Microsoft has thrown its weighty hat into the contact center technology ring, announcing a CCaaS solution that combines Microsoft Teams, Dynamics 365, Power, Azure, and Nuance AI capabilities.
After testing the CCaaS water with a half-baked Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service solution and numerous Teams integrations with prominent CCaaS players, the enterprise technology pioneer has now dived much deeper into the space.
Indeed, the renowned technology vendor has caused quite the splash, as the Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform includes a whole host of features, such as:
- Omnichannel engagement, including voice, digital messaging, and social channels
- Intelligent self-service with embedded automation capabilities
- Virtual agents responding to customer queries and supporting agents
- Biometric authentication
- Customer journey analytics
- AI intent predictions
- Next-best response recommendations
- Sentiment analysis through conversational intelligence
- AI-recommended knowledge articles
- “Intelligent case swarming” that allows agents to collaborate and solve complex cases
- Dynamic, real-time discounts and personalized offer recommendations
- Predictive targeting tools for sales teams
- Proactive outreach to pre-emptively notify customers of promos, updates, and events
By bringing all these capabilities together, Microsoft hopes to “drive infrastructure simplicity, flexibility, and innovation” while removing tricky IT integrations.
Digging deeper in a blog post, Charles Lamanna, Corporate Vice President, Business Applications and Platform at Microsoft, wrote:
Contact center tasks and workflows ranging in complexity from routine conversations to sophisticated transactions can easily be automated using no-code, low-code, or pro-code experiences.
Yet, the solution goes further in automating entire contacts, offering chatbots that can converse intelligently with customers across various channels.
It is also easy to scale, accommodating surges in demand that operations often experience during particular seasons or moments within the year. It even adjusts automatically to changes in contact volumes, headcount, and service level to make this much more manageable.
However, Microsoft is far from a lone wolf in its latest venture, offering integrations to CCaaS stalwarts such as Genesys, NICE, and Avaya to ensure companies can build an ecosystem that meets their needs.
Building on this point, Lamanna stated:
The open nature of our platform enables companies to build on what they already have and easily add any combination of capabilities they need to take their contact center to the next level.
Microsoft also notes systems integrators – including Hitachi, PwC, and TTEC – as launching partners, ensuring businesses benefit fully from the Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform and can address significant contact center challenges.
These partners will help companies exploit the depth of the platform, which not only integrates with several contact center infrastructures but CRM systems too.
Such a comprehensive solution is a significant step forwards for Microsoft in CCaaS, as a recent CX Today article highlighted how its previous Dynamics 365 for Customer Service did not light up the space. After all, the contact center is mission-critical for many companies.
Commenting at the time, Zeus Kerravala, Founder and Principal Analyst at ZK Research, said:
I don’t think you can build a half-baked product and throw it at the wall, as they have done with Teams. This is something that they have to be all in or all out.
The Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform announcement suggests that they are indeed going all in, as they recently promised to “aggressively” do.
Of course, many of its solutions may trail industry stalwarts in their maturity. However, this move promises to fundamentally shake up the CCaaS arena.