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Beyond voice – the future of customer services

In little more than a year, the number of people using Microsoft Teams worldwide doubled as businesses of all sizes found themselves needing to boost remote working capabilities in the face of local, national and international lockdowns.

As an example, 93 of the Fortune 100 companies use Teams, it is available in 53 languages and 181 markets.

But for small businesses, the need to pivot in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and continue to serve customers can be more difficult. Businesses that may have a helpdesk of a dozen or fewer people operating phone lines to answer queries suddenly required omnichannel solutions far quicker than they may have expected or planned for.

Whereas larger organisations can call upon IT teams to layer on new systems and processes, small businesses require simplicity and seamless integration with their existing technology, which has often been fine tuned to meet their specific requirements. The ability, therefore, to add powerful new service tools such as email, web forms, social media and even webchat to their armoury is an inviting one. That this can all be achieved within Microsoft Teams, without the need for a formal contact centre, is so much the better.

Long-term Planning

So what started out as a reaction to the pandemic has actually provided these businesses with the opportunity to future-proof their helpdesks. The ability to operate service centres during the most challenging conditions in generations means businesses can set long-term strategies around remote working with confidence.

The addition of new channels, all managed from a single interface without the need to log into different systems, allows customers the option to choose their preferred channel and agents to respond applicably, switching channels easily without the loss of any information.

The single interface solution provides agents with a full history of the customer’s engagement across all channels, which is not only simpler for the agent but in turn, is great for customer experience. This also offers disaster recovery; in the event that phones are down or broadband is disrupted, agents can quickly redirect the conversation, as appropriate – and all via Teams.

Omnichannel is no longer the preserve of large Contact Centres, small businesses that have enabled direct routing for Microsoft Teams or Microsoft Dynamics can now add any other channels they need to meet customers’ requirements. By filtering information from a range of sources into Microsoft Teams, helpdesk staff are capable of solving complex queries more efficiently. This leads to happy, repeat customers. The lifeblood for any small business.

Blog written by Andrew Tucker; Success Manager at Cirrus