It’s been a year since Microsoft introduced the Microsoft Digital Contact Center. At launch, many were skeptical of their approach, as the Microsoft Digital Contact Center is less of a solution and more of a platform. Now that the dust has settled, what value is it bringing to users? How is Microsoft’s foray into contact center software using artificial intelligence (AI)? And is it right for your business?
What is the Microsoft Digital Content Center?
If you ask Microsoft if they have a call center software solution, they will say yes; they are helping businesses solve the challenges of seamless customer engagement and closing the gap with their competitors Cisco, Zoom and Google. As Microsoft’s first true contact center capability, it fills a significant hole in its unified communications and collaboration product portfolio.
But what makes Microsoft’s approach different from traditional solutions in the marketplace is that they’re making it happen by partnering with a wide range of independent software vendors (ISVs) and system integrators while also leveraging the power of multiple existing Microsoft tools like Microsoft Teams, Power Platform, Dynamics 365, Azure and more. At launch, Microsoft stressed how they’ve prioritized interoperability.
So, technologically speaking, the Microsoft Digital Contact Center is less of a standalone solution and more of a platform or playbook that offers users flexibility to build a more robust solution specific to their needs. That puts your needs and your customer’s needs at the center of the solution, allowing you to build and connect precisely what you want for your business.
What does the Microsoft Digital Contact Center ecosystem look like?
Within the Microsoft Digital Contact Center, every product plays a role. As a customer, you can decide what you want to deploy and how. The appeal of this approach is that you are likely already actively using or more of these core solutions in your tech stack.
Each solution plays its own role
The architecture goes beyond Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. You can combine the following 5 products as you see fit to create your own next-level omnichannel contact center.
- CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) is handled via Dynamics 365. Its omnichannel engagement includes:
- Live chat
- Virtual agents
- Voice and video (with Azure)
- Automation and reporting happens through Power Platform, which delivers low-code/no code app development.
- Collaboration is managed through Teams, which delivers integration and manages swarming functions.
- Infrastructure is provided by Azure, including its Global Cloud Infrastructure and Azure Communications Services.
- Contact Center AI is delivered through Nuance, whose services include:
- Interactive voice response (IVR)
- Authentication and fraud prevention
- Voice biometrics
With these powerhouse products providing the framework, one can see why Microsoft and its customer base are excited about their foray into the customer experience (CX) space.
How is the Microsoft Digital Contact Center helping businesses?
The Microsoft Digital Contact Center helps businesses by helping create seamless customer engagement experiences. You can meet your customers in the channels they use daily, with secure and protected interactions. Your customers are each on their own journey. They expect you to be familiar with their engagement with your business, no matter how or where it happened. That’s why omnichannel capabilities are so important. Your customers may engage with your business through:
- Social media
- Web portals
- IVR and bots
The Microsoft Digital Contact Center connects all of these touchpoints to give you visibility into exactly where and how your customers have engaged.
Enabling omnichannel engagement
As you know, the average customer uses multiple channels to communicate with you. With the Microsoft Digital Contact Center, you can:
- Offer self-service and automation options to quickly and efficiently resolve customer needs. Even sophisticated transactions can be automated.
- Deliver intelligent connections with virtual and live agents.
- Provide personalized omnichannel service across the touchpoints that matter to your customers.
Empowering your agents with the information they need in real-time
The conversation quality increases exponentially when your agent has a complete picture of the customers they’re speaking with. With the Microsoft Digital Contact Center, you can:
- Provide agents with a 360-degree view of the customer’s journey, so they can manage requests seamlessly from any channel.
- Empower agents with personalized conversational intelligence, including sentiment analysis. Offer recommendations and next-best responses deliver revenue through targeted cross-sell and upsell opportunities.
- Provide AI-recommended knowledge articles to help the agent identify a resolution.
- Accelerate open case resolution through intelligent case swarming. With a single click, agents can collaborate with experts to resolve issues.
Transforming into a revenue driver
Armed with real-time insights from trends across engagement channels, you can transform your contact center from a cost center into a revenue driver. The Microsoft Digital Content Center enables you to:
- Deliver targeted real-time offers through agents
- Drive revenue through personalized offer recommendations
- Leverage predictive targeting to offer optimal engagement opportunities
- Notify customers of special promotions and updates to accelerate purchase
Your solution needs to connect with each touchpoint you offer to customers, so your team can engage in real-time with all critical information in front of your customer service representatives (CSRs). Today’s savvy customers expect a consistent, integrated experience. You risk increasing churn if you’re not delivering such a solution. An omnichannel customer experience creates a business moat that protects you from losing customers to a category disruptor. Numerous studies also show that the most successful businesses rely on growth from existing customers. Retaining and increasing customer value is an easier sell if your customer knows, likes and trusts you. Your CCaaS can make a significant positive impact.
What kind of businesses benefit from an omnichannel experience like the Microsoft Digital Content Center?
In reality, virtually any business interacting with customers can benefit from the Microsoft Digital Content Center. However, these 7 verticals are most vulnerable to churn from poor CX:
- Brick and mortar retail. Today’s customers expect a seamless experience across physical and online stores, mobile apps and social media.
- Banking and financial services. While these industries face more challenges around security and authentication, customers still want and expect to take their experience from ATMs to physical branches through to mobile apps and websites. Many banks closely integrate their mobile and online banking services with physical branches, so customers can confirm ATM availability or schedule appointments with bankers.
- Travel and hospitality. Whether booking airfare, hotel and car rental, or setting up a group event or restaurant reservation, customers expect to manage their plans online, via mobile or through 3rd parties.
- Telecom and utilities. With varied service options and frequent customer interactions, omnichannel becomes essential in this business vertical.
- Healthcare. Given the restrictions of HIPAA, healthcare providers have lagged in omnichannel development, but many are finally coming aboard and improving CX. Many providers offer MyChart portals where patients can safely and securely schedule appointments, communicate with doctors and access their medical records.
- E-commerce. The lack of in-person engagement makes omnichannel CX much more critical for fully online businesses. Amazon, for instance, excels in this space by providing a consistent shopping experience whether a customer accesses their account through its website, mobile app or Alexa devices.
- Real Estate. Agents, listings and property management services should provide an integrated approach to serve clients effectively and ensure they don’t leave for a better CX. For example, Zillow allows its users to search for homes, connect with agents and access financing all from one platform, whether on mobile or desktop.
These are just a few examples of the verticals that absolutely must offer an omnichannel solution. No matter your business, the key is understanding the multiple touchpoints and ensuring a consistent, integrated experience across all channels. The Microsoft Digital Contact Center can provide the missing link by integrating all your unique touchpoints without having to create a solution from scratch.
How is AI integrated into the Microsoft Digital Contact Center?
The addition of Nuance brings a new level of conversational AI, security and automation to the contact center. The AI capabilities provided by Nuance give both customers and agents a multitude of tools to resolve issues faster and with more personalized service, thus reducing resolution times while improving customer satisfaction. It also enables contact centers to offer targeted incentives to build brand loyalty and upsell opportunities. Additional AI helps support a learning loop that continues to provide better customer resolutions and revenue-driving offers over time.
How Threadfin can help you transform your CX from a cost center to a revenue driver
Typically, the complexity and cost of upgrading technology can hold back the innovation required to transform customer service from a siloed cost center into an omnichannel revenue driver. However, the Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform’s open nature and Threadfin’s 20 years of expertise will enable you to build on what you already have. The Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform simplifies implementation and support of contact center infrastructure, removing complex IT integrations while maintaining flexibility. And Threadfin delivers a simple, holistic approach to accelerate your targeted business outcomes.
Together, we can efficiently add any combination of capabilities you need to take your contact center to the next level. And we can get most implementations up and running quickly.
Are you ready to explore how to level up your CX to create an omnichannel experience with the Microsoft Digital Contact Center?
Reach out today to discuss your touchpoints and ideal contact center flow.