As cloud consolidation and convergence becomes a critical priority for businesses around the world, today, companies are increasingly searching for ways to bring their critical tools closer together. For organisations already investing in Microsoft Teams for internal communication and collaboration, this means finding ways to bring new functionality into the Teams environment.
Bringing your CCaaS and UCaaS environments together, by leveraging a contact centre within Microsoft Teams is an excellent way to not only reduce operational costs, but to improve the flow of knowledge throughout the business, enhance customer experiences, and boost productivity.
While Microsoft Teams does offer a handful of contact centre features, such as auto attendants (IVRs) tools, cloud voice capabilities, and call queues, many businesses need more to create a full contact centre experience within the platform.
The question is, how exactly can you combine Teams with your contact centre?
Here’s your guide to the options available today.
The primary purpose of an auto attendant is to direct a caller to an appropriate person or department based on the caller's input to the provided menu options. Callers can be directed to specific people within your organization, to call queues where they wait to talk to the next available agent, or to voicemail. Different call routing options can be specified for business hours, off hours, and holidays.
Using both Auto Attendants and Call Queues in conjunction with each other can provide a lightweight contact centre solution that is continuously being enhanced by Microsoft including options for authorised users to manage the configuration and barge, listen and whisper in on calls.
Historical Reporting is also available to track key metrics around Auto Attendant, Call Queue and Agent Performance.
The capability to make and receive Teams Calls in Microsoft Dynamics is essentially the core contact centre offering available from Microsoft. It’s an all-in-one portfolio of intelligent business applications, designed to enhance business agility and improve customer experiences. With Dynamics, companies can combine their sales, service, financial, and supply chain strategies into a single environment, bringing traditional contact centre tools together with unified communications and advanced features.
Dynamics provides access to a cross-channel customer support environment, data and analytics to assist businesses in improving agent and customer journeys, and productivity tools. Though Dynamics isn’t a conventional contact centre for Microsoft Teams, it does integrate with the platform, allowing teams to collaborate and communicate with customers in the same ecosystem.
The integration allows companies to connect conversations across the organization, bring conversations together with real-time contextual and suggested chats, and integrate experiences and data across a digital landscape. Within Teams, users can even access their Dynamics integration to display customer records, manage files, and capture notes.
This can be further enhanced by implementing Auto Attendants and Call Queues as mentioned in Option 1.
The Microsoft Digital Contact Centre Platform, introduced in July 2022, caused some confusion among companies using Teams. The platform was advertised as a solution that would combine the capabilities of Dynamics with Teams, Azure, and the Power Platform. It also offers access to the Nuance conversational AI, security, and automation toolkit.
However, the solution isn’t exactly the unified platform most people expected. Rather, it actually serves as more of a reference architecture strategy for how companies can leverage various Microsoft services to augment their contact centre environment.
The solution isn’t a platform per-se, but it does provide a collection of tools companies can use to create customer self-service and automation journeys, connect customers to live and virtual agents, and manage interactions. There are even tools available for fraud prevention, biometric authentication, AI intent prediction, and customer journey analytics.
Finally, perhaps the most popular way to bring contact centre functionality directly into Teams, is with the support of certified partners and integrations. Microsoft has long partnered with a variety of communication and contact centre vendors, with a comprehensive partner program.
The Teams landscape now has a variety of “certified” solutions to choose from, which have been vetted and tested for functionality and performance by Microsoft. Certified solutions, such as Anywhere365, the first Teams-accredited contact centre for Teams, allows companies to quickly embed omnichannel contact centre functionality into their Teams ecosystem.
The solution, using the connect model, converts the Teams ecosystem into a platform where companies can connect with their customers through voice, chat, email, social media, video, and bots, all in one place. Other certified contact centre vendors such as Luware, using the ‘extend’ model’ have the benefits of working with Calling Plans and Operator Connect so wholly within Teams.
Partners working with Microsoft, and Microsoft-certified vendors, can help companies to implement these solutions into their workflows, as well as providing access to valuable additional tools.
For instance, Resonate, a Microsoft Teams expert, partners with a variety of industry-leading Microsoft-certified brands, to assist companies in developing best-of-breed solutions for contact centre routing, call management, and recording and compliance solutions
Resonate helps companies add the technology to their Teams instance efficiently and securely, and provides ongoing support for contact centre solutions like Luware and Anywhere 365, and compliant call recording such as AudioCodes SmartTap, allowing businesses to architect the perfect custom solution for their contact centre needs, with guidance and support every step of the way.
The flexibility and versatility of the Teams ecosystem makes it an excellent choice not just for companies investing in collaboration tools, but for organizations looking to digitally transform any aspect of their communication strategy. Bringing Microsoft Teams together with intuitive contact centre technologies can significantly enhance the ROI you receive from your tech investment.
However, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing the perfect solution. While some companies will be able to leverage the available tools in Teams, like auto attendant features with PowerShell routing to create a makeshift contact centre, others will need something more advanced. Some may choose to take advantage of the Microsoft Dynamics integration with Teams, or the components of the Microsoft Digital Contact Centre platform.
However, for those who need a truly flexible, bespoke, and custom-made solution for contact centre functionality, the certified solution route will always offer the most versatility. Contact Resonate today to find out how we can help you build and manage the ultimate Microsoft Teams contact centre.