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  Article updated: March 19, 2023

Use custom virtual agents with Inbox 2.0

Audience: Inbox 2.0 admins

You can connect a bot platform to Inbox 2.0 by adding a custom virtual agent. A custom virtual agent can respond to messages, resolve conversations, apply topics, and set contact attributes.

To add a custom virtual agent, you’ll need a webhook URL to send conversation events to. You'll also need a shared secret to verify that the webhook requests are coming from Inbox 2.0. For more information, read the Hootdesk API documentation.

Follow these steps to create a new custom virtual agent.

  1. In Inbox 2.0 , select Admin settings, expand Virtual agents, and then select Custom virtual agents.
  2. Select Add custom virtual agent.
  3. Enter a name. This name will appear in the conversation view as Name VA.
  4. Select whether you want the virtual agent to be activated as an Inception agent or a Delegation agent. See Activation types for more information.
  5. Set timeout rules for the virtual agent and the contact. See Timeout rules for more information.
  6. Enter your webhook URL.
  7. Enter a shared secret.
  8. Configure timeout and error handling for both the virtual agent and the contact in the case of an error or a timeout:
    • Select whether you want the conversation to be marked as New or Resolved.
    • Optional: Select a topic to apply.
    • Enter a message to send to the contact if the conversation is resolved.
  9. Select Save.

Activation types

  • Inception - An inception virtual agent is like a typical chat bot. It automatically picks up any private conversations that start in the channels it has access to. If a human agent becomes required, it moves the conversation to the New queue. If no human assistance is needed, it resolves the conversation.
  • Delegation - A delegation virtual agent does not automatically pick up conversations. A human agent can give a conversation to a delegation virtual agent at any point in a conversation, at which point the delegation virtual agent takes over. If a delegation virtual agent needs a human agent again, it uses the Handoff rule to decide whether to send the conversation to the New queue or the previous agent.
Note: To prevent conflicts, a channel can only have one inception virtual agent. Multiple delegation agents can have access to the same channel.

Timeout rules

You can configure two types of timeout rules for virtual agents:

  • Timeout virtual agent - Determines when a handoff (to the New or Resolved queue) will occur if the auto responder stops responding for any reason. The maximum you can set is 1 hour.
  • Timeout contact - Determines when a handoff will occur if the contact stops responding. The maximum you can set is 23 hours.


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