Keep an eye out for new voice, routing, and knowledge management features
Currently, the Microsoft Digital Contact Center is not an oven-ready CCaaS platform. Instead, it is more of a reference architecture, which houses many elements of Microsoft’s expansive portfolio.
Bringing these together, Microsoft offers several contact center capabilities that pack a punch. Nuance conversational AI, Power RPA, and Teams swarming are all prime examples.
Already, these are impressive differentiators. Yet, Microsoft is still fleshing out the more fundamental elements of its CCaaS platform.
The good news is that the technology pioneer is doing so at a rate of knots. Despite only launching in July, Microsoft plans to release 28 new features and updates this fall. Most will become generally available on October 1.
Perhaps most eye-catching is its plan to pull the Digital Contact Center closer to Teams. As previously reported, this will include adding a Teams chat window to the agent desktop, allowing agents to quickly connect to subject matter experts (SMEs).
On top of this, Microsoft has also announced enhancements to its voice, routing, and knowledge management capabilities.
Starting with voice, the vendor will open up the global availability of the channel. Critically, this will allow businesses to start communicating with customers across the medium in many more countries. These include Canada, India, Switzerland, and the UK.
Furthermore, Microsoft is enhancing the channel with callback technology, alongside the capability for customers to dial agents directly through assigned phone numbers and leave voicemails.
With the voice channel open, more companies can harness many of Microsoft’s new routing options. One of which includes the capacity to split demand across various queues by percentages and route accordingly.
Also, contact centers may now route contacts to the longest idle agent and connect customers directly to team members they have spoken to before.
Of course, these features are elementary compared to the predictive routing capabilities of other CCaaS vendors. Nevertheless, they are critical CCaaS elements for many operations.
Meanwhile, its knowledge management enhancements are more innovative. Indeed, the Microsoft Digital Contact Center now uses AI to scan knowledge articles for relevance to each conversation an agent has.
With this feature, Microsoft hopes to streamline conversations by helping agents move away from manual knowledge base searches to find support material.
However, if agents prefer, the option to search is still available. In fact, the function has evolved further, auto-suggesting knowledge articles based on keywords.
Final highlights of the fall release include improvements to customer timelines, allowing agents to view their entire interaction history alongside service level reporting and a new user layout.
Find out more about many of these enhancements, and others, by checking out the video below.
The innovations above center around the platform’s core CCaaS capabilities, built on Dynamics 365 Customer Service.
In terms of its most differentiative features, further exciting announcements are in the pipeline.
Talking to CX Today, Tony Lorentzen, SVP & General Manager at Nuance (a Microsoft Company), teased more vertical-specific solutions on top of the platform. He stated:
Now that we created this horizontal platform… the thing that is going to be most interesting is how we apply this to solve real-world business problems in key in industry verticals.
With its Nuance partnership, Microsoft can already do this to a degree across multiple industries, including healthcare, finance, and telecoms.
Yet, as Microsoft adds to its core capabilities, expect the technology pioneer to peel off and innovate in more specific arenas.
Alongside this, the Digital Contact Center will evolve with Microsoft Power Platform, Azure, and Teams, as it drinks from each of these wells.
As such, it is not only catching up with CCaaS leaders but quickly adding differentiative features from its comprehensive portfolio. These will allow users to pick and choose from an array of applications and develop a unique offering, tailored to their needs.