Microsoft Teams connected web site chat bot with the Captivate Hub

I had a fun experimentation with Captivate Hub recently. I wanted to play around with a bot at the website that is connected to Metaverse – more specifically to Microsoft Teams part of it. This would be possible with Power Virtual Agents or with custom applications, but it would require some licensing and coding also. Learning a bit about Captivate Hub encouraged me to try it out.

Of course: Captivate Hub is a commercial product. But it does provide a Freemium option to get started with a website chatbot. Other , paid, tiers include possibility to add other channels there as well: WhatsApp, Twitter, FacebookMeta Messenger and later Alexa and other channels. Adding a channels makes it possible to offer the same bot experience to various channels. For example you can surface your same bot in a website chat, Twitter, Meta Messenger, WhatsApp and so on. Including the option to be in touch with real agents using the Metaverse, Microsoft Teams, to reply. To me, this concept sounds quite interesting and something businesses and organizations could utilize – especially when you can land those conversations to Teams channels.

What is very interesting with this, and other applications / products like this one, is that they enable people to interact with your business users from the consumer world. You can also think it like people in the consumer side of the Metaverse interacting with the business-verse. We will see more applications like in the future that can integrate and position themselves as bridges between different portions of the Metaverse. As you starting thinking how to build business processes it is good to remember that the more seamless the integration is, the better you make benefits.

Set up

Going to the login page we can see it has been made simple.

As it can be seen you can add your own bots there, you don’t have to use this no-code solution Captivate Hub offers. For my experiments the no-code was the perfect starter.

Getting started it easy – register in and you can choose the option to quickly integrate channels to Teams.

There are several options available – but some of those are still under works or require contacting the vendor and might also need paid license.

After that you can design your web chat bot appearance and details.

There is also the information about the Widget options – including possibility to set service hours.

The next step is to get the brains to the bot. This is useful if you have an existing bot, but for quick and no-code option I chose Bot templates.

Hmm. Hard decision, but I think I choose “Captivate Chat Template”. The screen looks like it will get more options added later.

With the Bot Template you get to define your answers to different parts of the discussion. List is not very long one, but it gets the job done: routing conversation from website to Teams: allowing for person to reply in Teams.

After that you need to set the bot to Teams. You need to be a Teams Admin.

It is important to follow the installation Guide. Naturally I didn’t follow it the first time since I missed this announcement written in house-sized letters right at the beginning. The guide includes setup steps needed to connect the bot to the Hub, it is not just a “this is how you install app to Teams” instruction.

So, my advice is: follow the guide and don’t skip it. When downloading your app you can get a warning.

Once uploaded to Teams Application Catalogue you can add it to Teams.

After that you can start with Admin Consent part.

You will be needed to give the app quite a list of permissions. I know some organizations can be quite strict about this and it may be a show-stopper in those cases.

You need to link your team and bot to the hub during the installation. There is one team whose members are agents that can be used to reply to messages.

Once you have gone through the rest of installation you are greeted with the success.

After adding the widget to the site I was able to see the bot.

Once you start the conversation you can choose with available options. If you have your own bot running in the backend you can have a lot more smarter experience. But for no-code “easy way to connect webchat to Teams” this does the job.

In Teams I can see there is a new request coming in. I don’t have to set up suitable agent all the time – it does fairly good job once you have done the assignment and people are signed in.

For the website user it is now clear you are chatting to the real person, and not a bot.

Each agent gets their own team where conversations are added. Each new conversation creates a new channel. This can be a risk if you have a lot of conversation happening: even with deletion process there is still 21 days period when those deleted channels are counting towards 200 channel limit.

The reason each conversation has it’s own channel is that the end result is not following a single thread. Instead the conversation is dropping off to new conversations, so following the conversation can be a bit tricky.

Some of the screenshots are older here – it took me some time from testing to putting the findings together and to this blog post. Yes, the webinar’s Finnish version was a huge success – thanks for asking!
Some

Wrap-up

Captivate Hub is a interesting technology that can be used easily for this purpose. I like experimenting so this one was right on there, despite that I didn’t add other channels to it yet – only used my test website. Ability to provide chatbot variety of channels to people and escalating that botchat to chat with a real person is very powerful. And it is not just Teams where that live chat can happen.

They have other components there as well, that can add more features and smartness/functions to the experience – but not in Freemium version.

If you are a small / lifestyle business who has been looking for this kind of easy option to add a webchat to Teams you might want to give this Freemium version a go – unless those Admin consent permissions scare you away. Captivate has a privacy policy in place and I am sure Captivate can explain to customers more how they secure and manage data – and make sure those permissions are not misused.

This is not likely to be the only similar solution out there – but despite the “not very easy to follow discussion in channels” the ability to route the same experience to various channels is very interesting and useful. Instead of checking in on various sources conversations can be replied from Teams messages.

If you are more onto coding, then using Power Virtual Agents or Azure Communication Services Teams interoperability can be used to connect website users to Teams chats, calls and meetings.

However – I can see solutions like this take their place in the Metaverse, especially when thinking how you can connect Meta’s Metaverse to other solutions. Not everything there is going to be in immersive metaverse (=3D meeting) but integrating your Microsoft Cloud to other commercial and consumer means you can bring in information to Microsoft Metaverse – including the immersive one in case the scenario calls for that.

3 thoughts on “Microsoft Teams connected web site chat bot with the Captivate Hub

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