Create a Simple Business Chatbot With Microsoft QNA Maker

By Stephen Garside on 2/26/2018

There are lots of chatbot frameworks available, each with differing levels of complexity.  Microsoft have launched their QNA Maker simple bot service (in preview), which aims to provide an easy, intuitive way for businesses to create  simple Question and Answer chatbots for use on websites and social media platforms.

QNA Maker can easily create a chat-bot from a Word document containing a simple list of questions and answers. Alternatively you can point QNA Maker at an existing Questions and Answers page on a website and it will do its best to scrape the content and create a simple business chat-bot for you.

The resulting chat-bot is pretty basic in terms of what it can do i.e. there is no concept of context,  but the process of creating and maintaining the chat-bot is extremely simple and requires zero coding so could be built and maintained by non-technical employees. You can even include rich content in your bot answers such as links and images.  


How to Create a Simple Business Chatbot

The steps required to create a simple business chatbot using QNA Maker are:-

1. Sign up for Microsoft QNA Maker - Its Free!

2. Prepare a Word Document containing your questions and answers e.g

What is your Company Name?

Our company name is Acme Digital.

What services do you provide?

We provide lots of digital services.

3. Within QNA Maker, create your chat-bot by uploading your document containing questions and answers.

4. Publish your chat-bot and note the api and url keys.  Once published, Microsoft provide you an endpoint url to access your bot:-

5. The final step in creating your simple business chat-bot is to add a chat window to your website and link it to your chat-bot url endpoint. One option here is to use my free javascript QNA chat-bot interface available to download from GitHub.  Full instructions on how to add the chat-bot interface to your website are available on the download page and should take no more than 5 minutes to implement.  The interface is fully customisable and supports rich media responses (images, links, video). 


Easily Re-Train Your New Business Chat-bot

One of the key considerations when implementing a simple chat-bot for business is how to continuously train it to answer new questions. 

Unfortunately at the time of writing, QNA Maker does not record unanswered questions, so included in my free javascript QNA Maker chat-bot window is the option to send details of unanswered questions to an http/s endpoint.  You can then do with them as you wish i.e. add them to a database, or simply email them to an employee who is responsible for maintaining answers to questions in QNA Maker.

A nice simple way to ensure you get to see the questions your bot couldn't answer and re-train it so next time it can.


Demonstration of Chat-bot and Chat Window

So, if you want a simple, easy to maintain business chat-bot for your website I recommend taking a look at Microsoft's QNA maker and also my free chat-bot interface plugin.

If you want to try out QNA Maker and my chat-bot interface just click on the chat icon   to the bottom left of this web page.


Download Free QNA Maker Chat-bot Window

You can download this free javascript based QNA chat-bot window for your website from Github by clicking the button below.

Download Free QNA Chat-bot Window for Websites