Microsoft Teams Voice provides an ideal platform for organisations looking to modernise and future-proof their contact centre telephone systems. In this blog we look at the evolving contact centre functionality native to Teams, exciting developments coming from Microsoft and what integrations may be possible now and in the future.
If your organisation relies on a contact centre for handling client or user interactions, you may be thinking about modernising. For organisations operating in the UK, there’s an imperative to move away from older telephony with the impending switch-off of PSTN in 2025.
At Content+Cloud we speak to many organisations who want to know how they can manage their call centres from the cloud. Can they do it through their Microsoft 365 licence, can they integrate with Dynamics 365 and other business applications, can they strip it back easily – or scale it up?
Ultimately, they want to know if the particular requirements of contact centre phone systems can mesh with the flexibility, security and agility the cloud has brought to collaboration tools.
There’s no sole answer to these questions, of course – every sector has its own compliance and regulatory considerations. But we believe that Microsoft Teams’ contact centre solutions – integrated with other technologies, where required – give an ideal platform for fantastic customer service.
We have four different options when it comes to Microsoft Teams and contact centres:
- Native Microsoft Teams Calling functionality
- Dynamics 365 Customer Service
- Microsoft Teams certified contact centre partners
- Integration into a non-certified contact centre partner
Let’s have a look at each in a bit more detail.
Running a Microsoft Teams contact centre with native solutions
There are key benefits of using the Microsoft native client for your contact centre telephone systems. We don’t need any additional vendor – it’s included in your existing Microsoft 365 plan. Your end users are used to the Microsoft Teams interface, so no additional training is required. Lastly, the solution can scale up and down quickly using Microsoft Phone System as the platform for making and receiving phone calls.
Microsoft has made massive improvements in core contact centre functionality such as Auto Attendants and Call Queues, and for a vast majority of organisations this is sufficient. We can now orchestrate calls into a service number and allow the telephone call to flow to the right people within the organisation, based upon number presses. We can apply the correct hours of operation and holiday time.
But what happens when this isn’t enough? What happens if we require detailed reporting on who’s answering the call queues, for example when it goes beyond the Power BI queue? Microsoft has created templates to help with the understanding Call Queues and Auto Attendants via Graph API integration and Power BI. However, I have had customers raise the validity of the information they get back. This is where the latest and upcoming solutions, from Microsoft and integrations, can add value.
Dynamics 365 Customer Service: what can a Microsoft contact centre offer?
In November 2021, Microsoft announced the general availability of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service. This is being labelled by Microsoft as a solution that “brings together traditional contact centre, unified communications and customer service capabilities into a single, integrated software as a service (SaaS) solution.”
Built on the same platform as Microsoft Teams with an added voice channel, Dynamic 365 Customer Service offers cross-channel customer support, analytics and access to data to improve your customer experience, as well as tools to help productivity of the agents so they can stay focused on their customer needs.
The solution looks impressive already. It can provide the following features.
- Real-time transcription to eliminate the need for agents to take notes. Now the agent can refer to what the customer has said without having to ask the customer to repeat information.
- Live sentiment analysis to provide a pulse on customer emotions throughout the call so your agents can deliver a more empathetic experience.
- Proactive, AI-driven recommendations for similar cases and knowledge articles, helping agents resolve customer issues faster.
- Real-time translation of transcripts, giving agents assisting customers in different regions and across multiple languages the added confidence of seeing the conversation in their native language.
- Omnichannel integration to allow integration into voice channels, digital messaging and chat, providing context to the agents for faster issue resolution.
- Advanced AI analysis of all conversations, including messaging and voice, and identification of emerging issues, helping service organisations pinpoint opportunities for improving the delivery of customer care.
- Rich KPIs and insights that span live chat, social messaging and voice all in one place to provide a holistic view of the contact centre.
Contact centre integrations for Microsoft Teams: Why you might need a certified partner solution
The number one reason for looking to Microsoft Teams certified contact centre partners is that we require the ability to integrate into customer relationship management (CRM) technology. We want to be able to recognise the customer when they call or chat to us.
The contact centre should allow integration into the CRM so customer information automatically pops up before the call is answered. We want to be able to understand how the queues look, review the activity and take appropriate action to ensure that we are meeting our KPIs.
At Content+Cloud we utilise Anywhere365 solutions heavily with our clients. It allows easy access into other apps such a Salesforce, SAP, ServiceNow, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Bullhorn.
Anywhere 365 allows us to configure a cloud contact centre platform designed specifically for Microsoft Teams. It allows for the omnichannel communication so we can service customers across voice, chatbots, web chat, SMS, email and WhatsApp.
There are many other certified solutions available too. ComputerTalk, Content Guru, Enghouse Interactive, Five9, Genesys, Nice InContact, 8×8 and Tendfor – all of these have been certified and have been through the entire process.
What solutions are not yet certified?
In addition to those tools that have been certified, there are a range of solutions currently going through certification process that may prove useful for your call centre solutions in the near future. At the time of writing, these include Comptella, ContactCenter4All, Cirrus, FrontStage, Geomant, Heedify, Intermedia, Landis Technologies, Luware, Mida Solutions, Netcall, novomind and talkdesk.
The right Microsoft Teams contact centre solution – choosing what’s right for you
Historically, there were limited options when it came to Microsoft Teams and contact centres. Now there are two native options, eight certified options and 13 going through the certification processes. Both of these Microsoft native options are relatively new to the telephony space and are coming on leaps and bounds in terms of what the products are capable of.
At Content+Cloud we offer end-to-end support for your call centre solutions. We review what the technical and business objectives are to help understand which product and solution would best for your organisation.
So rather than reviewing all the different methods of integrating into contact centres for Microsoft Teams, speak to a member of our team and let us help take your requirements on board and do the hard work for your organisation.
Explore the art of the possible in Microsoft Teams Voice
PSTN will reach end-of-life in 2025. Is your business ready to see what’s possible with a move to Teams Voice? Content+Cloud is running in-person and virtual workshops to help you understand your readiness for change and build a plan for success with telephony in Teams.