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Astound Answers for Slack

Astound Answers is one application in the Astound AI Platform that collectively adds a layer of intelligence to the employee service lifecycle. Astound Answers provides virtual assistance in finding the right answers, at the right time and allows employees to get help in real-time, 24/7, with virtual agent technology that uses natural language.

Astound Answers integrates with Slack for a native experience that allows individuals to interactively submit tickets, find what they need faster in self-service portals, order goods and services, and ask questions and get better answers.

Configuration of Astound Answers for Slack

Overview of Installation and Configuration Process

The implementation of Astound Answers for Slack is made up of the Answers app on the Astound-end and the Astound Answers for Slack App that you install from the Slack app directory. Once the app is installed in Slack and both platforms are properly configured, you can begin using the platform.

Figure 1: Schematic of Astound Answers for Slack

The process of configuration generally follows this protocol:

  • 1. In the Astound console, the Astound administrator with Slack administrator privileges:
    • a. Enters in Slack instance information
    • b. Enters in the Slack URL and logs into Slack form inside the Astound console
  • 2. In Slack, the Slack Administrator:
    • a. Installs Astound Answers for Slack from within the Slack app directory
    • b. Enters the API key provided by Astound
  • 3. In Slack, end-users add the Astound Answers Virtual Agent to their instance if they wish to Direct Message the Astound Answers Virtual Agent or end-users may now use Astound Answers for Slack freely in any public channel

Prerequisite

For regular end user access, Astound Answers for Slack requires an active Slack instance along with an active subscription to the Astound Answers platform. To configure the process, please reach out to your Astound customer success representative or email support@astound.ai.

Configuring Slack in the Astound Console

1. To gain access to the Astound Admin Dashboard, email support@astound.ai.
2. Once you have logged into the Astound Admin Dashboard, on the Integrations selection, select Slack.

3. Click Authenticate in the Slack card.

4. Enter the URL for the Slack workspace with which the app will be integrated.

5. Click Authorize to allow Astound to have the listed privileges in the Slack workspace. This step automatically installs the Astound Answers for Slack from the Slack app directory where it will be available to all users in the Slack workspace.

6. The Astound Answers for Slack app will now be visible in the Slack workspace.

Using Astound Answers for Slack

There are two primary means of interacting with the Astound Answers instance for Slack: via a message to the virtual agent in a direct private channel and a message to the virtual agent in a public or multi-party channel.

Messaging the Virtual Agent in a Direct Message (Private Channel)

To interact with the Answers Virtual Agent, after it has been installed in your workspace:

  • 1. Navigate and select the “Astound Answers” App under the Apps category. Note: If you have many conversations, you may need to scroll to the bottom of the left pane.

  • 2. You will be presented with a Slack conversation interface. You may chat directly with the Answers Virtual Agent (In this situation, there is no need to invoke it with it’s name by typing “@astound_answers” as you do in a public or multi-party channel.
    Answers and responses will appear threaded below your original message.

In this image, you see a threaded message from the Answers Virtual Agent

Messaging the Answers Virtual Agent in a Public Channel or Multi-Party Private Channel

Messaging the Virtual Agent in a Public Channel

  • 1. To invoke the Answers Virtual Agent in a public channel, first navigate to the public channel.
  • 2. Ensure that the Answers Virtual Agent is invited to the public channel. Otherwise the Answers Virtual Agent will not know to listen for your message.

  • This image depicts a public channel (#plan-budget), but the Answers Virtual Agent (“@astound_answers) is not invited. In this case, a helpful tip from the good folks at Slack alerts you that you might want to invite them…

 

  • 3. Type the name of the Answers Virtual Agent “@astound_answers” and your query in the same line. Press enter or submit your message.
    • a. Note: If you forget to type in the name (“@astound_answers”) in your query, you can go back to edit your input and append “@astound_answers.” The Answers Virtual Agent will then reply.
  • 4. The Answers Virtual Agent will respond to you in a thread below your initial submission

  • In this image, you see a message to the Answers virtual agent before it was invited to the channel, and then after it has been invited to the channel which now displays a threaded message from the Answers Virtual Agent below the individual’s message.

Messaging the Answers Virtual Agent in a Multi-Party Private Channel

Even if you invoke the Answers Virtual Agent in a private channel with one or more users (or bots), similar to invigint the Answers Virtual Agent to a public channel, unless you explicitly invite the Answers virtual agent, the Answers Virtual Agent is unable to reply to view your messages and take action.

  • 1. To invoke the Answers Virtual Agent in a multi-party channel, navigate to the channel.
  • 2. Ensure that the Answers Virtual Agent is invited to the public channel. Otherwise the Answers Virtual Agent will not know to listen for your message

  • This image depicts a private conversation between the users DK and Prem, where DK tried to invoke the Answers Virtual Agent, but because the Answers Virtual Agent was not invited to the conversation, there was no response from the Answers Virtual Agent

 

    • a. Note: This time, because the conversation is a direct message between two parties and Slack functionality limits adding additional parties to a direct message, you cannot add the Answers Virtual Agent to this conversation. You must create a new conversation with all the other parties, including the Answers Virtual Agent.
  • 3. Type the name of the Answers Virtual Agent “@astound_answers” and your query in the same line. Press enter or submit your message.
    • a. Note: If you forget to type in the name (“@astound_answers”) in your query, you can go back to edit your input and append “@astound_answers.” The Answers Virtual Agent will then reply.
  • 4. The Answers Virtual Agent will respond to you in a thread below your initial submission

  • This image depicts a private conversation that includes DK, Prem, and the Answers Virtual Agent, who were all invited to the same private channel. Because the Answers Virtual Agent was invited into the conversation, it is able to function and returns an answer as it interpreted DK’s request.

Updated 10/31/19

Astound Answers for Slack

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