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Native Teams Contact Centre – The New Era

Since its first release in 2017, Microsoft Teams has enabled businesses to shift successfully from on-site to remote working. And now we are looking at the new post-pandemic normal of hybrid working: a combination of on-site and remote. For the first time, contact centre agents can be both remote and connected to the whole business, wherever they are.

Customer journeys are becoming more complicated, and organisations want ways to improve their customer engagement with new technologies that better serve the customer. So it’s now critically beneficial that Microsoft Teams has removed many of the historical barriers to delivering the outcomes that customers are looking for.

Greater collaboration

For instance, a UC (Unified Communications) solution like Teams can much more easily support the level of collaboration needed to solve complex queries than a legacy telephony platform has ever been equipped to do. It does this by uniquely connecting frontline agents with the middle and back office. Agents can see who is available and even start a background chat while still speaking to the customer. The next available step is simply to connect the customer to a subject matter expert via a conference or a transfer. And all of this allows agents to successfully complete their jobs more quickly and effortlessly than they’ve been able to before.

On top of that, we can expect that with Microsoft continuously working on maturing their application interfaces (APIs), more third parties will be able to seamlessly integrate to Teams. This means offering customers high quality technology experiences using best of breed products built to take care of the job.

Your Options

What are the options currently for any organisations looking at a Microsoft Teams contact centre?

There are now multiple options available when choosing a Teams contact centre for your business.

Microsoft Default Option

The first is Microsoft’s default call group routing, suitable for very small internal help desks or call centres. Essentially, it is a call hunt group and generally regarded as very basic.

Microsoft Digital Contact Centre

The second Microsoft option is the Microsoft Digital Contact Centre, built for organisations using Microsoft Dynamics as their CRM system and with AI as a key focus. While Microsoft may become a larger player in this space in future, industry commentators still see it as a work in progress, with more maturity needed before an established customer service operation could migrate satisfactorily to this solution.

Integrated Contact Centre for Microsoft Teams

The most common Teams Contact Centre option at this time is an integrated solution with a specialist contact centre provider. There are two integration methods, which I’ll explain more about later. In Microsoft’s own words: “For organisations that want solutions with business tools and workflows to drive the customer journey, contact centre integration for Microsoft Teams allows Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solution providers to integrate their solutions into Teams.”

And that’s where long-time Microsoft partners like Enghouse Interactive really come into play. When you implement a Teams-enabled Enghouse Contact Centre you’re taking advantage of the best-of-breed of two world class systems built to interact seamlessly together.

You can incorporate the superior collaboration tools that Teams offers – presence and availability, workplace chat, video meetings, shared document storage and applications integration, all cloud-based – with quality contact centre and reception solutions like Enghouse’s. This way, you benefit from a working environment that unites the entire business behind your brand. Customer satisfaction and worker empowerment go hand-in-hand to reduce attrition rates on both sides of the engagement. On the other hand, Teams can also reduce training and onboarding for all new hires.

With an integrated contact centre solution, you’ll be enhancing your Microsoft Teams platform with specialised CX features. These include dedicated agent and supervisor functions, intelligent omnichannel routing, comprehensive performance and activity metrics, quality coaching and much more.

As I mentioned earlier, this technology is available today in a SIP deployment and also natively, using Microsoft APIs.

Customer Experience

What about the response of organisations who have moved to a Teams Contact Centre? At Enghouse, every week we are transitioning new and existing contact centre customers to Microsoft Teams.  Most customers do a two or even three-step migration to Teams, adopting text-based collaboration first across the business and then ultimately extending this to utilising Teams for all their calling, including contact centres. Customers report a professional and well-executed transition, tightly managed by Enghouse and our trusted Enghouse-Microsoft Partners. Moreover, their agents are enjoying the benefits of their new enhanced connectivity.

What does an Enghouse Teams Contact Centre look like?

Significantly, there are no changes to our Presence functionality, which is already natively integrated to Teams. On the calling side, the benefits of moving to native Teams calling integration are mainly in the infrastructure. It simplifies the migration even further and providing more connectivity options for our customers.  Functionally, using the Microsoft Graph APIs for calling will be similar to the SIP integration we’ve had in place from the beginning. It will simply continue to improve as the Microsoft APIs mature.

Native Teams Contact Centre

Calls are all controlled and held efficiently in the Teams cloud. This means each call is not “tromboning” (on a second SIP trunk) out to the contact centre. Additionally, there is no need for a session border controller (SBC).  The outcome is improved quality of service and elimination of infrastructure overheads with the associated reduced network bandwidth requirements and of course costs. If you are a business who is already using or wishes to use Microsoft calling plans for your PSTN, then moving to native integration for calling allows you to do this for your contact centre as well as for the rest of your business.

Anna Stokes, is a Director of Product Management at Enghouse. Sign up for this webinar hosted by Anna to find out more