs are trained on vast amounts of text data, allowing them to understand and generate human-like text.

When you interact with Microsoft Copilot AI assistant, it uses these models to understand your natural language prompts and generate relevant responses based on the information available in the Microsoft Graph and Microsoft 365 apps.

This allows Copilot to provide you with personalised and relevant information to help you work more efficiently.

The Role of Generative AI in Copilot for Microsoft 365

Copilot for Microsoft 365 uses Generative AI. Generative AI can create new content, such as text, images, or even music, based on a given input from sources within the Graph. It is used to create realistic and coherent content that is, in many cases, similar to human-generated content.

In the context of Microsoft Copilot, generative AI is used to enhance productivity by assisting users in popular daily applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and the Power Platform.

Through Large Language Model (LLM) technology, Microsoft has integrated ‘Business Chat,’ which allows users to initiate actions across all Microsoft 365 apps using natural language prompts.

For example, by making Copilot’s experiences seamless in Word, Copilot can assist in drafting, revising, summarising, and generating documents. In Excel, it can help users spot patterns and create striking data visualisations. In PowerPoint, it can transform ideas into comprehensive presentations.

Get our White Paper on the adoption of Copilot

Microsoft Copilot is secure by design.

Security is an inherent feature of both Microsoft Graph and Copilot for Microsoft 365.

Graph provides secure access to data and resources within the Microsoft ecosystem, while Microsoft 365 Copilot offers enterprise-grade security, privacy, compliance, and responsible AI to protect your data.

According to a white paper by Gary Johnston, Microsoft Copilot is available in three plans, each with different security features.

For example, the Bing Chat Enterprise plan adds commercial data protection to Copilot in Windows, so your chat data is not saved, Microsoft has no eyes-on access, and your data is not used to train the large language models LLMs.

Other Microsoft AI products

Microsoft Loop is a new app in Microsoft 365 that allows users to collaborate and create content in real time. It is designed to be a flexible canvas that can be used to capture, organise, and share information.

In the context of Microsoft 365 Copilot, Microsoft Loop can be used to brainstorm strategies and ideas with the help of AI.

For example, a user can ask Copilot to brainstorm strategies to increase user engagement with their product, and Copilot will generate ideas and suggestions within the Loop app

Bing Chat is an AI-powered chatbot service provided by Microsoft. It allows users to ask questions conversationally and get answers from Bing. Bing Chat uses natural language processing and machine learning to understand user queries and provide relevant responses.

Bing Chat Enterprise is a paid version of Bing Chat designed for businesses and organisations. It offers additional features and capabilities, including commercial data protection, to help enterprises communicate and collaborate more effectively.

These services are designed to work together to provide users with seamless and integrated communication and collaboration experiences.

Safely deploying Copilot for Microsoft 365 in your organisation.

Microsoft advises that organisations must establish strong content management practices before using M365 Copilot.

Proper content management is essential as the efficiency of the Microsoft Graph index depends on the data available; old, irrelevant, and inaccurate content will degrade the results.

Good content enhances the AI’s ability to retrieve relevant and valuable information.

Complete these content management tasks before your organisation rolls out Copilot for Microsoft 365:

·         Prepare your information and get it ready for search.

·         Review and monitor to establish a policy that implements ‘just enough’ (minimum) access for each user and ensure sensitive information is protected at all times.

·         Check your data and monitor it to eliminate and prevent over-sharing.

·         Review, update and monitor file-level controls (through policy).

·         Review and update your Team or Site level policies.

Save time, increase productivity, embrace AI

AI will almost certainly be the driver for creating large quantities of content relating to your business and activities. Management of this data will need consideration; review and update your retention and hygiene strategy.

While adopting Copilot for Microsoft 365 may sound daunting, it should be a case of building on your existing strategy.

We provide a range of products that will help you solve many issues. We are happy to discuss your requirements and assist you with a successful implementation.

Developing more and boost productivity using intelligent tools

The Microsoft Power Platform

Is a suite of tools that enables businesses to analyse, act, and automate data and processes. It includes Power BI for data visualisation and analysis, Power Apps for building custom business applications,

The Power Platform

It is built on top of Microsoft’s Dataverse, a secure and scalable data platform that enables businesses to store and manage their data. With the Power Platform, companies can quickly build custom solutions to meet their unique needs without extensive coding or technical expertise.

How do you integrate Microsoft 365 Copilot with Dynamics CRM?

If you use Dynamics CRM to manage your customer relationships, you can integrate it with Microsoft Copilot to keep track of your email interactions and actions. You can do this by installing the Dynamics 365 App for Outlook from Microsoft AppSource. This will allow you to:

·         View and update customer records from Outlook without switching to Dynamics CRM.

·         Create new customer records from Outlook based on the email sender or recipient.

·         Track and log your email activities and attachments in Dynamics CRM.

·         Create and update tasks, appointments, and opportunities in Dynamics CRM from Outlook.

·         Use Copilot to draft emails and send email responses consistent with your Dynamics CRM data and workflows.

Microsoft Copilot is worth embracing.

I strongly believe that businesses can benefit from their technological investments by adopting AI, specifically Microsoft Copilot.

Employees and employers need not be concerned about the changes that AI will bring to the workplace, as having a personal assistant on every desktop can enhance productivity and improve security by reducing digital overload.

Users will find Copilot AI simplifies and accurately summarizes information, saving time searching for documents and content.

It also provides tailored recommendations and assists in creating content such as presentations, Word documents, Excel workbooks, PowerPoint presentations and summarize emails.

By utilizing Microsoft Copilot features, users can overcome the initial difficulties of creating a document and hopefully contribute to a more satisfying work environment where AI personal assistants become valued members of the team.

However, it is vital to ensure that the environment in which Microsoft Copilot is introduced is secure.

If the file and folder structure is too open without proper access controls, the principle of least privilege – a basic control – will not be effective, and business security will be greatly improved by embracing it.

For more information, please read the NCSC article on employing the Principles of least privilege.

Grasping AI, the opportunity to supercharge your business efficiency and Office Microsoft 365 plans business security.

Microsoft 365 plans business security
Clippy’s back, and this time he’s got muscles

Grasping AI, the opportunity to supercharge your business efficiency, Microsoft 365 plans business security.

Microsoft 365 plans business security and efficiency with AI.

Presuming Artificial Intelligence (AI) doesn’t go rogue and decide to put an end to humanity or enslave us, it is likely that we will see AI becoming increasingly involved with our work and home lives.

Over the next few years, many of us will see AI within the products we know and love assisting us and doing stuff on our behalf.

Goldman Sachs predicts an increase in Global GDP of 7% over the next decade due to improvements in productivity due to Artificial Intelligence.

At some point in the future, we will all have personalised assistants (Alexa on steroids). Still, before that comes to pass, we can expect AI to be bolted onto all sorts of things we are already familiar with. So what will these integrations look like? And what will it mean for me?

Predictably technology companies such as Microsoft are early adopters; AI is poised to revolutionise information technology (IT), offering innovative solutions that enhance productivity, streamline processes, and optimise operations. Microsoft’s integrations with Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365) exemplify how AI is harnessed to improve and assist us in various IT aspects.

Microsoft 365 plans business security and efficiency with future AI updates.

  1. Virtual IT Assistants and Chatbots: Integrating AI-powered chatbots into M365 environments allows employees to receive instant IT support and assistance. These virtual assistants can guide users through troubleshooting steps, provide solutions to common IT problems, and even automate routine tasks such as password resets, reducing the burden on IT helpdesks.
  2. Natural Language Processing for Documentation and Collaboration: AI-driven natural language processing can be used to improve collaboration and knowledge management within M365. For example, AI can automatically extract essential information from documents and emails, categorise content, and recommend relevant files to users, making finding and sharing information easier.
  3. Intelligent Data Analysis and Insights: AI-driven analytics tools within M365 can analyse large datasets to extract valuable insights. For instance, AI algorithms can identify trends in user behaviour, helping organisations understand how employees interact with their tools and applications. This information can be used to optimise workflows and improve user experience.
  4. Automated Threat Detection and Response: AI-powered security solutions integrated with M365 can monitor network traffic, identify unusual patterns, and detect potential security breaches in real-time. These systems can automatically respond to threats by isolating compromised devices or quarantining suspicious files, thus enhancing the overall security posture of an organisation.
  5. Predictive Maintenance for Infrastructure: AI can be employed to monitor the health and performance of IT infrastructure, such as servers and network components. By analysing data from these systems, AI algorithms can predict when hardware failures are likely to occur, enabling proactive maintenance and minimising downtime.

 

Chatbot example for business rollout

Chatbots have been around for decades, the classic chatbot example being Microsoft’s own Clippy.

chatbot examples include Microsoft's Clippy

Yes, Microsoft’s Clippy was a chatbot.

Specifically, Clippy was an animated character employed as an interactive assistant in Microsoft Office 97-2003.

Clippy was designed to provide users with helpful hints and suggestions as they worked in Office applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. For example, Clippy would appear as an animated paperclip and pop up with messages such as “It looks like you’re writing a letter. Would you like help?”

Everybody hated Clippy, so they were eventually quietly sacked, but Clippy and his brethren are if we believe the press about to take over the world and put us all out of a job.

Although Clippy was not a fully functional chatbot as we might think of today, it did engage in some limited conversation with users and responded to specific user inputs.

Compared to modern chatbot example, ChatGPT or Google Bard, Clippy was primitive.

However, Clippy is more representative of how we are deploying chatbots to support website sales functions, answering FAQs for customer service, and increasingly moving into the HR space.

In fact, Microsoft will be introducing chatbot features into upcoming editions of MS 365, so Clippy may ride again.

However, Clippy’s conversational abilities were quite basic, and many users found its presence and pop-ups annoying, which eventually led to its removal from Microsoft Office in later versions.

The new breed of chatbots is clever and are going to become cleverer.

Chatbots will undoubtedly be increasingly crucial for business, Clippy was a notorious fail, but get it right, and your business will reap dividends.

This article from Forbes is a great read.

The Good, the bad, and the ugly

Chatbots are used in business in a variety of ways, including:

  1. Customer service: Chatbots can provide 24/7 support to customers, answering frequently asked questions and providing help with basic tasks such as account inquiries or product recommendations. This can help reduce customer wait times, improve response times, and provide a more personalised experience for customers.
  2. Sales and marketing: Chatbots can engage with customers, answer questions about products or services, and provide recommendations based on customer preferences. This can help drive sales, increase customer engagement, and provide a more personalised shopping experience.
  3. Lead generation: Chatbots can qualify leads, gather information from potential customers, and schedule appointments or consultations. This can help businesses identify high-quality leads and improve their sales funnel.
  4. Internal communication: Chatbots can automate routine tasks such as scheduling, time tracking, and expense reporting. This can help reduce administrative workload and improve overall productivity.

Chatbots can help businesses save time and resources, improve customer engagement and satisfaction, and increase revenue and efficiency.

They can even help you write blogs.

What is a Chatbot?

Chatbots are in the news, but what is a chatbot? and how does it relate to Artificial Intelligence?

This was interesting, although, as usual, the journalists have unhelpfully lumped Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Chatbots into one thing; (which they aren’t).

Geoffrey Hinton, one of the fathers of what has become known as AI (Artificial Intelligence), is retiring from Google at 70.

The BBC article quoted Hinton as he has become concerned about how bad actors may use AI in the future.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-65452940

At the same time, at present, Chatbots are mostly benign and little more than parrots that can reflect Internet content in a more understandable chatty format for us humans.

As for the fact they have better general knowledge than most of us poor humans, so does a copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica, and nobody is getting worked up about that.

For those of you who are interested enough to read on, I and my copy of AI Chat have quickly explained the relationship between Chatbots and artificial intelligence (AI).

These are two related but different concepts in the field of computer science.

A chatbot is a computer program designed to simulate conversation with a human via text or voice messages. Chatbots are typically programmed to respond to specific questions or prompts using pre-set answers or commands.

They are often used in customer service, website inquiries, and other automated interactions.

On the other hand, artificial intelligence is a broader concept encompassing many technologies, including machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision.

AI refers to the ability of machines to perform tasks that would typically require human intelligence, such as understanding natural language and recognising patterns in data.

While chatbots utilise some basic AI technologies like natural language processing to make their interactions with humans more seamless, they are not artificial intelligence. Instead, AI is capable of more complex and adaptive behaviours that can solve problems and learn from data.

In general, chatbots are a specific application of AI for a narrow purpose, while AI has a broader range of applications across various fields.