The Collaborative Contact Center Guide for Microsoft Teams

With Work from Home becoming the cornerstone for organizations, high performance collaboration tools are the only way to achieve that. Moreover, organizations recognize that the benefits provided by presence visibility, real-time notifications, team workspaces, video-based conferencing and screen sharing can drive efficiencies and improve overall operational effectiveness.

The Collaborative Contact Center Guide for Microsoft Teams

Content Summary

Organizations Are Driving Collaboration with Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams and the Contact Center
Key Benefits of The Collaborative Contact Center
Omni-channel Capabilities Optimized
Attendant Console
Call Recording and Quality Management
Analytics
Optimizing The Investment Made

Organizations Are Driving Collaboration with Microsoft Teams

Global Reality: Teams is pervasive and is growing rapidly

Over 850,000 Enterprise-level organizations including 93% of the Fortune 100 already use Teams, with growth expected to accelerate due to Skype for Business Online being retired on July 31, 2021.

  • Microsoft Q2 2020: Expected to quickly surpass 1 Billion daily Office 365 users, with over 50K SMB users being added monthly.
  • Microsoft Q1 2021: Recent peak Teams Collaboration usage exceeds 30 Billion minutes.
  • Microsoft Q2 2021: More than 115 Million People use Teams daily with over 200 Million weekly active users.

Microsoft Teams and the Contact Center

With Work from Home (WFH) expected to become the cornerstone for online retailers, healthcare support organizations and customer support and service organizations of all types, across all industries, highperformance collaboration tools are the only way to achieve that.

It is not only because more staff now work from home, or because video meetings will allow a reduction in travel costs and personal health risks– it is because, having used these tools, organizations recognize such benefits as presence visibility, notifications, team workspaces, video, conferencing and screen sharing.

The combination of Teams with the Interactive Customer Experience (CX) portfolio creates an easy-to-use, highly flexible, and cost-effective contact center that enables organizations to deliver a seamless and comprehensive collaboration experience to all users.

As Teams quickly evolves (building on the strengths of Skype for Business) it enables organizations to intelligently manage all contact center interactions – phone calls, voice messages, email, SMS, chat, social media – using the familiar Teams interface along with all its collaboration options to:

  • Increase Revenues with prioritization of high-value customers
  • Improve Agent Engagement with its intuitive interface, enhanced tools
  • Track Productivity with real-time, visual dashboards
  • Benefit from Intelligent Skills-Based Routing improves first call resolution (FCR)
  • Use MS Dynamics CRM to improve customer responsiveness and agent productivity
  • Leverage Teams Direct Routing for integration of existing voice networks

Key Benefits of The Collaborative Contact Center

  • Extend the reach of your customer services operation across your whole organization
  • Increase agent engagement with an even more intuitive interface, enhanced productivity tools, and real-time performance measurement dashboards
  • Get instant access to subject matter specialists through agent and back-office collaboration
  • Back up your frontline teams leveraging presence, notifications and shared workspaces – just a few clicks to connect to the right resource
  • Decrease service time through “always-on” self-service capabilities that ensure increased customer satisfaction
  • Improve First Call Resolution (FCR) stats with Teams enhanced collaboration options

Omni-channel Capabilities Optimized

Integrating your Contact Center with Teams delivers significant benefits:

The Collaborative Contact Center is a highly versatile and flexible open-standards based contact center platform which enables contact center agents using Teams to deliver customer experience excellence via the customer’s communication channel of choice – be it voice, self-service IVR, webchat, email, social messaging, video or text.

Driven first by the focus on Digital Transformation initiatives, and then accelerated by the business continuity and operational flexibility requirements triggered by the global pandemic, organizations have seen first-hand the benefits of better and closer interaction between business functions. The use of Teams facilitates collaboration by centralizing the communications infrastructure on a single platform and standardizing the communications and collaboration capabilities offered, and simplifies how they are used.

  • Subject matter experts (SMEs) can be easily reached – whether in the office, on the road, working remotely or in the warehouse – to resolve complex service issues or negotiating a high value sale.
  • Urgent issues can be escalated for immediate executive attention so workarounds can be authorized, delivering the immediate resolution that a valued customer expects.
  • Agents can now review a list of available colleagues – grouped into Teams by skill – to see if they are available to consult instantaneously to help resolve a situation without interrupting the ongoing customer interaction, or to seamlessly add them to the call.
  • Knowing which colleagues are available instantaneously ensures that the customers can be served as quickly and effectively as possible, increasing overall customer satisfaction, operational efficiency and decreasing costs.

Using Teams aggregates all channels, enabling both streamlined escalation within a single customer interaction, as well as retaining all cross-channel information for context from previous touchpoints in that call. Simultaneously, it provides managers and analysts with consolidated business intelligence from across all these channels.

Teams also provides a tight integration with customer relationship management (CRM) tools such as Microsoft Dynamics. Native CRM integration can improve first call resolution (FCR) by as much as 15-20 seconds per interaction with automatic screen popping of the relevant customer record on presentation of existing customer identifiers.

Attendant Console

The Attendant Console has always been a key enabling device for organizations. By being able to manage all calls in a consistent manner ensures that customers engage with your personnel as efficiently as possible, with minimal delays. An integrated Attendant Console can better leverage the advanced communications and collaboration capabilities of Teams to make sure that happens. Every time.

From front desk reception, to departments across the organization, each have had their own issues when trying to handle incoming call flows, especially when situations require a quick response. When operating without cell phones, the organization must rely on the tried and true approach of using a centralized resource to manage those calls and callback requirements.

By leveraging the Teams Presence functionality along with complementary notification capabilities operators can be empowered to provide the service that’s expected by callers.

With a Teams enabled Console:

  • Operators/Attendants can easily view and get notifications of colleagues’ availability and make discreet inquiries via chat before interrupting with an important transferred call.
  • Calls and messages to groups (teams) can be easily and efficiently distributed, with visibility for all participants.
  • Reducing the time spent handling and hair-pinning calls inevitably accelerates the answering process, increases capacity and ultimately results in superior service.
  • Teams lacks Attendant type capabilities. By leveraging a Teams enabled attendant console, calls can be systematically queued for call processing based on a range of configurable settings, including Caller Id (for specialized or priority treatment), Wait Times, Abandoned Call Rates, etc. Automatic Re-directs to specific backup resources – either internal or external – can be triggered or managed as needed, while calls can also be visually monitored and pulled back after being re-routed.
  • A range of standardized reports provides a comprehensive picture of all calling activity and performance for administrators or managers of the operator function.

Call Recording and Quality Management

Regulatory Compliance. Operational Excellence. Script Adherence. Training. Capturing, assessing and time-stamping conversations can make a difference in the service levels your organization offers.

Depending on the industry you operate in, regulations may dictate that you need to record all customer interactions, categorize them, and/or retain them for long periods of time. Additional business requirements may include meeting specific data retention requirements, providing liability protection, managing the customer experience, and, increasingly, extracting business intelligence.

Training has become the deciding key factor in ensuring exemplary and consistent customer experience (CX). It is critical to both development and retention of skilled CX staff. When customer interactions (across all channels and communications types) can be captured, then evaluated by a supervisor for consistency and results, both good and less optimal examples can then be used to demonstrate strengths and weaknesses to the agent, and improve overall contact center team performance.

For organizations offering a wide range of communications channels, including voice (inbound or outbound), email, web chat, mobile text (SMS), and social media – or planning to do so – the optimal approach would be to use a single solution that can capture omni-channel recordings, in order to maximize overall performance and ensure consistency of the recording and assessment across them all.

As customer conversations can be triggered in many different ways, your organization should endeavor to have the most recording flexibility. When connected in the Microsoft Azure Cloud recording can be captured for both PSTN and internal calls, whether Teams based or not. This approach ensures that both contact center calls and back office calls can both be recorded.

Additional Teams recording options include: using a session border controller (SBC), the recommended approach if internal calls don’t need recording, or to use the native integration between the recording solution and the contact center solution to provide recording or just the queued calls.

Analytics

The way to achieve an informed, controlled Teams adoption is to use Enterprise Business Intelligence, an advanced call accounting and cost assessment solution to analyze communications infrastructure performance and resource allocations/usage before, during and after a migration.

A solution fully integrated with Microsoft Teams, can provide a detailed and consolidated analysis of communications and collaboration capabilities across the business, maximizing return on investment for business-critical services and facilitating their management. Dashboards visually represent the near real-time analysis of call records and Quality of Service (QoS) data imported from Teams and other IP-based platforms.

Cost management is undertaken through the objective analysis of all call costs and performance (independent of the service provider) and then appropriately allocating cost across users, departments and cost centers. The breakdown of standard calls over the public switched telephone network (PSTN) versus Teams calls, helps business users identify key trends and make decisions that deliver cost savings for centralized systems, to multi-national globally dispersed infrastructures. This analysis can also be applied to measure remote worker (WFM) deployments along with corresponding organizational KPIs.

This analysis also facilitates migration planning, for example organizations transitioning from on-premises PBX systems, or Microsoft Skype for Business, to Teams, can make use of detailed usage analysis across all infrastructure types and determine the impact of transitioning users to Teams. With that process then analyzed during and after migration.

Optimizing The Investment Made

As Metrigy noted in their latest research “Customer Engagement Transformation: 2020-21”, the benefits of a contact center solution integrated with Unified Communications (UC or UCaaS) can be measured in two key areas: Customer ratings and operational costs.

Organizations can compare customer experience feedback, against relevant operating costs over a one-year before and after period. You can see the value a Teams integration provides by surveying customers to measure ratings by CSAT, Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Effort Score (or their own custom rating system).

Metrigy found that having an integrated UC and contact center platform increased ratings by 56.7%, compared with only 38.3% when not integrated. Operational costs decreased by 19.7% versus 14.5%.

Metrigy found that having an integrated UC and contact center platform increased ratings by 56.7%, compared with only 38.3% when not integrated. Operational costs decreased by 19.7% versus 14.5%.