Rethink your contact centre’s new reality

  • Posted on November 10, 2021
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Rethink The Contact Centre

COVID-19 has created a shift in how businesses operate as they seek to provide a customer experience aligned to a new reality. Contact centres, which were at the forefront of managing customer expectations and customer engagements, found much higher call volumes than previously experienced. In fact, research found that half of companies surveyed experienced an increase in call volumes at the start of the pandemic.

Higher contact volumes, reduced agent availability and legacy technology led to poor customer experiences. These elements forced organisations to rethink how they could provide accessible, empathetic experiences for customers without putting the health and safety of employees and customers at risk.

Contact centres accelerate cloud, channels
To address some of these challenges quickly, organizations accelerated their move to the cloud. In fact, a study found 68% of contact centres that migrated to the cloud did so during the height of the pandemic.

Having a cloud-based contact centre provided the ability for employees to work remotely and meant a reduction - in some cases, elimination – of face-to-face interactions with customers. This also enabled organizations to offer digital channels such as live chat, SMS and direct messaging to social channels such as Twitter and Facebook. These channels were used for the first time by many customers who have indicated their intent to continue using these channels in the future.

However, the adoption of digital channels has not removed the need for voice channels. Even today, the voice channel is still the most utilised channel for contact centres because of its ability to quickly build rapport between customer and service agent and to resolve complex issues quickly. The ability to engage with a human customer service agent on the phone and resolve complex or sensitive issues is still something that many customers value.

Putting people first with Omnichannel Voice
With previous Omnichannel for Customer Service implementations, it was necessary to have third party telephony integrators provide call control features (like the screen popping to assist with customer identification) typically requested to help boost agent productivity and save valuable time in the call. However, Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Omnichannel for Customer Service provides the ability for organisations to implement digital channels which now include the voice channel in the cloud – all within one solution.

Dynamics 365 Omnichannel for Customer Service provides features such as agent notifications to assist with customer identification, and unified routing which provides the capability for customers to be routed to agents based on skill, capacity or other configured business requirements. This means that routing errors are reduced, and customers can have their questions or issues resolved quickly by an agent who has the correct skills and information to resolve the issue and is supported by AI-enabled contextual suggestions which further helps to reduce the average handling time of the call and increases first time resolution rates.

Dynamics 365 Omnichannel for Customer Service can address many issues typically faced by contact centres today. It offers the ability for agents to provide personalised and efficient service while being supported, which results in a higher level of customer satisfaction.

With our privileged and close working relationship with Microsoft, Avanade has been fortunate to be amongst the first to work with a few key clients to implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 Omnichannel for Customer Service’s voice channel. These organizations are already realizing its benefits. For example, a client recently made a comment which highlights the value of combining standard capabilities of cloud with the voice channel: “The ability to suggest actions to help agents answer questions during the conversation is so valuable as we have a lot of new agents who need the support”.

Empower employees and embrace continual change
When considering the future of the contact centre, we must factor in both the experience of the customer and the experience of the agent. Ensuring that customers can have a seamless and consistent journey irrespective of their preferred contact channel, and that agents are able to access the tools and information needed to deliver excellent service will enable organisations to renew and grow in this new, evolving reality.

At Avanade, we understand the importance of a stellar service experience and how it impacts loyalty and advocacy throughout the customer lifecycle. As 2021 Microsoft Global Partner of the Year for Dynamics 365 Customer Service and Customer Insights, our global team of customer experience experts can help you rethink how to harness your technology investments to empower employees and endear your organization to customers.

To learn more, listen to our recent episode of the Avanade Presents: Service Evolved podcast where we discuss this new voice channel plus mixed reality enhancements, field service updates, and much more.

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