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When you click on Create Agent, you need to choose to create an agent using the SMS channel. The SMS agent is a text-based agent you can effortlessly use on your mobile phone.

The nodes available will be slightly different than in the voice-based agent. Some capabilities are not supported in SMS-based agents such as the "Listen" node.

Click here to learn how to build your first virtual agent.

Add a phone number to your SMS agent

To create any virtual agent on the Vonage AI studio, you require a Vonage API Account. Once you have created an account, you are able to purchase one or more phone numbers on the dashboard.

In the API Settings on the Vonage AI Dashboard, please make sure you select "Messaging API" before purchasing your numbers. This will enable the SMS capabilities for your account.

The numbers you purchased will show in the studio under "Phone Settings" or once you click publish on the top right - please link your agent with a phone number from the studio application ONLY.

Click on "Publish" and if you are doing this for the first time, you will be prompted to select one of the numbers you purchased. You can also change the number associated in the agent's settings on the left.

How to set up your SMS agent

You can create two different types of SMS agents on the AI Studio.

  1. Inbound --> Virtual Agent handles incoming customer support queries, e.g. FAQs (opening hours, location, etc). In this case, the user is initiating the conversation with the VA.

  2. Outbound --> Virtual Agent engages with your customers by sending notifications and updates, e.g. confirmation messages, appointment changes, special deals, etc. Here, the VA initiates the conversation with the user.

Inbound Virtual Agent

Once you have created the SMS agent and assigned a number to it, you can go ahead and test the flow. Add the virtual number to your contacts on your phone and start the conversation by sending the first message to the agent to start the flow.

You can send anything to start your agent. The content you send will be waiting in the INITIAL_MESSAGE parameter which is saved throughout the session of the conversation.

Use the initial message to determine the flow

This is mostly relevant for inbound customer care agents.

Use the INITIAL_MESSAGE parameter value to dictate the start of the conversation by creating custom conditions based on the customer’s input.

In the use case below, we have two intents - Office Location and Forgot Password. If the initial message of the user is not simply "Hi there, I have a question" but "I need help resetting my password", the agent can use and attempt to classify that input immediately, without waiting for the agent to prompt the user.

Add the Classification node with your intents right after the START node. This way the agent will check if the user's initial message matches an intent and can direct the conversation accordingly.

If no match is found, then the user's input will go to the Classification node's Missed tab and the agent will prompt the user normally.

Monitoring & Reporting

Same as for regular telephony agents, you are able to see the conversation of an SMS agent in the reports.

Want to take a quick look at the features available in this channel? Watch this video to learn more.

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