An agent is a logical entity for a business or a specific business function. Messages between a user and an agent appear in an RCS-enabled messaging app, such as the Messages app, on the user's device. The Messages app displays branding and profile information for your agent, including name, logo, description, contact information, and URLs.
You could create an agent for Growing Tree Bank that allows users to interact with various aspects of the bank, such as the Customer Care and Mortgage department. Alternatively, you could create an agent for each department, for example, Growing Tree Bank Customer Care and Growing Tree Bank Mortgages. Before creating multiple agents for one business, consider the user experience implications and refer to the conversational best practices.
Create an agent
RBM agents use the RCS Business Messaging API to send messages, events, and other requests to users. When you create an agent, you enable access to the RBM API and define your agent's colors and branding information.
Before you can register, you need to gather some information about your agent:
Identify the agent's region
The RBM API supports three regional endpoints to help businesses comply with regional and business requirements. Likewise, RBM agents can exist in one of three regions:
- North America
- Asia Pacific
When you create your agent, choose your agent's region based on applicable regulations, requirements, and proximity to end users. Region determines where your agent operates from and where it stores its data.
If you or your intended users don't fit within those regions, choose the region that is closest to you to minimize latency. For example, if you're in Latin America, choose the North America region, or if you're in Africa, choose the Europe region.
All regions have equal access to carriers worldwide. Don't decide your agent's region based on your target carriers.
Identify the agent's use case
Each RBM agent is required to have a predefined use case that reflects the nature of the conversations it is intended to have with end users and to help businesses comply with business rules. RBM supports four use cases:
- OTP: One-time passwords required to securely authenticate an account or confirm a transaction
- Transactional: Notifications, updates or alerts to share information directly relevant to a customer’s existing services or products, such as alerts for suspicious account activities, purchase confirmations, and shipping notifications.
- Promotional: Sales, marketing and promotional messages to new or existing customers, with the objective to increase awareness, engagement and sales.
- Multi-use: Conversational flows that combine transactional and promotional use cases, such as sending an account notification and then offering a discount or upgrade for a new product and service.
See Choose the right use case for a more thorough description of when to use each use case.
Determine the agent's Billing Category
Carriers that approve RBM content on their networks also bill for delivering RBM messages to their subscribers using this billing framework:
- Conversation pricing - A price for a conversation that consists of multiple A2P and P2A messages within a given time period.
- Single Message Pricing - A price for a single message containing rich RBM content (such as a message containing a Rich Card or Carousel).
- Basic Message Pricing - A price for a plain text message of up to 160 characters.
When you create your agent, choose the Billing Category that most closely matches the behavior of your agent logic:
- Conversational - This agent engages in complex user interactions where messages are exchanged in both directions.
- Basic Message - This agent implements SMS upgrade to RBM and seldom expects to receive replies. Generally the agent the agent is expected to send plain text messages of up to 160 characters. The agent is not restricted and can send richer content if desired, and will be billed accordingly if so.
- Single Message - This agent generally sends rich messages and seldom expects to receive replies.
Any agents you created before the Billing Category was introduced will be marked as Conversational Legacy and will continue to be treated as they were before. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss making a change to a different Billing Category.
Create the agent
- Open the Business Communications Developer Console and sign in with your RBM Platform Google account.
- Click Create agent.
- Enter your agent's name, region and billing category, then click Create agent.
- When your agent is available, click your agent's name.
Edit agent information
After you create your agent, you can edit the agent's information on the Agent information page:
- Billing category (you can change this until you submit your agent for launch)
- Color (with a minimum 4.5:1 contrast ratio to white, for example, #FF0000)
- Phone number
- Terms of Service URL
A logo (224x224 px, no larger than 50 KB)
In a conversations, logos display as 224 px diameter circles. Make sure that your logo displays well as a circle.
Test your logo
Enter a URL for your logo to see how it would look to users.
A hero image (1440x448 px JPEG, no larger than 200 KB)
The Overview and Agent information pages preview how your agent appears in the Messages app.
Understanding contrast ratio
Contrast ratio is a comparison of the contrast and ease of distinction between two colors. A high contrast ratio between two colors, such as between a background and text, increases readability in bad lighting and for people with accessibility considerations. WCAG 2.0 defines 4.5:1 as a minimum contrast ratio for text.
You can verify that the agent color you identified has at least a 4.5:1 contrast ratio to white using online tools like the WebAIM Contrast Checker.
Create a service account key
When you make calls to the RBM API, you authenticate the calls with a service account key. Service account keys allow you to send messages, events, and requests as your agent and interact with the API.
- Open the Business Communications Developer Console, sign in with your RBM Platform Google account, and click your agent.
- In the left navigation, click Service account.
Click Create key, then click Create. Your browser downloads a service account key for your agent.
Delete an agent
When you delete an agent, the RBM platform deletes all agent data, including branding information, agent configurations, and test devices. The RBM platform doesn't delete messages sent by your agent that are in transit to or stored on a user's device. Messages to users aren't agent data.
To delete an agent,
- Open the Business Communications Developer Console, sign in with your RBM Google account, and click your agent.
- At the bottom of the Overview page, click Delete agent.
- Enter "DELETE", then click Delete agent.
If you delete your RBM Platform Google account before you delete your agent, your agent data isn't automatically deleted. Contact us to manually delete your agent data.