Bringing Contact Centre Back-and-Front-Offices Together with Teams
Over the last three to four years, Microsoft has developed its internet-based phone system at pace, delivering capabilities that challenge the position of traditional on-prem and Hosted PBX platforms.
Given Microsoft’s immovable presence in business productivity, and the widespread reliance on Teams over the past few years, it makes complete sense for businesses – especially Contact Centres – to leverage the communication and collaboration platform to its fullest.
However, the complexity of a Contact Centres’ needs and workflows, as well as Teams’ own licencing models, mean that businesses alone don’t have the power to deliver a seamless experience for all staff via Teams.
That doesn’t mean it’s not possible – you just need an expert in Contact Centres, Customer Experience and Integrations, as well as Teams itself, to make it all happen!
Bringing back-and-front offices together for better Customer Experiences
Strictly speaking, it’s not necessary to have Teams and the Contact Centre system in the same environment as a user’s interface – though it certainly advances the seamless experience and productivity enhancements.
What is more important is enabling front-office (Contact Centre Agents or Supervisors) to collaborate with back-office users – typically subject matter experts and complex problem solvers – who are increasingly likely to be Teams users, enabling speedier resolutions of customer queries and issues.
Having all internal and external communication channels within the same system simplifies everything. Therefore, many Contact Centres invest in a solution that enables Teams services to exist within the Contact Centre calling solution.
This way, all correspondence between front-and-back-office staff is more easily (if not automatically) captured, managers can gather better insights across the entire team, not just agents, and agents could even invite back-office staff into live interactions, when necessary!
So, that’s the dream – but where do the challenges in making it a reality originate?
Integrating Teams within a multi-vendor environment
In terms of single-user voice features and basic group services, Teams is certainly feature-rich enough for the back-office user. But, it has a few functional gaps that organisations need to plug gaps when integrating an Onmi-channel Contact Centre into their IT communication stack. For example, translating Workforce Management and associated customer insight and analytics, into one single pane of glass.
For that to be accurate, the main CRM platform will need to integrate with as many other back-office systems – finance, payments, technical, marketing, etc. – as possible, to provide the best insights.
Integration in its simplest form can be AD integration (Common Directory, SSO and User Creation) and presence synchronisation between the Contact Centre and back-office users. This can be via separate UI’s or ultimately by embedding the Contact Centre UI directly into the Teams application of any organisation that requires advanced functionality.
This is where vendors such as TelXL can add value by augmenting Teams functionality, and Microsoft has embraced and enabled this ecosystem of integrable apps – just look at the number of apps already available in the Teams store!
But even with the broadest of functionalities and integrations, uptake will be few and far between if there’s no clear idea of what the solution will cost…
Navigating Teams licencing in Contact Centres
Microsoft has set the retail benchmark for enabling calls to and from the PSTN with Teams Calling packages being circa £12, or their new pay-as-you-go subscription being between £1.50 and £2.30 per user – on top of their phone system subscription! Direct Routing services will generally be a more competitive option, especially when accompanied by a ‘minutes bundle’.
Any provider or reseller that doesn’t offer a way to simplify all these subscriptions risk creating a support overhead at best – with more calls querying/complaining about licence costs, requiring length explanations – or, at worst, being discounted entirely from the buying decision.
Porting number and transitioning connectivity away from PSTN connections are other complex-yet-key processes that need careful management to ensure minimum disruption, especially when a large volume of numbers are being moved from one provider to another.
For example, Teams specifically requires PowerShell scripting during the initial onboarding. Simplifying how the Administrator creates and assigns the call paths to the Teams tenant, assignment, and ongoing management of the DDI to the Teams user, which is probably the most common frustration that we can help resellers remove.
That’s because traditional Telco’s, such as TelXL, offer tangible benefits and expertise, beyond even the most intuitive of administration portals by taking that stress away from the reseller and leveraging automation to make the process hands-off while also ensuring accuracy and no errors that appear through the process go unresolved.
Thanks to Teams’ tight integration to Microsoft 365 and excellent security, Teams has become the dominant collaboration app for small and large businesses alike. But Channel operations offering Teams to end-users, especially Contact Centres, need a tried and tested expert in their corner.
Then solutions become:
Easier to sell
With a more productised proposition that easily wins hearts and minds.
Faster to deploy
With automated services expediting complex onboarding processes.
The platform becomes essential for the customer’s continued growth, and therefore they won’t want to change providers, ensuring long-term, fruitful relationships!
If that sounds like the kind of solution you want to offer to your Contact Centre customers, then get in touch on 03300 220022 and ask us about Cxp!